The content of your website says a lot about your business. Companies that take the time to get their content right are more likely to make the right impression on their audience, leading to more sales and conversions. But it’s still very common to find websites that are making basic mistakes. Here are ten of the worst website content mistakes and how you can avoid making them.
1 – Using duplicate content
Duplicate content is the most crucial mistake that you can make on your site. Whether you copy and paste text from a competitor or use identical content across several of your pages, it’s probably the ultimate no-no in web content.
Google hates it. And while it’s a myth that your site will be penalised for showing duplicated content, the truth is almost as bad. Google will tend to ignore pages that have exactly the same content that it has seen before, so it simply won’t list that page in its rankings. That means that customers won’t be able to find your pages with duplicated content by searching on Google.
It’s amazing how many sites still fall at the first hurdle when the solution is so simple: ensure that every page on your website has unique and high quality content.
2 – Careless spelling, punctuation and grammar
Spelling and grammar makes a massive difference to your website. Research conducted by Global Lingo revealed that 59% of British people would not use a company that had obvious spelling or grammar errors on their website. If more than half of your potential customer base would be put off using you simply on the basis of careless mistakes, it shows it is really worth putting in the time to eliminate them.
There’s no excuse for poor spelling. Just copy and paste your text into Word or one of the many online spellcheckers and it will do the work for you (although be very careful of accidental misspellings that are still real words, e.g. ‘form’ and ‘from’). Punctuation and grammar can be a little trickier as software doesn’t always pick them up so easily, so ensure you take the time to proofread the text properly.
3 – Too many links
Using too many links in your text is bad for two reasons. Firstly, to Google and other search engines multiple links in a small amount of text looks very spammy and it can lead to your website being penalised. Secondly, to a customer, too many links looks ugly and can put them off reading your site. Ultimately you need to put your audience first and inserting loads of links makes for a poor user experience.
4 – Overlooking CTAs
Each piece of content on your site should serve a purpose – it should either provide information to a user or convince them to use or buy your service or product. So when it has a purpose, its ultimate goal must be to push them towards doing something. That means you need to have a call to action (CTA). Whether you’re as direct as encouraging them to ‘buy now’ or as gentle as suggesting they can ‘learn more’, never underestimate the power of a good CTA.
5 – Elongated sentences
It’s generally accepted that shorter sentences work better on websites. Your copy should be bold and punchy – get to the point as quickly as you can. Too many long and meandering sentences can lead to poor conversion rates and look especially bad on mobile devices with smaller screens. What’s worse is there is no need for them; virtually any long sentence can be easily broken down into something shorter and more readable.
6 – Overloading on keywords
Keywords have long been vital in web content. Your website needs to show search engines what your business does and one of the most important ways to do this is to include important keywords in your on-page copy.
But it’s when keywords become the focus of a page rather than an incidental part of it that you can start to have a problem. Aside from making your site difficult to read for your customers you’ll also be treading on thin ice with Google, which often penalises content when it feels that keyword phrases are being overused.
7 – Writing pages yourself
Many businesses and website owners try to create the content for their own site, but it’s not always a good idea. Writing is not everyone’s forte and that’s OK! If you’re not a natural wordsmith it might make sense to delegate the task of writing to someone else. Rather than spending hours of your time trying to generate content for your site, it can be hugely valuable to hire an SEO agency or a freelance copywriter. You’ll not only save yourself a lot of stress and wasted time but the results will be far better.
8 – Forgetting about the customer
It can be all too common for businesses to forget about their customers when they come to creating their website. Overusing jargon is a major problem. It’s easy to forget that your customers may not have the same in-depth understanding of your product or service as you do. Always create your content in plain English so that a layperson could understand it.
Also make sure that you avoid writing the website for the customer you want rather than the customer you have. There’s nothing wrong with diversifying, but your initial focus should be on the aspects of your business that convert best, rather than those you would like to convert better.
9 – Neglecting your blog
A blog is definitely a good idea for your website. A steady stream of fresh content on your site not only gives users a reason to visit, but it also shows search engines that your business is active. Many businesses start their blog with good intentions and regularly posting for the first month or so. But after a while it can be easy to fall into bad habits and leave the blog neglected. Ultimately it’s better to have no blog at all rather than a blog that was last updated four years ago, so make sure that someone is available to write a new blog at least once a month.
10 – Choosing quantity over quality
Finally, it should be remembered that web content is all about quality rather than quantity. As we have already talked about, shorter sentences are better but it’s also worth noting that this goes for overall page content as well. Don’t fill a page with 4,000 words if you can say it in 400. Anyone can knock out hundreds of words of filler, but you need to focus on getting content that is valuable to both your customers and search engines.