At last, your website is ready and you are super excited.
This is a dream come true because with a website, you know you can now take your freelance business to a higher level.
When done right, your website can help you achieve quite a number of your business goals faster than you can imagine.
After all, a website can:
- Position you as a professional business owner
- Create more awareness for your freelance business online
- Bring more customers to you on a regular basis
- Grow your freelance business faster
But guess what?
There are some bad websites that are littered with mistakes that – if you follow those designs – can prevent you from enjoying all these fantastic benefits.
Not only can some bad website mistakes limit your website visibility and make it difficult for your target audience to find your website online, others can also prevent potential customers and other visitors from engaging with your website, or reaching out to you, or doing any business with you.
Want to learn more?
Then check out these nine toxic website mistakes that all bad websites have so you can avoid them if you want to reap all the wonderful benefits attached to having a website for your freelance business.
1. Not Providing Vital Pages and Information
Bad websites don’t provide vital information on their website.
Your website is supposed to be your business headquarters online.
A place where anyone interested can learn all they need to know about you and your business twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
Of course, this can only be possible when your website contains relevant and adequate information and pages.
And that’s why you cannot make the mistake of not providing the right quality and quantity of information about you and your business on your website pages.
For example, freelance writers are usually advised to have the following five pages on their writer website at a minimum:
- Home: Serves as the landing page for most visitors and should quickly and clearly communicate who you are, what you do and how you help customers solve their problems with your writing services.
- About: This page should provide more information about how your background and unique skills and abilities can help your target customers overcome their content challenges
- Hire me / Services: This page should throw more light on the services you provide, like the kinds of content you write, your niche or industry, your target customers, topics you specialize in and so on
- Portfolio: Various examples of your work should be provided here for interested visitors to go through
- Contact: This page should provide all the different ways someone can contact you, like your email address, phone number, social media and so on. Don’t forget to add a short contact form to this page so people can also fill and submit it to get in touch with you
2. Not Making Your Content Easy to Scan and Read
Do you know that most people searching and reading online don’t actually read line by line but only scan and skim?
People with bad websites don’t realize this and create big blocks of texts making it difficult to scan their content.
According to findings by the Nielsen Norman Group, they discovered:
- From as far back as 1997 that only 16% of people read web pages line by line while most people only skim and scan the page to pick out what they need
- 23 years later that this behavior has not changed because the majority of people are still more likely to skim and scan
Let’s face it, people searching online appear impatient most times and always seem to be in a hurry, maybe because they are constantly searching for one thing or the other.
This means you can drive your target audience, potential customers and all other visitors away from your website when your content is difficult to scan and skim.
Here are some ideas to make your website content easy to scan, skim and read:
- Have a lot of white space within your content
- Include headings and subheadings
- Choose the right font size
- Avoid typos, wrong grammar and spellings
- Have a nice color contrast between your text and background
- Include relevant, attractive and sharp images and pictures
- Write short sentences and avoid long paragraphs
- Add bullet points and numbered lists
- Bold, italicize and highlight as appropriate
3. Not Having a CTA on Every Page
Without specific calls to action (CTAs) placed strategically on different pages of your website, don’t be surprised if potential clients and other visitors arrive on your website, look around and leave without doing anything or taking any action.
This can be an expensive mistake when you want customers to reach out to you through your website.
Not sure what a CTA is? No worries.
A website CTA can be described as an instruction in form of a phrase, text, button, image, banner and so on, that encourages a website visitor to take a specific action without delay.
Depending on the goals you want to achieve with your website or the actions you want your website visitors to take once they arrive, your CTA can vary from one page to another.
Here are some examples:
- Let’s talk
- Start Here
- Get in touch
- Learn More
- Hire me
- Contact me
Bottomline, think of what action you want visitors to take on each web page and craft a compelling and irresistible CTA they cannot resist clicking.
4. Not Optimizing for SEO
If you really want customers to reach out to you on a regular basis, then you must optimize your website for SEO – something bad websites either don’t do or over do it.
In case you’re wondering, SEO stands for search engine optimization.
And it’s a digital marketing process that helps website pages and other types of content to show up when relevant terms and phrases are put in search engines like Google, Bing, and so on.
As part of the optimization process, most likely you will need to:
- Identify your target audience and potential customers
- Learn all the keywords, phrases and terms they use to search online
- Choose which of these keywords you want your website to rank for
Once you have a list, these keywords can be placed in strategic locations on all your web pages and other types of content you have on your website.
When your website is optimized for SEO, you can expect that it will:
- Show up more often in search engine results
- Become more visible and create more awareness for your business online
- Attract a higher quality and quantity of website visitors
- Become easier for customers to find you and get in touch
Here are some of the top SEO tools that can help:
- Moz Pro
- HubSpot Website Grader
- Yoast SEO
- Keyword Surfer
Honestly, it’s a good idea to be knowledgeable about SEO as a freelancer but feel free to explore the option of hiring SEO professionals or consultants for best results.
5. Not Ensuring Your Website Load Quickly
To tell the truth, the last thing you need as a freelancer is a website that loads slowly.
Not only does it make visitors unhappy and portray you in a bad light, it can also cause them to quickly abandon your website and lose interest in you and your business.
In short, a slow website can make it almost impossible to achieve your goal of getting clients to come to you on a regular basis.
Want to speed up your website? Here are some steps you can take:
- Use fewer plugins and remove those not in use
- Consider whether your web hosting plan is adequate or need an upgrade
- Trim down image sizes without sacrificing quality
- Enable browser caching
- Upload videos to sites like YouTube, Vimeo, etc and embed on your website
- Run website compression audits
For best results, always check to make sure that your website loads as quickly as possible or within two to three seconds or even less.
6. Not Optimizing for Mobile
Whether young or old, most people now use multiple devices like laptops, smartphones, tablets and so on, to search online.
In fact, around 50% of internet users worldwide have been accessing the internet with mobile devices since the beginning of 2017, according to Statista.
When you optimize your website for mobile, not only will your website content adjust smoothly to fit a mobile screen, images and videos will load quickly and fonts will be easy to read for everyone landing on your website through a mobile device.
All these will give them fantastic user experiences no matter the type of mobile device they’re using.
In addition, having a mobile friendly website can help you rank higher in Google searches, drive more visitors and customers to your website and also encourage them to stay longer.
You can therefore imagine the magnitude of everything you stand to lose as a business owner when your website is not optimized for mobile in this day and age.
7. Not Boosting Security with an SSL Certificate
Are you aware that your website is flagged either as “secure” or “not secure” to all your visitors?
If the URL of your website starts with “https” this means your website carries a “secure” tag but if it begins with “http,” then your website will show the “not secure” tag.
Needless to say, you can scare people away from your website, prevent potential customers from reaching out to you and even lose the trust and patronage of current customers when your website is seen as “not secure” at any time.
But you can protect and secure your website when you purchase and install a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate on your website.
The good news is that most of the popular WordPress hosting companies like Bluehost, HostGator, Dreamhost and many others, provide free SSL certificates with their hosting plans.
You can also improve the security of your website when you:
- Pick a reputable and secure web hosting company
- Carry out security audit and scans regularly
- Use security plugins on your website
- Create strong passwords and keep them safe and secure
- Ensure your plugins and content management system are up to date
- Have automatic backups for your website
8. Not Making Your Contact Information Easy to Find
You can prevent potential clients from reaching out to you when your contact information is difficult to find on your website.
Sure, you have a contact page with all the different ways people can contact you but don’t forget that most people searching online always seem to be in a hurry and not everyone will have the time or patience to scroll through all your web pages one by one.
You can therefore make your contact information easy to find by having a link to your contact page on all your website pages.
Also, you can go a step further and put your phone number and or your email address on each page.
This way, if a potential customer lands on your home page or any other page and decides to reach out to you while still on that page, they can pick the information right there without having to scroll to your contact page to look for the information.
9. Not Tracking Your Website Performance
Remember all those business needs and goals you want to achieve with your website?
Well, the degree to which you can achieve them and how fast will depend to a large extent on how well your website is performing at all times and how effective it really is.
And that’s why it’s really important to track your website performance on a regular basis.
For instance, if your website is not performing as well as it should, it’s only when you make it a habit to track its performance that you can discover this on time and be able to investigate and correct the problem as quickly as possible.
So many performance metrics can be tracked to monitor the level of performance of your website.
But it’s best to focus on those metrics that matter to your business and are also relevant to the business goals you want to achieve.
Here are some website performance metrics that some businesses track frequently:
- Speed of your website
- Bounce rate
- Number of unique visitors (daily, weekly, monthly)
- Sources of traffic
- Most viewed pages
- Average session duration
Get The Best Out of Your Website and Avoid Bad Website Mistakes
When done right, your website can help you achieve quite a number of your business goals faster than you can imagine.
But some mistakes can chase visitors away from your website, give potential customers a bad impression about you and your business and even make it tough for people to come across your website online.
Now that you know these website mistakes many bad websites have, try and avoid them so you can get the best out of your website and grow your freelance business sooner than later.