How to Fix an Incredibly Bad First Impression of Your Website

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Hey There

I’m Shirley. Your brand is a hidden treasure and my job is to help you get seen, heard, and paid what you’re worth.

No one intends on making a bad first impression. Sometimes in life these things just happen. But know that just because you made a bad first impression, that it is not the end of the world, and in fact, you can bounce back from it in some simple ways that you may find surprising.

Today this post covers…

  • 16 Ways You Can Make a Bad First Impression and
  • What You Can Do to fix those bad impressions

What a Bad First Impression on Your Website Looks Like

We should start by defining what we mean when we say bad or ugly website. Beyond the aesthetics a bad website is anything that is overwhelming for the person visiting your page to engage with. It’s anything for a page littered with too many call to actions, horribly placed navigations, or on the opposite spectrum, something that has a lack of clarity –from the messaging all the way to the content. This means that in the first 20 seconds of anyone actually landing on an ugly website, they’re already moving on to the next website in the google search. 

You may be leaving a bad impression if… 

Your Website is Not Responsive

This has to be one of my greatest pet peeves. Almost 50% of users will be using their phones in order to navigate your website. So the fact that it’s not responsive shows that you do not care about users who are visiting you through your phone.

How to fix it: show people you care by either getting a template that is mobile friendly. Or by hiring a designer to make your website responsive for mobile users.

Your Website Loads Slow

Sometimes this is something that you probably wouldn’t even notice until you start visiting your website. You may notice that an image here or there will load slightly slower than is preferred. When images load slow people usually think something is broken. So they leave the website.

How to fix it: Using plugins in WordPress is an easy way to help compress the images there for making it load faster. I also wrote an article about how to resize an edit your images in WordPress to ultimately help with that issue of images that are too big.

Your Website has Broken Links

Again this is something that you probably wouldn’t even notice until you go on to the website and start clicking around.  When people are trying to navigate through your website, they may experience an area that does not go anywhere. Or something that leads them to 404 error.

How to fix it: The simple way to  fix this is by doing a monthly maintenance where you go through your website and click on the links.

Your Website Has Dated or Pixelated Images

If you designed your website by yourself and have no graphic design experience you probably struggled with finding a sufficient images for your website. So you may be using stuff that you found off of a Google search. In most cases those images that you find online are very small and will look very pixelated or low quality on your website. People look at these images and automatically think the site is dated because of this.

 How to fix it: Start sourcing images from reliable websites for example Haute Stock. Stock photos can be used in this case. You want to download the large or original size. From there you can scale the image to the exact proportions you needed to be on the website. This way you get a quality image that is not too heavy or bulky to slow your website down. There are a ton of free and paid options out there for you to find really good stock photography. And as a recommendation, you can also carve out time to make your own stock photos that you can use on your website.

Haute Stock – Styled stock photography

Your Website Uses a Template That Hasn’t Been Customized

If you bought something online to use as the template for your WordPress website,  what commonly happens is that it’s not customized far past the template demonstration. So you’re getting something that looks really cookie cutter. When people see this, they’re often not impressed by the quality of your work.

How to fix it: Be sure to read the instructions on your template so that you can know the areas which you can make unique to your brand. Use your brand guide which will outline the colors, fonts, etc. Note if you don’t have any brand standards, you take a look at my service to learn about how to create standards for your brand. Use high quality photos,  and customize it with your own images. You can also hire a designer to consult you on how you can make small changes to make your website unique.

You Have Way Too Many Ads 

In an attempt for people to make affiliate cash, they often put too many advertisements on their websites, and it overwhelms anyone who is visiting your website.

How to fix it: Consider integrating your advertisements in your content as opposed to having it throughout the website. As a rule of thumb you can also make your advertisement customized so that they look like they’re coming from you. Think of influencers who take their own custom images but always hashtag the word ad. You can also in general just limit the amount of advertisement on your website. This goes for Pop Ups too.

Your Pop Ups Are Impossible to Get Out Of

Speaking of pop ups some websites have pop-up that don’t make it easy for people to click out. This is especially true in mobile or responsive view.

How to fix it: It is so important that you go back and test your website before it goes live. Once you’ve tested out the pop ups not only on desktop but also on mobile view, you’ll be able to fix those little annoying pop-ups before they crop up and become an issue for the person that’s visiting your website.

You’re Using Color Combinations Improperly

For anyone who is not a designer by profession, you’ll find that their website has an unusual use of color combinations. Such as yellows on top of whites or black backgrounds with barely visible grey text. The point is it’s either hurting someone’s eyes or making the content impossible to read.

How to fix it: Start by using color combinations that are popular based on a pallet that you want to use. Pinterest is an excellent resource for identifying a tried and true color palette. You can also use Adobe Color which is a resource by Adobe that allows you to look up different color combinations and gives you the hex code so that you can use it on your website.

Your Website Copy (AKA Information Content) is Straight Up Boring

So maybe your website looks good but the actual information on your website is quite boring or not engaging enough for somebody to stay.

How to fix it: Run your website copy through a test with actual users. What you want to do is be able to take the words right out of their mouth and use them on your website. If you are looking for another option, there are also resources out there that have swipe files to give you exactly what to say on your website.  I personally have used “Copy That” by Jamie Jenson and have heard amazing things about Rita Olds.

Rita Olds – Website Copy writer

You Make it Impossible to Click Buy

Another pet peeve of mine is small, but significant to your bottom line. Not having options to easily purchase from a person is a huge turnoff for someone coming to buy from your site. You may have a buy button but it links out to some other random site or does not give users the option to use something like PayPal in order to pay.

How to fix it: Welcome to the 21st century where payment options for online business owners are in abundance. Payment options such as Woocommerce or Sendowl or even Stripe are popular shopping carts that are being used by other websites which you can use on your website as well. They have a really user-friendly interface that people can trust. but most importantly it makes the buying process simple for your website.

You Make it Impossible to Contact You

Most people would recommend that you put a contact form on your website.  But with business friends constantly trying to contact people or with buyers trying to reach you directly,  seeing a contact form will often discourage them from contacting you at all.

How to fix it: Always put your email address on the contact page or listed in the header or footer of your website.

Mattie James – Influencer: She places her contact email directly on her contact page

The Pages Aren’t Interlinked

You may have accidentally forgot to link one of your landing pages to the rest of your website. Therefore when a user has signed up for something like a free email opt-in, after they’ve completed the sign up form, they have to physically use the back button in order to go back to the website.

How to fix it: Give your website visitors incentive to visit the other pages of your website. Mostly by including a footer in the confirmation page or by adding call to actions at the bottom of the confirmation page.

There’s No Search Box

Probably something small that you didn’t notice is the search box. If your users are find through another source and looking for something very specific on your website it’s so important to be able to have a search box to quickly navigate through your website. But without it they’re unable to do that.

How to fix it: I recommend putting a search box usually on the blog page, in your menu, or in your footer.

No Email Sign Up Available

While we may think that people don’t want to sign up for yet another email often oh, there are some people who actually want to hear from you on a regular basis. But you have not put any email often available on any page of your website.

How to fix it: if you don’t already have one, use a pop-up often that allows people to put in their name and email to opt-in to your email list. Otherwise make it available in your footer, your blog page, your contact, and you’re about to page because those are the most frequently visited pages.


Here’s how you fix some bad first impressions

  1. Make sure your website is mobile friendly because almost 50% of your user are coming to your website using their phone
  2. Compress your images so that they load up on your website faster
  3. Check your website monthly or weekly for broken links, otherwise people will get discouraged
  4. Stop using low quality images you find off Google and start using high resolution photos
  5. Customize your templates. Don’t just slap your pictures in and call it a day, use your brand standards to make it look impressive to your visitors.
  6. Ads aint cute! Consider doing sponsored post or affiliate posts so they naturally infused in your website.
  7. Your pop up need to be mobile responsive and easy for people to opt out of if necessary.
  8. Use tried and true color combination, otherwise, you’re likely making it hard for people to read your stuff, and it look amature.
  9. Add personality to your website copy to make it engaging versus boring.
  10. Your buying process may be too complicated. Using trusted shopping carts can making the buying experience enjoyable for the person who wants to buy from you.
  11. Add you email address in your footer, header, and on your contact page so people can directly reach out to you.
  12. Interlink your pages so that people can properly navigate your website
  13. Speaking of navigation, having a search option on your website makes finding stuff easier for your website visitors.
  14. Finally, put your email sign up in an obvious place, so that people who actually want to hear more from you can sign up.

What’s something that you can do to fix a bad first impression on your website?

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