There is nothing better than having your own real estate for the growth of your business. For example if your business has an online presence, then the first real estate you would want to have is your own website or blog that represents your brand to the entire online population. Right? Besides, if I may ask you personally that what does your website mean to you and your business? In simple words, I’d say that your website is your “office online”, live and open 24 x 7 x 365, so that people can stop by and get to know about your business, your products or services and can learn different things. So no wonder it’s one of the most valuable assets of your business and I believe you do every possible thing to create a wonderful website, so that it can attract the most number of visitors offering great value to them and serve your business the best.
However, many website owners sometimes take some wrong moves or make some wrong choices while developing their websites that eventually hamper the flow of traffic to their websites and result in losing potential clients. Now the reasons behind making those wrong choices could be anything like: lack of R&D, experience, not paying serious attention and so on. But the important thing is how quickly they spot those wrong choices and fix them up. I’ve seen many bloggers who just keep asking, “why is my blog losing traffic?” and always looking for new tricks to increase the traffic. Now trying new tricks to increase traffic is not a bad thing, but if you are losing traffic then you first need to find the reasons that why visitors leave your website?
Visitors may choose to leave your site for several reasons that cause an unpleasant experience for them while browsing your site. In this post I’ll be discussing 5 mistakes that can cause damage to your site’s traffic and if you’ve made any of these mistakes then it’s time to fix it. Here they are:
1. Not Proofreading Free Giveaways: – Almost every website owner and/or blogger today offer free giveaways like: e-books, cheat-sheets and white papers to their audience. Because offering free stuff is a great way to connect with the audience, build relationships and brand recognition and to express gratitude to the readers as well. Besides, people always want to learn something new everyday and when they find something interesting & worthy of reading they undoubtedly praise it and encourage others to read it too. But it’s even more important to build your free stuff with care, flawlessly and PROOFREAD the same before you offer that as a free giveaway to your audience. Because any mistakes can raise a question mark on your professionalism and make a lot of visitors (even potential clients too) leave your website. Let me show you an example below:
The image above is a screenshot taken from an e-book offered by Hubspot (one of the most popular inbound marketing sites on the web) last year and if you take a close look at the image you’ll see that both point #4 and point #6 have the same heading i.e. – “Make Events For Webinars” which clearly is a mistake and an example of poor proofreading. The most important fact is they Never Corrected It. I’ve downloaded that e-book again two days back and it’s still the same. I’d sent an email to them about this but never heard back from them. Now I don’t want to make any special remark on this, but I’d always say that it’s really unprofessional. What about you? As a business owner can you afford to offer something like this to your audience? And if somebody tries to bring such mistakes to your notice, can you afford to miss or ignore that? Remember, it’s about professionalism and there are thousands of visitors and potential clients out there who could take this as a real turn-off and leave your site right away.
2. Not Proofreading Blog Post or Articles: – Proofreading the blog posts doesn’t mean that one has to check for the grammatical errors only. Errors can be of different types like: poor formatting, poor internal & external linking etc. and these errors can create a bad user experience, annoy the readers. As a result, readers may always prefer to leave your blog and look for other options. Here is an example below to describe things in a better way:
Now that’s a screenshot of a blog post from the ProBlogger’s blog (another well-known blog in the blogosphere) which I took back in September last year. Just take a look at the errors they’ve made:
- They missed point #4 and jumped to #5 from #3.
- Didn’t hyperlinked the entire phrase i.e. – “Commun.it”. Instead they just hyperlinked the first letter “C”. Take a close look at the image; you’ll see that only the first letter “C” was hyperlinked.
- The most unfortunate part, they didn’t link to “Commun.it” there, rather they linked to “InkyBee.Com” again with the letter “C”, which was already mentioned in point #3.
Now tell me friends what do you think about these errors and ask yourselves, would you want your blog posts to go live like that? Your audience gets to connect with you and know more about you through your writing. But if your writing is flooded with errors, then no one’s going to take you or your blog seriously. So you should check all the details before you hit the publish button. Else you might end up losing visitors and potential customers too.
3. Not Checking Cross-Browser Compatibility: – When it comes to surfing the internet, users have many options available as to which web browser to use to surf the net and they’ve their own preferences. Some prefer Chrome while some others prefer Firefox, some use internet explorer while some others love Safari. But no matter what browser your readers prefer, as a website owner your job is to make sure that your website is compatible with all the major and commonly used web browsers like: Firefox, Chrome, IE and Safari. All I mean to say is that make sure your website displays the same and perfectly in each browser. This way, users will have a great experience while browsing your site no matter what web browser they use. But if your website doesn’t display perfectly in any of the major browsers, then there is always a risk that you might lose the visitors who use that particular browser. Let me show you an example here:
The image above is a screenshot of the Firefox view of a jewelry blog. Just see how badly it displays in Firefox, the sidebar clearly overlapping the content and there is a huge scroll-bar down at the bottom. Think how difficult it is for the readers to read the content of this blog? Remember one thing; readers have thousands of resources available for them on the web so they’re not going to waste their time on a website that doesn’t display perfectly in the browser they use. What about you friends? Have you ever checked how your website looks in different browsers? If not, then now is the time to check it. According to StatCounter’s Global Stats Report, take a look at the usage of the most commonly used browsers by country as of January, 2014 and decide whether you can afford to lose visitors just because your website displays poorly in different browsers.
4. Inappropriate Use of Email subscription Pop-Ups: – I agree that pop-ups are one of the best ways to build email subscription list, but at the same time they can be annoying too. Many websites (not all) these days use pop-ups to capture emails and build readership. But the question is, do they all achieve great results? And what about the conversion rate, is it the same for all? In one word the answer is NO. Because the results depend on how you use this feature? Inappropriate use of email subscription pop-ups can hurt your website traffic. According to me one needs to understand two things before implementing this feature:
- When is the right time to implement pop-ups?: Well technically there is nothing exits like when is the right time to put email subscription pop-ups into action. If I really want to use them, I can just use them. However, if I think practically then I’ll first assess the current position of my site or blog. If my site is one of the popular one’s in the industry or the popularity and the trust factor is growing by each passing day, it has a fair amount of daily and monthly traffic, others are talking about it on their sites, on different social media platforms through sharing, liking, pinning, retweeting, +1’ing and linking to my posts, then I’d think about implementing pop-ups to build email list and readership and yes, I’d always use them properly to achieve the best results. But if my site is a new one or it’s still going through the development process in terms of building trust, popularity and brand recognition, then I’d just keep working on developing the know, like and trust factor of my site rather than just implementing such pop-ups. Because, knowledgeable readers would never subscribe to my list until they get to know about my stuff and the quality of it. Remember, people always tend to buy from companies they know, like and trust. It’s just as simple as that!
- The proper ways to use pop-ups: I’ve seen a lot of websites and blogs that use pop-ups on all the webpages. No matter which page or post I click on, the first thing I get is a pop-up asking me to subscribe to their email list before I get to read their stuff. To me it seems like a salesperson desperate to sell his products without even giving me a demo or showing me the products. Isn’t that annoying? The primary goal should be, to allow readers read your stuff and if they’re satisfied they’ll surely subscribe to your list. But if you keep throwing pop-ups in their face on every single page they visit then you might end up annoying them and losing some valuable readers. Frequent pop-ups create negative impressions. Readers may think that you only care about sign-ups, list building and not about providing worthy information and great service. So always use such pop-ups smartly so that readers don’t get annoyed and get to read your stuff first and you also get the opportunity to convert them into your subscribers. Here is how you can do that:
- First set up opt-in forms in different places on your site or blog. For example: in side-bar, about page, at the end of each blog post, footer and so on. This way you give readers other options to subscribe to your updates even if they miss the pop-up light box.
- Set the pop-up to appear after 2 or 3 page views. This allows your readers to read your stuff first and judge the quality of it without any disturbance and if they like it they might subscribe as well.
- Set cookies for the users. For example 30 days. What it does is, if and once a user closes the pop-up then they won’t be asked to subscribe via pop-up for the next 30 days. This way your returning visitors won’t get annoyed. However, if they like your stuff they can always sign-up via the other opt-in forms you’ve added on your site.
Lastly, you’ll find several other options like: page level targeting feature (to show specific messages on specific posts), exit intent feature (that tracks mouse movements and allows you to show the opt-in to users when they navigate the mouse outside the website window) and many others. You just need to select the best options so that readers don’t get disturbed and you also get the conversions.
5. Not Updating Outdated Information: – Many bloggers like to write about the new changes that take place in the industry. Like social media marketers love to write about the latest Facebook or Twitter roll-outs and SEO’s love to write about the latest search engine algorithm changes. But what happens when some of those changes get revised? A sincere blogger in this situation would take the following steps:
- Create a fresh post discussing the latest changes and edit the old post to add a small paragraph at the top of that post that would contain few lines about the new changes and a link to the latest post. This way your old post wouldn’t carry any outdated information and neither your blog. So if visitors land up on the old post, they’d get to know about the recent changes via the new paragraph and the link to the latest post easily and you wouldn’t lose any traffic.
- You can just edit the old post and add a new paragraph about the new changes if you don’t want to write a new post. This way you won’t disappoint your readers visiting the old post.
The fact is many bloggers still don’t update the outdated information on their blogs which creates a bad user experience and readers don’t want to read posts with outdated information. Eventually they move on to other resources to find what they want and you finally end up losing traffic. So now you’ve to decide what you want to do?
The reason I chose to show examples from well-known and popular brands is just to let everyone know that small brands aren’t the only ones that make mistakes, even the biggies make mistakes too. But the fact is people in many cases may be willing to ignore the mistakes made by popular brands as they’ve already established their authority, they’re emotionally attached with their audience and have won their trust as well. Whereas for small business owners it’s really hard to get away with their mistakes. However, I truly believe that it doesn’t matter whether you’re a small brand or a big one, if you know how to minimize your mistakes and serve your readers the best, then you’re always a winner and success will follow you for sure. What do you say?
[Image Credit: Exit Festival – Text Added]