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Are You Scaring Your Website Visitors?
By: Wendy Ogryzek, June Bachman and Teresa Mitchell ~ 10/11/2010

With Halloween near, this is a good time of the year to identify any ghouls and goblins that might be scaring away your website visitors, your customers. Read on for a few Tricks and Treats!

Haunted Websites and Ghost Busting

We are not going to Tango around the obvious, we are going to say it straight up . . . if the last time you updated your website was more than a month ago, it’s haunted. Further, if the last time you fluffed or added to your website content was in 2009, it is not only haunted but you really need to Bust the Ghosts and Ghouls out of your site. They are scaring your customers away!

Website Ghost Busting 101

There are a few simple ways for you to swiftly bust the ghouls and ghosts right out of your site along with a few Tricks and Treats.

Shake out your content

Shake out the errors, omissions, grammar mistakes. Obvious glitches in your text undermines your customer’s perception of your professionalism.

Ghoulish Content

Fluff it up, add something new, interesting and useful to your customers.

  • Edit your About Us page to reflect any changes in your business – personnel, location, transitions, awards, memberships.
  • Streamline your Home Page text to have only these four elements: who you are, what you do, where you do it and a call to action – tell your customer what you want them to do (Read Our Blog, Learn More About Us, Attend Our Annual Open House).
  • Nothing says “haunted website” quite like a broken image, missing content, “coming soon,” and links that go nowhere but to an error message.

Halloween is a great time to implement some Ruthless Tricks and Treats!

Scary Load Times

Too slow of website load times scare visitors. Their time is valuable and they don’t wait around for your pokey-un-optimized-for-the-web images to load. Visit your website and make sure your site and content loads swiftly and spares your customer wait times. Don’t know how?  Here are some User friendly Tricks and Treats!

Haunting Designs

Here are a few really scary websites that really make you wonder whether the business owner actually has used the internet in the last five years . . .

http://www.ccsplace.net/map.htm (Note that this was an "Award Winning Website" way back when, in the dark ages of the internet.)

http://www.horsetrailersgalore.com/

After visiting these haunted websites, ask yourself “Would I actually buy anything over the internet from these companies?” If your website is as hauntingly dated as the 3 examples above it IS time to update the look and feel of your site. To get you thinking about a new look and feel here are a few Design Tricks and Treats!

Spooky Irrelevancy

Information that has no connection to your business scares your customers. If they came to find information about your products and services and find the latest football scores or links to unrelated websites, like ESPN, your website is haunted. Your customers came to your site to learn about you, your business and products and frankly, you are insulting their intelligence while you undermine your credibility in the mind of your site visitor.

All content should be directly related to who you are, what you do, and where you do it in relation to solving your customer’s problems. If it isn’t and you still feel the need to have irrelevant information on your business website, buy a domain and build a site for your personal use – there you can have all the irrelevant content you want without scaring your customers away.

It’s a business, for-profit, website. Click through to some Relevant Tricks and Treats!.

Spirit Byways and Ghostly Corridors

Navigation – it should be intuitive and obvious. Site visitors should not have to feel like they must channel an Internet Fairy to find out where they are in your website. If you have empty pages fill them up. If your navigation bar is confusing or doesn’t “light up” when your site visitor goes to that page fix your navigation bar. Make sure what you name the page is relevant to the content that your site visitor will find on that page.

Busted Ghosts

Yes, we understand that managing your website can be a daunting, even haunting, task when added to everything else on your calendar and to-do list. But the simple truth is this: your website is the single greatest marketing tool at your disposal and you are scaring your customers away by ignoring it. Now get out there and bust some ghosts out of your site.