Your website is your ‘shop window’. It’s often the first thing your customers will see, the moment they form an opinion and when they decide whether to buy. Your shop window must say hello, come on in, we’ve got something special for you.

Your chance to make a good first impression is right here and you can’t afford to miss this opportunity. It’s crucial to get your website right the first time and not fall prey to common website mistakes we call ‘The Dirty Dozen’.

No clear Call to Action (CTA)

Every website needs a CTA – it compels your customers to take action and interact with your site. Is it your goal to sign people up to your newsletter, buy your latest offer, or share content more widely? Your Call to Action must be clear, concise, well positioned and repeated at key junctions across your website.

Out of date

Don’t build your website and leave it there feeling unloved. Keep content fresh and up to date and customers will go back time and time again. Remember that shop window – you’re going to walk straight past if you see the same thing every day.

Too much information

You don’t need to provide every single detail of what you do and overload your site with unnecessary information. The sharper and leaner you describe your product or service the more likely people will engage.

Poor navigation

Getting lost in a website isn’t fun. Your site structure must be logically labelled and visible, with drop down menus, breadcrumbs and footer navigation for standard company information. Consider a search function if you have lots of resources and documents.

Unfit for mobiles

More websites are now loaded onto smartphones than desktops. If your pages aren’t mobile optimised in terms of content, navigation, branding and CTAs, you’ve lost over 70% of your audience.

Confusing content

Writing for the web must follow the inverted pyramid model. The trick is to front-load your content, putting the essential and most attention-grabbing elements first, followed by supporting or explanatory information and so on. One of the most common website mistakes is to provide too much information and too much detail. But less is more online. Get to the point quickly, draw people in and they will stay on the page for longer.

Analytics not set up

Your website is living and breathing (well sort of) – it needs support and nurturing to function at its best. Set it up on Google Analytics to see how it is performing, who is using it, when and how and use this information to adapt and grow your site.

Bad images

And we’ve seen some bad ones! Stay away from obvious stock images, cheesy scenes, clichés, poorly lit or blurred photos and pictures that bear no relevance to your business. Consider taking or commissioning some images that can really add some value.

No contact details

Yes, this is still prevalent across the internet. Your website can’t provide the answer to every query and it’s important to present the human and friendly side. Don’t make people hunt for the ‘contact us’ button.

Branding is unclear

It can be tempting to use plenty of colours and fonts to attract people to different areas of your website. Unfortunately this is very confusing and can look unprofessional. Using a distinct and limited colour palette with a consistent font is the backbone of your brand, online and offline.

SEO is hampered

There are a few fundamentals to get right to improve your visibility online. Make sure your page titles are no longer than 70 characters and that meta descriptions are clear and concisely matched to page content. Think about and analyse words users might be searching for and apply them on your site. Also remember to diversify your keywords. Think what each page uniquely has to offer and shape keywords around them.

No personality

Giving your website a ‘voice’ and identity sets the tone for your business. It will also help people feel part of your vision and mission and promote a longer term relationship with your clients. Companies like Innocent have got this down to a tee.

So come on hands up who’s guilty?