One of the scariest things we can think of is having a boring website. Websites are where companies and businesses generate interest, where they bring potential clients in and make money, so you can believe that boring is an awful fate for a website. The kind of boring website we’re talking about scares away people faster than someone popping out of a haunted house-- I’m talking really spooky stuff. But how do you know if your landing page is haunted? How can you tell that as soon as a user clicks onto your website they’ll fly off quicker than Dorothy’s house in a tornado?
Here are five signs that some of the experts here at Möbius New Media say are clear evidence that your website may be boring:
1. High Bounce Rates
If you run analytics on your website (which you should always do) you may start to notice higher bounce rates from the people clicking on to your website. A Bounce Rate is the percentage of visitors who arrive on a web page and leave without taking any action. When a visitor clicks onto your website to give it a quick look-see but he doesn't stick around to click on your page, that's a bad sign. If visitors are bored out of their mind from their first experience of your site, they will "bounce" out pretty quickly, so it's important to make every page worth the visit.
Our SEO Queen Heather Lumb says that usually, if there are high bounce rates, along with a lower average time spent on the website, then your page might just be boring. In simple terms, people click onto your website get a brief look, and decide to leave. Simple as that. But usually, this is something you do not want (there are few exceptions, such as a quick informational page). A website is a guide to the services a business provides, as well as a way for some customers to buy products directly from that platform. If you have high bounce rates, you lose money just as quickly.
A good Bounce Rate to reach for would be 26-40%, or at the very least, aim for a lower than 55% Bounce Rate. Build your page as an experience -- each and every page -- and have easy navigation to other pages on your site. Aim for engaging Calls to Action, and make it a fun mission to always make sure there's something for them to do on each page. Social shares, forms to fill out, comment pages, links to relatable material, all of these should help keep your Bounce Rate low. Don't be boring.
2. Lack of Images, Too Much Text, Too Graphic-Dense
According to Heather and our CEO Matt Urban, when web surfers click onto a website with a lot of text and nothing pretty to look at (or even too much to look at image-wise) it throws them off. And remember these people are potential clients, investors, partners—you name it. When people see big blocks of texts, they start to lose interest, so they start to scan instead of actually read, and then they may miss out on the informative messaging you're trying to provide. Looking at a web page with all text is daunting and automatically screams “I’m not worth your time! So don’t even read me! Watch a cat video instead!” This is especially true for a website that doesn’t even have links to click on.
The opposite of this problem, but still just as bad, is overwhelming visitors with all of the images or graphics used on your website. Sure, they might look cool and it will be less daunting than staring at a black and white website mistaken for a textbook, but eventually, it will get difficult to navigate and these people you have on your website will give up, and bounce. The internet is designed to be fast, connected, and convenient. If your website does not fit that description, then it will be hard to be successful. But you might just be boring.
3. One Landing Page, or Minimal Click-Throughs
So another sign some of our experts here at the office came up with involved landing pages (the first page people are directed to when clicking on your company link). If you have only one landing page, with minimal-to-no click-throughs, then users will definitely think that your website is boring. The whole point of a well-planned and executed website involves being able to dig around in it and showcase why your company is truly unique and purposeful. Odds are, if you only have one page, then you probably have too much information on that one page. Having click-throughs that show different content on your site make navigation so much easier, and that means that people won’t have to go out of their way to contact you to get answers to obvious questions. The scary part that we want to avoid are the people who wouldn’t even take the time to email you because they didn’t find any info on your page and became frustrated. Or super bored.
4. Still Using Flash Player
“Flash Bad,” says our Tech Warrior and Developer Jim Davis. Flash does a couple bad things: it slows down your site, and it has security problems. Flash can be running huge files that completely slow your website. Flash is also not exactly supported by all internet browsers, so those annoying messages asking you to install or update your flash plugin will continually pop up, and that will send people running (or laughing). There have also been major security concerns with it and how easy it is to hack, and that is never good in the business world. It is also a huge SEO no-no, as it can essentially make your page one big file if created in Flash and drive all visitors insane.
5. Auto-Play Anything = NO
This point I should hope is easily relatable. I hope that no one out there has auto-play music or video on their website because all that gives users is a blast from the past to Myspace when people could customize their profiles so that music started playing when someone clicked onto their profile. This feature is not only outdated but it can be very annoying and ward people off. First, no one wants to have the shock to the system when some videos voice starts screaming at them, and second, that person will absolutely and frantically be trying to find the source and end up closing out of your web page. When people are surfing the web, they like to do it on their own terms, maybe even listening to their own music. This makes your website a little bit more than just boring, it makes it frustrating, and that is hard to come back from.
Our Proposed Solutions
So is there a way to get around all of this? Absolutely. You can use this list as a guide to evaluate your own website and change it up a bit. Make sure you are running analytics and staying on top of all of your pages, social media included! If you notice those high bounce rates, it’s time to have a little office meeting about your content and page usage. If you notice that you do not have many images or too much text, it always helps to take a little time and edit down what is on your website, but be sure to keep important information. This is where headlines, links, and drop down menus come into play and make navigation so much easier. Take the time to speak with the creative director where you work and if you have no one like that on hand, try and brainstorm yourself. Do you have someone around the office you think is particularly creative, funny, or witty? They might be your best bet on a new visual design for your website! It never hurts to ask. Again, always remember that the internet is supposed to be easy and that your page will probably be the first interaction a client has with you--so make it a good one!
Oh...and don’t use Flash.