1. Too much homepage content
Don’t try to say it all on the home page. Say a little about the most important things you offer on your site, and let your users click for more. Some pages, like your homepage or blog summary, should be easy for the user to get a quick overview, and should not contain too much detail.
2. Too much clutter on your web page
Avoid clutter, its confusing. The eye needs to be able to settle on the most important messages. Read about eye-tracking research which shows where people’s eyes gravitate when they are looking at a web page.
3. Writing the way you would for print
If you write in the same style as you would for print, it just does not work on the web. Keep it simple, direct and easy to skim & scan. Start with your conclusion, not with an introduction. Read more about writing for the web.
4. Undervaluing your expert knowledge
Users want free stuff and they value good information. Web site owners often have valuable expert knowledge, but fail to include it on their web sites. Be generous with your expert knowledge.
5. Assumed knowledge
This is a very common problem. Content writers /web site owners often assume their users know as much as they do about the subject matter. It isn’t necessarily so. This can be very frustrating for non-experts. If you are writing for an expert audience [tooltip tip=”Explain your technical terms. Provide easy ways for non-experts to find out what your acronyms and difficult expressions mean.” ]explain your terms[/tooltip]. Give your users links to simple background information, so that the most casual visitor can work out what you are talking about. Test your website on users who have little or no knowledge of your subject matter.
6. No user testing
User testing is a key to your success. I can’t stress this point enough. There is no substitute for testing your website or webpage content on real users. It can give you invaluable feedback and can help you avoid really silly mistakes. User tests can be informal, casual and inexpensive. See some guidelines for a very simple Test Plan
7. Confusing navigation
Navigation (your menu structure) is not a good place to get creative. Stick to tried, tested and familiar structures and terminology. Users are reassured by what looks familiar, so use common sounding menu names such as “Products, About Us, Contact Us”. This will help give users confidence in navigating your site, because they know what to expect.
8. Its all about me, isn’t it?
The user is not really interested in you, your organisation or your products. In relation to products, users are interested in what the benefits are to them. In relation to information, users want content that is easy to skim & scan for points of interest to them.
9. Too many words
Dispense with every unnecessary word or message. Don’t waste your user’s time and energy.
10. Failing to pitch to a wider audience
Once you have already invested in creating a web site, it is relatively easy to expand your content to suit a wider audience group. For example, if you are offering expert knowledge, you can include information that is suitable for beginners as well as experts.