10 Website Design Mistakes That Will Kill Your Customer Conversion Rates

Because when we started Hopping Mad Designs in 1998, we did so with the perfectly good intention of helping businesses Sydney wide succeed online.

We saw far too many businesses blow it by having an absolute shocking website and we thought it was time to offer businesses a place where they could go for professional web design, internet marketing advice without costing the earth.

Over the last 22 years, we have helped well over 2000 businesses succeed.

We know exactly what works online and what kills a website dead in its tracks. We have seen the same mistakes again and again. All that happens is that businesses end up losing vast amounts of money and lost opportunities.

Related article: How to Increase the Sales Conversion Rate of My Website?

Your website content is far too long.

Rambling pages of copy are just going to bore the pants off the reader. In the same way, you feel when a person goes on and on about a topic.  You may like them a hell of a lot, but after a while, you just switch off. So be on-topic with your copy BUT never write just for the sake of it. Snappy, sales on the topic copy are what works best for time-poor consumers.

You have decided to go cheap with your hosting company.

What may seem like a great idea now is going to end up being a real pain in the ass. Nothing is worse than your web hosting either continuously going down or being ridiculously slow. Either way, it’s a real conversion killer. Spend the money on decent local hosting companies and you will have better website speeds and fewer downtimes. Speak to us about this as we can arrange your hosting and set up your emails as well. PLUS I want to make a clear point here; a slow website WILL AFFECT your Google rankings.

You have used a cheap, template website that looks dodgy.

Failing to instil trust in the consumer or a potential lead is a real concern if your website is sending out the wrong message. Make sure your website has the following attributes that will instil more trust, loyalty and therefore sales.

> above all make sure the website looks attractive. Nothing worse than going to an ugly website. You know the ones I am talking about. hard to use, terrible graphics, incredibly slow, totally outdated. Need I go on?

> include client testimonials for proof that you are a worthwhile agency.

> any associations or organisations you belong to that add credibility should be added to the site.

> you have to have a physical address and phone number. Nothing looks more suspect than having no direct numbers and only a PO Box.

> make sure your branding is consistent. Keep colours the same sitewide. Too many different colours will just dilute your brand. Also, avoid the use of too many stock images. Yes, they are easy to get BUT people are so so over them.

Your design is just confusing.

This is a real problem as the consumer is going to make up their mind whether they are going to buy from you within a few seconds. Don’t add to their indecision by making your site complicated. Keep your core unique selling point as simple as possible and make sure the user gets this message when they first land on your home page.

Like a retail shop if the passing consumer does not like what they see they will buy elsewhere. Simple as that. There is an issue with this. Choosing the right website design agency that knows how to design, based on your market is not so easy. Make sure you view their online portfolio of website work and see if it’s the right fit. To see what I mean click here.

Where are your sales funnels?

Where do consumers go to buy? Many websites look great but lack one thing. The buying process. How do they pick and buy from you without getting lost on the website? How do they make an inquiry and how do they know you received it when they sent it? All these questions need to be addressed so that once there is a customer on your site they find it super easy to make a purchase. A great looking website that is not making you money is a waste of time. Crazy Egg tells us that Each of the sales funnel stages has an impact on consumer behaviour. You need to know them intimately.

Here are a few tips that will improve your sales process:

  • make sure there are not too many fields to complete on your order forms.
  • give them the opportunity of money back or free trials of the product – this will improve the trust factor by miles.
  • again, as above add testimonials – if you can get video ones even better!
  • add clear call to action buttons on key product or services pages.
  • make your contact details easy to find

Try video to sell your message.

I have yet to try this BUT will in the not too distant future. But, this is certainly an area that businesses can use to improve their visibility and value proposition.

Not optimised their website for the search engines.

This is a real killer and one that many companies and businesses fail to do. They are either too lazy, do not know about it or end up getting mixed up with a really bad SEO company. This is a huge area and one that all businesses in Australia should be very concerned about. After all, why even bother getting your website all nicely designed with pretty pictures and great copy if it won’t appeal to new customers. Why? Because when they type in your product or service offering guess what happens? They find your competitors and not you. A real tragedy. Before you do anything in this SEO space make sure your speak with me ( Steven) and I will guide you through this complicated process.

You write your own copy.

Nothing is worse than reading content that has been put together unprofessionally. Yes, you might have been great at English in school but writing effective web copy for your consumer base is an entirely different matter. Make sure that you speak to your web developer about getting a copywriter to at least write the content for your main landing pages. Those pages that you want visitors to land on and buy from. Better web copy means higher conversion rates and guesses what….more money for you.

You don’t have an open-source CMS or content management system.

This can be a real killer as many web agencies will build you a website BUT ON THEIR CMS platform. And they will never tell you about this sneaky little trick Why? Because i’s a bit of a scam. The issues with having to use their CMS are:

> you are locked into using that company for the life of your website

> any changes you need to make ( that you cannot do through the CMS) have to go through them and they can charge you whatever they like. Because no one else will be able to do it as they will not grant access to the CMS.

> Basically, they have you locked in and sown up. There is no way out and they probably will charge you a monthly fee for the use of the CMS.

> PLUS you might be locked into using their hosting as well. BE REALLY CAREFUL ABOUT THIS POINT.

You are not collecting the names and email addresses of people who have been to your website and used that to market to them.

Offer incentives for them to sign up and leave their details. You will find that your database will grow quickly and this is a great marketing opportunity NOT TO BE MISSED. Make sure you do follow through with your emailing campaigns.

An Introduction to Responsive Web Design

The mobile phone and handheld device market has exploded over the past 15 years.

Consumers, everywhere you look; on trains, buses at the airport or at work are on their phones and what they are searching for should be of paramount concern to your business.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, this number is set to increase exponentially at a rate now of 22.5 % per year. So what does this mean for your business, website and how are you going to engage this mobile audience now that the majority of searches are conducted via their phones.

The answer is really quite simple. It is called responsive website design.

That is a desktop version of your website that automatically resizes based on the device you are viewing it from. The question that all business owners should now be asking themselves is ‘ is my website responsive’? If the answer is no then it is vital that you start thinking about making it responsive as the ramifications of leaving it till next year or putting it in the too-hard basket is too significant for your business.

Essentially, if your website is not immediately viewable on a handheld device in a responsive format then your customers are simply going to exit and look elsewhere. If they are on their phones and looking for a product or service Australian consumers have come to expect a viewable experience that’s obvious, clear, accessible, and really straightforward. If you put even the slightest hurdle or roadblock in their way the ramifications are enormous. Lost business, reduced brand credibility (imagine Qantas, Virgin or David Jones websites were not responsive). Clients would desert them in huge numbers. Great for the competition but not so good for your business. This is the main reason why you now need to consider responsive sites as an integral part of your marketing mix and online communications.

As a small business owner or even part of a large marketing team, it is more than likely that the responsibility of managing the company websites falls squarely on your shoulders, so it’s important to understand the fundamentals of responsive website design and how it can impact your business.

What is Responsive Web Design?

Basically, it is what it says it is. It quickly responds to the size of the screen you are viewing the site on. It makes the viewing experience much more pleasurable, by automatically adjusting images, content, page layout, restructured navigational elements to fit snugly on the screen. Which theoretically should drive more new business and sales based on the fluidity of the sales process. Ideally, you want to make the customer experience and journey on your website as easy and pleasurable as possible. This will only benefit you by bringing in more sales and inquiries.

Related Article: How to Increase the Sales Conversion Rate of My Website?

It’s really a no brainer; just make it easy for the consumer to buy from you and they will. A great example of what I’m talking about is looking at this blog on your desktop and then try your mobile. You will clearly see what I mean. Smashing Magazine explains the meaning of responsive websites further by telling us that Responsive Web design is the approach that suggests that design and development should respond to the user’s behaviour and environment based on screen size, platform and orientation.

Mobile Versus Responsive Websites

It is important you know the difference between the two. I have already explained the responsive site, but a mobile website is completely different. Many people think they are one and the same when in fact they are not. So how are they different?

1)     a mobile site has a completely different URL structure that begins with an m. So for example we would have the URL m.hoppingmad.com.au where a responsive URL is exactly the same as the desktop.

2)     Having a separate URL for your mobile site means that there are new hosting fees

3)     Because you have a new site this will have an impact on your search engine rankings on Google as this is a new site and independent of your main (probably already established) URL.

4)     Responsive design generally follows the look and feel of the desktop version which is great from a branding perspective but with a mobile site, you can have a completely different design. This has its advantages as you can focus on key areas of the business and radically reduce the size of the website ( to make it easier for the mobile consumer who does not want to read loads of information), to only a few key pages. Again I am on the fence about this but if I would have to weigh up all the pros and cons I would go with the responsive version.

SEO and Responsive Web Design

Watch out because this year Google is going to come down hard on sites that are not responsive.

On the 21st of April 2015, Google will be adding mobile-friendly factors into its organic search ranking algorithm.

–        We have already seen Google highlight mobile-friendly sites next to meta-descriptions and they will now use this when determining to rank a website, depending on the device the search is made from.

–        Google said that on April 21, 2015, Google’s mobile ranking factors will not only label your site as mobile-friendly but will also use that to determine if your site should rank higher in the search results. Google said this algorithmic change will have a “significant impact” in the mobile search results, impacting all languages worldwide.” View article here: Rolling out the mobile-friendly update

–        The quality of the user experience is now at the forefront of successful search engines. Google developers recently stated, “users will find it easier to get relevant, high-quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”

–        The mobile-friendly ranking algorithm will crawl websites on a page-by-page basis as opposed to the traditional site-wide crawl and indexing process. Gary Illyes from Google’s Webmaster trends analysis team advised, “this algorithm is run on a page-by-page basis. So if you have 10 web pages on your website and 5 of them are mobile-friendly and 5 are not, then only pages that are mobile-friendly will benefit.” You can read more about this in the article by Search Engine Land here.

–        This algorithm will also analyse how well a website responds to tablet, notebooks and different types of mobile phone devices. Developing a responsive website will ensure users do have a positive experience on your site regardless of which device they are searching from.

–       Websites that do not evolve in sync with the constantly evolving technological world will inevitably fall behind.

Advantages of responsive web design

Responsive web design benefits web designers, developers, businesses of all sizes and, most importantly, consumers in the following ways:

Lots more mobile traffic

According to Statista, the number of smartphone subscriptions worldwide today surpasses six billion. Furthermore, it is forecast to further grow by several hundred million in the next few years. So just imagine how much extra business you can get from this mobile audience addicted to shopping and browsing on their mobile phones. Plus, with the current COVID situation where people are shopping from home, you need to make this experience as simple as possible, and responsive web design is the key to enhancing the shopping experience. 

Faster mobile development at reduced costs

Making one complete responsive website is cheaper than making a desktop version and a separate mobile version. Plus, it’s much quicker. 

And, with lower maintenance fees as you are paying for one website rather than two, it’s a no-brainer to have a responsive website. But, again, a one size fits all is the best solution for your business needs.

Quicker load times

Mobile users, in particular, have short attention spans. They are on the go and want to find what they are looking for very quickly. Neil Patel tells us that a 1-second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversion.

Suppose your website has not been optimised responsively for mobile phones. In that case, this may affect download times, and you can expect to have higher bounce rates from customers that land on your website and exit it without delving deeper into other pages. Website page speeds are critical to your SEO rankings and the whole customer experience, so anything you can do to help improve load times should be high on your marketing bucket list.

For other advantages click here.

Responsive website design is now the norm for all sites that are being designed and developed currently – this trend is here to stay and will only grow further.

Hopping Mad Designs Reviews SEO in 2015

The very first major shift in Google’s ranking strategy is the way it will rank websites that are not mobile compatible on all hand help devices. They have made it abundantly clear that from April /May onwards any website that is not responsive will not rank as high as sites that are. Webmasters and site owners that have gone to the trouble and effort to make their site responsive will be rewarded. Alternatively, those that have not are going to see the outcome and they are not going to be happy. As Hopping Mad reviews SEO trends in 2015, this is the one that I would say is going to cause the biggest stir. There are many businesses out there that are still unaware of the impending nightmare that is about to descend on them in terms of mobile rankings. So this is a big warning. Get your site fully responsive.

The last 2 to 3 years has seen a clamp down, and rightly so on dodgy link building and poor on page, lazy attitudes to websites. That is, Google has come down hard on those websites that exists merely as a reference point. A brochure online that is there cause it has to be there. These sites over the years were probably not doing too badly by the mere fact of the age of their URL. Well 2015, is going to see the end of this as content marketing strategies becomes the focus of Google. Strong, well worded landing pages that deliver real insight into what the consumer is searching for is going to work well in 2015. If you think that you are going to be at the top of the search results with thinly worded pages that are light on relevance and content then think again.

Possibly one of the worst things any SEO agency could do for their clients is to focus on a set of keywords and nothing else. This is an unfortunate situation, brought about by SEO companies that are forced into implementing spammy techniques as they are on extremely tight budgets or even worse; they just don’t know what they are doing. Google wants link diversity. Simply put they are looking for a completely natural back link profile and anything other than this will result in penalties. I can assure you that this practice is extremely common in Australia among many of these ‘so called’ SEO companies and 2015 is going to spell the end of these unscrupulous tactics. If you are one of those businesses (and you should know this) that have tried to penny pinch and go with the cheapest SEO providor then Google has you in its cross hairs and you better watch out. I am not just saying this to try to scare you into using our services. My reviews are designed to help well intentioned businesses that have gone into a SEO contract with an agency based on the sales spiel they have heard. Most business people act with the best intentions in mind and unfortunately this is not the case when it comes to SEO. WHY? I honestly cannot tell you but it has a really bad reputation and this is due to the actions of many bad elements who think they can prey on the naivety of hard working honest people. We are here left to pick up the pieces of a fragmented online marketing campaign that has turned sour. So all I can say is pay a very unrealistic low price for your SEO and the consequences will be absolutely dire.

If you think social media is just for the children then think again. The signals we are getting from other SEO review websites in 2015 is that social media is going to play an important role in what Google determines is ‘of value’. If your website has got something to say and is worth sharing, liking or tweeting, then this will be detected by the search engines and better rankings will follow.

The SEO landscape has shifted radically over the last 5 years. Pre Penguin and Panda updates suffice to say it was OK to link build en masse. It really didn’t matter who you hooked up with in terms of doing your SEO. Any old company was fine so long as they were able to but links at a reasonable price. The jigsaw puzzle (and it really is one) that makes up the SEO fabric is comprised of many elements. You really need to be across all of these if you expect to be on top of your game. There are companies out there who have got a handle on this and respect what they have to do in order to be industries best. In many cases, they have teams of people looking after every strand of their SEO and internet marketing. No stone is left unturned when it comes to ticking all the right boxes.

So where does it leave you the business owner who may not necessarily have the resources or the capacity to do everything needed to comply with Google. Well, the answer is simple. Be natural with everything you do online and never try to manipulate your rankings fraudulently. This is especially true in the SEO environment we find ourselves facing this year. Be really careful with everything you do and tread lightly and cautiously when it comes to who you decide to partner with.

If I had to review 2 grave mistakes businesses make and need to address is:


  • be realistic in your timing expectations to rank. This is not going to happen overnight and is a very lengthy process. So you have to be in this for the long haul
  • try not to be too tempted with SEO pricing. In know this is hard, but please understand me when I tell you the inherent dangers of trusting someone who is offering their services at third world rates. I have written about this on many occasions and all I hope is that the message sinks in.