By Tammy Elizabeth Southin
Just like acid-wash, nothing dates you like an outdated Web site. For a small business owner, having a site full of old trends and features does not just make you a social pariah; it can literally make or break your business. Your Web site is often the first and sometimes only point of contact for your customers. Review your site for these Web design trends whose time has passed.
Using update notices—Eliminate any notices on your Web site that indicate when you last updated, unless you update frequently. No one should ever see your last update was in 2008.
Jargon—Jargon is nothing more than a tool to exclude people. You want every target visitor to feel like an insider, so delete the industry babble and use plain language copy.
"Under construction" or "coming soon"—These fillers were once tolerated. Now notices like these simply advertise that you are neglecting your site. If you do not want to bother updating your "What’s New" page, best to eliminate it altogether than to mislead your viewers.
There is no "I" in "You"—Use plenty of "you" language in your copy and sales pitches. Your site should tell your clients’ story, not yours.
Musical backgrounds—Once a great novelty, musical backgrounds are just plain cheesy. Unless you are in the music business, rethink about adding the modern equivalent to elevator music to your Web site.
Excess copy text—You want to excite your Web site visitors, not put them to sleep. Large chunks of text is too much to bother reading. Give your ecommerce clients a quick list of your product’s or service’s benefits rather than a rambling manual.
Puns or cute headlines—Writing should be clear and concise, without using clever wording that confuses or turns off readers. A great headline draws in your clients; a corny headline sends them elsewhere.
List benefits and not just features—People no longer want to read a list of product features. Customers want to know that you offer real solutions, not just a quick sale, and that you will solve their problems.
Build it and they will click it attitude—Just having a Web site is no longer enough. You not only need to draw traffic, but need quality over quantity. Use social media to draw the right types of visitors.
Wild goose chase clicking or "rabbit holing"—Burying info does not keep visitors hooked on your site; it only drives them away. None of your info should be more than three clicks away.
Keep your Web site from becoming as outdated as those old jeans. Regularly update your site design to improve your business image and your bottom line.
About the Author
Tammy Elizabeth Southin is President and Creative Director of Insurepronews Creative Solutions Inc., which proudly provides customized insurance newsletter solutions exclusively for insurance brokers, especially using technology to communicate with their clients.