One of the services we offer at Legal123 is to review your website. The kind of thing we’re asked to check is making sure any specific wording you’re using is compliant with Consumer Law or regulations that apply to your industry. We’ll also review your website Terms & Conditions and make sure they’re watertight and ensure you’re not missing anything from a legal perspective.
It’s a service we’re happy to offer, particularly because we get to see some amazing websites and really cutting edge business ideas.
But some days I get frustrated. And I’m not sure how far my role extends. Checking legal wording and requirements is part of the job – but what about spelling errors, bad grammar or even commercial mistakes in the rest of the website? Should I point these out? In some sites there are literally dozens!
I am a lawyer after all and so attention to detail is something that’s important to me (part of the lawyer DNA). I try really hard to bite my tongue and ignore them. But sometimes I can’t help myself and find myself offering suggestions on how to improve a website – even if it’s not asked for. After all, a fresh eye and view can only be helpful?
So instead, I am writing this article. Please, please, please … read this and check your website for these very common mistakes:
1. Spelling & Grammar Mistakes: If writing is not your strength or English is not your first language, get someone who specialises in this service to review your website. It’ll be worth it. First impressions and your online image are important. You don’t want to be mistaken for an overseas site, as some people will only deal with local providers. My pet peeves include these grammatical errors: affect/effect; advice/advise; ensure/insure; principle/principal and their/there. My skin is literally prickling writing these.
2. Large & Slow Loading Images: Websites these days are using lots more images. But some sites literally take FOR-EVER to load. And most of the time it’s due to large and uncompressed images, which is so easy to fix. If you’re using large images on your site make sure you compress them first – ideally no image on your website should be more than 100 kb in size. People will not wait around for your site to load!
3. Non-Mobile Responsive Site: If your site is not responsive by now, it should be. More and more people are accessing the internet, email and making purchases on tablets and mobile phones than ever before. You need to ensure you are in the market and easy to do business with. You don’t need to spend money on developing an App for your website. Just make sure your code is up-to-date and using CSS with media queries to reconfigure your website for mobile and tablet devices.
4. Dated Website Design: You website cannot be “set and forget”. If you’re not regularly updating your website with new content and images and refreshing it with the latest web trends, you will look dated very quickly. Look around to see what top websites are doing – the look and feel is important. Crayon.co is a great place to check out web trends and fantastic looking websites.
5. Dead or Empty Blog: One of the first things a potential customer will do is check out your blog, if you have one. If you don’t have one, you should get one! They want to see what you’re all about – make a connection. You blog is a credibility builder. But if you’re blog hasn’t been updated in a year or worse yet, started but never added to – it can destroy your image. So either post regularly to your blog or don’t post at all. Otherwise potential customers will wonder if you’re even still open for business!
My tip: If you are posting every week to your blog and do not post for more than 2 weeks, you should put up a note explaining why. Remember, you can always set up blog posts in advance and release them at set times in the future.
These mistakes really make you look unprofessional and like an amateur business. Most are easy fixes or are easily addressed. Put the time and effort into your website and business – it’s a full time job, so if you cannot manage it yourself, hire someone who can help you. It does not matter how good your SEO is or where you rank in Google or how much marketing you do if your site is not clean, updated and professional.