The Mueller Writing Blog

Blog posts, eBooks and other content marketing resources written by Heather Mueller

5 Website “Strategies” People Hate

Could you accidentally be sending people away from your website? If you’re like many of the companies I’ve worked with over the years, you may be filling your site with content that unintentionally turns people away.

Here are five of the most common mistakes I see and what you can do to fix them:

1. You have too much copy

People don’t just want to read about what you’re selling. They want to see it, too. One of my clients is a personal trainer. It’s astonishing how few of his competitors include photos or videos on their websites, even though fitness is a very visual industry with a focus on factors like weight loss and workouts.

Do this instead:
Wherever possible, find ways to illustrate your message. It could be before-and-after pictures, a pricing chart to display value or a software screengrab to entice buyers. Be creative and think of ways a visual can help your customers better understand the benefits of your services or products.

Add visual marketing to your web content

Visuals, like this chart from Activity Rocket, can help sell value.

2. You fill your website with stock photography

The only thing worse than no visuals? Bad visuals. Nine times out of ten, that means stock photography. This is especially risky if you’re selling a lifestyle, place, merchandise, food or anything else people will eventually see, touch or taste in person. Trust me, they’re not going to be happy if it doesn’t line up with your photos. What seems like an innocent representation today can easily turn into damaging reviews tomorrow.

Do this instead:
If you can’t afford a professional photographer (which is best), learn a few tricks of the trade to take your own website-worthy snapshots.

Your website visitors hate stock photography

This image is ridiculous. No one will believe these are actual employees.

3. You ask visitors to do ten things all at once.

Sign up for our newsletter! Call Today! And while you’re at it…take a virtual tour, watch this video, download a PDF and click this banner ad. All those calls to action are just too overwhelming.

Do this instead:
Pick ONE primary call to action per page. Then repeat it.

4. Your introductory video is five minutes long.

What’s the first thing people notice in a streaming video? That little ticker in the lower right-hand corner, where the length is displayed. 30 seconds? I can spare that. 1:02? I’ll stick around. Five minutes? Forget it.

Do this instead:
Trim your explainer video down to two minutes or less by focusing on the top one to three key messages you want people to remember.

5. You use trendy, unreadable fonts

Light grey fonts, tiny fonts, white text on bright blue backgrounds…all these seemingly great designs can make your web copy incredibly hard to read. I may be biased on this one because I have terrible vision, but I guarantee I’m not alone.

Do this instead:
Ask an experienced designer to help you choose fonts that are attractive and easy to read over ones that are creative but may cause frustrated readers to hit the back button. Then test it yourself on all kinds of screens, from laptops to smart phones to tablets.

2 comments… add one
  • Early Childhood

    January 2, 2014, 3:39 am

    Hey there! Quick question that’s entirely off topic.
    Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly?
    My weblog looks weird when browsing from my iphone4. I’m trying to find a template or plugin that might
    be able to fix this problem. If you have any suggestions,
    please share. Thanks!

    • Heather Mueller

      January 28, 2014, 9:27 am

      Hi! I see you’re using WordPress. Have you experimented with responsive themes? I just checked out your blog on my iPhone 4 and it seems to be adapting just fine.


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