Inspiration

7 Signs Your Website is Boring – and How to Fix it

How to recover from BWS (Boring Website Syndrome).

Image: vadymvdrobot

There’s a time and place for boring (like shopping for produce or attending a physics lecture). But one place where boring doesn’t belong is your website.

The web is both an interactive and virtually unlimited medium, meaning that your own little corner of it has great potential. Therefore, there’s no good reason to settle for anything less than compelling.

But, how exactly would one define a ‘boring’ website? Is it possible to be boring without even realizing it? Not to worry – we’re here to help! Let’s review some signs that suggest you have a boring website, along with some quick and easy remedies.

1. Your home page has no focal point.

A home page without a focal point is one without purpose. This can occur from either having too much or too little content. Pages with too much to take in just look cluttered and those with too little are wasting a valuable opportunity. Both ends of spectrum can result in a boring user experience.

The Fix: Think about what visitors to your site really need to know. Tailor your content to entice them into clicking deeper. You’ll also want to consider using a large “hero” image or perhaps add some movement with a slider. Something bold to represent the most important message you want to get across.

Here’s an example: There’s not a whole lot of content on Patagonia’s home page, but it sure is easy to figure out the focal point. The full-width slider features product and lifestyle information that gives visitors a true sense of what the company is all about.

2. There’s no opportunity for interaction.

Interactivity is one of the tenets of a great website. Failure to add even the slightest bit of it leads to low conversion rates and abject malaise. Without some sort of interactivity, you might as well have just printed out a brochure instead.

The Fix: The great thing here is that interactivity can take many forms. Some may think you need a big, flashy interface – not so. In fact, simple enhancements like photo galleries, social sharing buttons, animation and plain old hover effects on links or images can make a positive impact in this area.

Here’s an example: Web Designer News offers multiple ways to interact with its content. Users can submit articles, filter results, vote, share and leave comments. This all fits their particular needs perfectly.

3. Text runs on forever.

Whether your About Us page is as long as a novel or your blog posts scroll endlessly with unformatted text – you’re putting visitors to sleep. Or at the very least straining their eyes. Multitudes of text with no visual breaks can be extremely hard to concentrate on.

The Fix: Long stretches of text can be broken up nicely with relevant photos or infographics. They provide readers with visuals to grab their attention and maintain interest in what you have to say. Beyond that, the use of HTML headers (H2, H3, etc.) help divide text into multiple sections – making your content easier to digest.

Here’s an example: With a focus on longform articles, The Atlantic utilizes a combination of bold quotes and images to effectively break up text.

4. Calls to action are unclear or non-existent.

Websites with unclear calls to action are reminiscent of a famous scene in ‘Dumb and Dumber’ – awkward and a bit pointless. If they’re muddled or not there at all you’re missing an opportunity to make a connection with visitors.

The Fix: First, be sure to include some sort of call to action (CTA) on each page of your website. Then, make them to-the-point and easily recognizable. This is where a great set of icons can help draw eyeballs to the right place.

Here’s an example: The calls to action on the B&O Play website are crystal clear, with both descriptive text and icons to guide visitors. They’re simple but very effective.

5. Your WordPress theme is woefully inadequate.

An outdated or underpowered theme can have a very negative effect on your WordPress website. For example, a theme that doesn’t offer much in the way of customization can hurt branding. If you aren’t able to tailor the look and functionality to reflect who you are, it presents an obstacle to creating a compelling site.

The Fix: Look for a flexible WordPress theme that allows for customization. Utilizing a theme that includes a drag-and-drop page builder can allow you create attractive layouts without having to touch code.

Here’s an example: The Avada Charity theme sports all of the modern design features you’d expect. Plus it includes a plethora of customization options to add your own signature style.

6. Your blog hasn’t been updated in months (or years).

There’s nothing more boring than visiting a website where the “latest” blog post is a few years old. It sends the message that your site isn’t a priority and creates a perception that you don’t have anything interesting to say.

The Fix: Running a business is difficult and free time isn’t always readily available. Finding extra bits of efficiency wherever you can could help free up some time for writing. A good example of this is finding a web host that takes care of mundane tasks such as updating your content management system’s software for you. It’s one less thing you have to worry about and lets you focus on the good stuff.

Here’s an example: Keeping visitors updated is one of the best features of Nintendo’s official website. Their use of developer interviews and other behind-the-scenes articles help fuel even more fandom.

7. Your fonts are too plain and unimaginative.

Web typography is now at the point where there’s simply no excuse for not dressing up your text with something stylish. While legibility is always the top priority, style is important in its own right. It helps to reflect your personality and the type of content you have to offer.

The Fix: There are an incredible amount of font choices out there, just waiting to add some typographic bling to your site. Find one or two that are a good fit and see the positive impact they can have on your overall look.

Here’s an example: The Smithsonian NMAAHC uses typography that grabs your attention and is very easy to read. It’s a clean mix of serif and sans-serif fonts that aren’t outlandishly different, but unique enough to stand out.

Recovering from BWS (Boring Website Syndrome)

If you have discovered that your website is suffering from one or more of the signs above, know that you are far from alone. Oftentimes, it seems like we start off with the best of intentions when it comes to our websites – only to move onto more pressing matters as the years go by. It literally could happen to any one of us.

But, as we’ve found, recovery can become a reality. A few simple steps can turn a boring site into something much more interesting. And, if you feel your current site is a lost cause, you can take comfort in knowing how to approach the next version.

Now, take this newfound knowledge and use it to ensure that your website lives up to its vast potential. You can do it!


About the Author Eric Karkovack

Eric Karkovack is a web designer with well over a decade of experience. You can visit his business site here. In July 2013, Eric released his first eBook: Your Guide to Becoming a Freelance Web Designer. You can follow his rants on Twitter @karks88.