Video: 5 Things to Remove From Your Website Immediately
- Wes McDowell
- March 18, 2016
If your website’s a little cobwebby, you’re not alone. Today, we’re going to look at 5 things you need to remove from your website immediately. If your website was designed a few years ago, there’s probably a list of things on there that you can probably do without. Some just make you look outdated, and some are actually security risks. The first thing I want to talk about are social media icons in your header. Now, I know you probably want to get more followers. That’s a common thread I see with a lot of my clients. They’re very into their social media, and they want people to know that they’re a part of all those forums.
The problem with having them in such a prominent place as the header, is they’re really brightly colored, so you’ve got done all this work to get people to your website, and now you’re just inviting them to leave. When you put something in such a prominent position, and it’s colored so prominently, you’re really just inviting clicks away from your website, and onto your social media platforms, which you may think is a good thing. You may think it’s great that they go to your Facebook page, but what happens on Facebook? They’ll see posts from their friends. They’ll get lost in the world of Facebook, or Twitter, or Pinterest, or whatever it is, and they probably won’t remember to come back to your site.
What do you do instead? I recommend using social widgets instead. Basically, they allow people to like your page, or Tweet about you, or whatever it is, all within the environment of your website. They don’t have to go anywhere, which is brilliant. They’re still buttons, they’re just smarter. The second thing is obvious stock photos. Photos, especially really large ones, have definitely been shown to increase conversions and engagement, but if they’re not deemed as authentic by your audience, particularly with millennials who really value authenticity, they’re just not going to buy it.
I think you all know what we’re talking about when we say “obvious stock photos,” the corporate handshake, the light bulb, all these things that have basically become a punchline at this point. In fact, there are entire websites devoted to making fun of these kinds of stock photos, so just don’t use them. Now only are they cliché, but when people see them and know they’re stock, they’re going to lose faith, and they’re going to lose trust in your business.
Now, there’s 2 things you could do instead. One is a little more expensive. That involves custom photography, so if you have a budget for that, it might be a really good use of your resources, particularly if you’re showing the interior of your office, staff members, that kind of thing. That is really hard to fake using any kind of stock photos. The second thing you could do instead is still use stock photos, but choose them very carefully. There actually are quite a bit of newer stock photos that do not seem nearly as cliché as the old ones do. They can still be corporate, but they can be a little quirky, as well. There’s actually whole websites devoted to Instagram-y type, authentic-looking stock photos, if you’d want to go that route.
The next thing to remove from your site are email links. If you have staff bio pages, anything like that, a very common thing used to be to include a little link to send them an email. Now, there’s a few problems with this. First one up is, they actually attract email spam. People will go in, they’re on the lookout for this kind of thing, and this is how you get onto some pretty bad lists. The other thing that’s bad, just from a more user-experience point of view, think about when you click on one of those. It opens up some kind of native email program on your computer.
For me, it opens up the Apple email program, which I don’t use, so then I have to go and right-click, and save the email address, then go back to my Gmail and type it in there. It’s just a really poor user experience. What I definitely recommend doing instead are using email forms. Email sent using forms are great because they’re trackable, you can route them into different folders and sub-folders with your email program. Just for me, through my website, I can filter out intern requests from client requests so I know what I’m looking at.
The next thing up is a little more under the radar. You may not even know you have it. If you use videos anywhere on your site, you’re going to want to disable the YouTube suggested videos. What happens is, when a YouTube video plays, at the end of it, it makes some pretty interesting “suggestions” for other videos you might want to watch. At best, they might just be unrelated, and at worst, they could actually be showing videos of your competitors. Either way, it just clutters up the look of your site, and it gives people way too many options that have absolutely nothing to do with what you want them to do once they’re on your site.
Now, here’s an easy fix. From the video player on YouTube, click the share option, then click embed, then click show more, which will open up more options, scroll down, and uncheck the show suggested videos when the video finishes option, then grab the new embed code, and you’re all set.
All right, the next thing to talk about is PDFs. PDFs used to be a work-around for non-content managed websites, so if you wanted to add a new menu or a new document of some kind, you wouldn’t have to change the code in your website, you would just make a new PDF, upload it and replace the other one, so that people could download and get whatever newest information you were offering. These days, nearly every website is content-managed, meaning WordPress, something where you can log into the back end and quickly change information without having to actually touch the code.
Basically, these PDFs are irrelevant at this point. I found restaurants to be especially guilty of this practice. They love to change out their menus using a PDF, rather than actually changing it on the website. There’s a few other problems with PDFs, as well. They’re hard for search engines to read. They’re not directly editable by your content management system, and your visitors can’t really share them easily.
With WordPress or a similar CMS, you can put all of this information into a content managed website to where you can change the information by simply logging in, changing the text, clicking save, and you’re ready to go. All right, I’m Wes McDowell with the Deep End, and stay tuned for more helpful tips like this. See you next time.
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