What have the January sales got to do with bad websites? I’ll tell you. They both leave me confused, irritated and frustrated – and that means I walk away without making a purchase.

Here’s an example. This month I wanted to buy a new dress – a kind of smart-casual number for business meetings. Maybe in orange. Maybe not. I go into a department store confident that they’ll have what I’m looking for. But as soon as I’m in the door, I start to feel stressed. There’s a lot going on – ‘Sale’ signs, ‘Pay here’ signs, sales assistants trying to lure me over to their counter. Frankly, it’s all a bit too in my face and I’m tempted to leave.

Why your Home page is a headache

I often get the same feeling when I land on a Home page. There’s so much going on I’m like a rabbit in headlights. There are sliding banners, gazillions of links, more CTAs than you can shake a stick at plus testimonials that whizz past before you’ve had chance to read them. Just thinking about it is bringing on a headache.

TIP Get focused on your Home page

What you want in a Home page is order and calm. First up, I want to be reassured that I’ve come to the right place – and that means setting out your store. Who are you, what does your business do, how can you help me? A good copywriter will come up with clear and concise content to get those messages across.

Once I’m confident you’ve got what I need, I’d like some help getting to the next stage. Women’s clothes? First floor, madam! I don’t want to be sent on a wild good chase via the ‘Sports’ section and ‘Home appliances’ (no, I’m not going to buy a toaster!). You need to lead your customers to where they want to go quickly and seamlessly too. Otherwise, like me, they’ll be on the elevator heading for the Exit.

Service pages that suck

So I’ve arrived in the department for women’s clothes. But what’s this? Well, I’ll tell you what this is – this is a mess! Clothes crammed so tightly on the rails I can’t see the wood for the trees – or in this case the dresses from the skirts. Shoving everything under the ‘£50 or less’ sale banner isn’t helping. I want a dress. In my size. Maybe in orange but I’m open to options. I’m getting another headache. Is this how your Service pages make people feel?

TIP Sort out your Service pages

Like a department store, you might have a lot of different offerings. Squash them all into one page and you make it hard for people to find exactly what they need – not to mention buggering up the SEO value of using separate key words for separate services.

Say you’re a roofing company. Rather than shoving all your content under ‘Roofing’ you could break it down into ‘flat roofing, ‘pitched roofing’ and ‘green roofing’. Think about what your customers are searching for – then signpost the way there. Once they’re in the right section, THEN you can do a bit of re-routing/cross-selling. As in – ‘Want some guttering with that? Click here.’

De-clutter before your competitors pounce

Did I get that orange dress? No. With all the clutter and confusion, January sales do my head in. I’ll wait until calm is restored in February. I might even end up buying a bag and shoes at the same time (probably not in orange – I mean, I don’t want to look like a giant, walking fruit).

That’s OK for me. But can your business afford to wait for customers to come back? And what if they DON’T come back? What if they clicked on your competitor and discovered a much more user-friendly experience?

* Contact me to get your website in order  

PHOTO: Artem Beliaikin/Pexels