Unwelcoming is defined as having an inhospitable or uninviting atmosphere or appearance. That is certainly not a word a business wants to be associated with their website, which often offers the first impression to a potential customer. As a top web design company, we have spent decades in the business crafting award-winning, inviting websites. We wanted to share some of that knowledge today by discussing 5 Reasons why your Website is Unwelcoming.

If people don’t feel welcome when they land on your doorstep, you will have a very hard time convincing them to step inside.

The 5 Reasons Why Your Website is Unwelcoming

Sometimes it is useful to compare your website to an actual brick-and-mortar store regarding what people see and the feelings or impressions they then take away from your website’s appearance. A great store is sometimes called a “hidden gem” because it is hidden behind a dour exterior or tucked away in the corner of an older shopping center.

In the digital world, that should not be the goal. You want people to land on your site and immediately feel comfortable. To do that, you need to avoid the following issues:

  • It is confusing – A well-designed website should have a clear purpose and be simple to understand at a glance. This can be accomplished numerous ways from layout to proper use of spacing and headers to the use of common and intuitive navigation. Sites that use infinite scrolling, confusing CTAs, poor transitions or abnormal navigation options can easily confuse and annoy guests. Unlike a store where people must then walk back to the entrance, on a website when people get confused, they simply close it.
  • It looks neglected – Would you walk into a store that looks neglected or abandoned in the real world? Most likely not. Websites can appear that way as well for several reasons. Older or outdated design styles are one reason. Content that has not been updated in months or longer is another. For example, if there is a headline on the home page that states “What’s new in 2018?” people might get the feeling your site is neglected. When a visitor lands on a site it should be obvious that someone is watching the store. Things like fresh content, new product listings, a current AI chatbot that provides a greeting, or similar aspects ensure that customers know someone is home.
  • It appears unsafe – Safety online should always be a paramount concern. There have simply been too many horror stories about data breaches and loss of customer data. If a customer does not feel safe on your site, they won’t complete even the most basic transaction or share information. To start, a site should always use HTTPS with SSL certificates installed. Security badges should be proudly displayed to let customers know how you are ensuring their data is safe. Finally, regular site audits should be performed to fix issues with contact or form data, 404 errors, and spam in any of the public comment sections or forums.
  • It is visually off-putting – There are a host of reasons this can occur. The use of certain images, graphics, color schemes, size of the font, and messaging are all examples of areas a site can be off-putting for visitors. When you look at sites that regularly rank for the Worst Websites of Year you can get a clear example of what we mean by Visually Off-Putting. A site should be the style for your brand, interesting, and engaging – not the opposite.
  • It looks cheap – You have all sorts of customers in the world. You have your Dollar Store customer, the Walmart customers, the Target customers, and so forth. On the internet, you need to avoid having the Dollar Store appearance, especially if you expect to attract a moderate-value clientele. When a business skimps on design and has a cheap-looking site, it naturally begs the question, “Is this how everything will be?” A company that doesn’t put much money in the design or development of a central tool of an online presence sets the expectation that they will make cheap choices in other areas of the business as well, such as the quality of goods. Credibility is already suspect on the internet and cheap web design does nothing to help your brand’s online trustworthiness.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that your website should be welcoming to your visitors. While some customer demographics may differ regarding style preferences, for the most part, our 5 Reasons Why Your Website is Unwelcoming is useful information for all business types. You only get one chance to make a first impression, so make sure that your website is as welcoming as possible!

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