By Eleonora Israele

For a business, not having a truly great website could wind up costing you quite a bit. The average attention span of a person is only 8 seconds when browsing the web. Your website has to make a great impression on your visitor; otherwise, they will go somewhere else. It’s likely that some things are holding your website back.

1. Poor Usability

A stunning visual design is not the only thing that makes a website great. To improve your website’s usability, you have to test how users interact with it. Best practices recommend setting aside 10% of your design budget for usability, which can more than double your website’s quality metrics.

2. It Isn’t Fast Enough

It has been determined that 39% of visitors will stop engaging with a website that takes too long to load. Not only do your visitors expect things to load quickly, but so do the search engines. Sites that are slow to load don’t rank as highly.

There are a number of reasons why a page may be slow to load. It could be how images are handled, or it might be issues caused by JavaScript. Excessive HTTP requests also cause slow load times, as do poorly configured servers and shared hosting plans. This is definitely an area where relying on professional web designers helps: the good ones will make sure that your site is optimally designed for speed, and they will help you get it hosted on the right platform.

3. TMI

There is a common trend to provide a visitor with as much information as possible when they first arrive at your website. Pages quickly become cluttered with content, calls to action, images, videos, and links to every other possible page in the site’s architecture. All of these choices quickly overwhelm your visitors, and they either become distracted away from what you want them to see or do, or they simply abandon your site.

Each page on your site should have a focus, and only the elements necessary to keep the visitor’s attention on that focus should be there. Anything else is clutter. If something is truly important, move it to its rightful home and have it be a page’s focus.

4. Poor Color Choices

If the colors on your website do not provide enough contrast with your text, people can’t read what is on the page. Not only that, but the wrong colors can make it nearly impossible for visitors who are color blind or have poor eyesight to see anything at all.

Your website’s color palette should contain neutral colors that complement the colors of your business logo. You can then add dashes of brighter or contrasting colors to draw attention to important elements on your site; just use them sparingly for the best effect. To ensure that you aren’t leaving anyone out, make sure your website is WCAG compliant.

5. It Isn’t Mobile-Friendly

Mobile users now account for the majority of digital media engagement, spending an average of 5.6 hours a day on their devices. In order to accommodate these visitors, your website has to employ a strategy for serving up content on their smaller screens.

Creating a mobile version of your site or using responsive web design is a start, but you have to make sure that the mobile experience does not suffer either. Interactive elements such as buttons and links still need to be accessible, and images need to scale to smaller screens. Sometimes, you even have to use conditional statements in your code to exclude some elements when the page hits certain breakpoints. After all, it’s better to leave out some things entirely from your mobile version, rather than risk them making a bad impression on users.

6. It Isn’t Updated

After a couple of years, even a great website can slump back into the ‘good’ category if things aren’t brought up to date. So how can you tell if your site is outdated? You need to look for things like outdated fonts, old design trends, and low-quality pictures. You should also double-check that all your links, buttons, and contact forms are functioning properly and connecting to the right places.

Something as simple as a Twitter or Facebook icon that doesn’t actually link to your organization’s social media page can be a huge turn-off for users. Finally, if you haven’t already, make your website responsive – it can be the final difference-maker in giving your site a world-class feel that sets itself apart in users’ minds.

Having a truly great website can really make your business stand out from the competition, most notably by building confidence in your potential customers. They see a professional, well designed website as a strong signal that your company is skilled and trustworthy. Take the time to critique and brainstorm what you can do to make the leap to website greatness, and then get the best people on your team to carry out these plans.