10 Biggest Mistakes in Website Design
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. And for countless businesses, its company website is the first opportunity to impress potential customers.
Web design can either make or break a website, and by using a top website builder like Wix, GoDaddy, or Weebly, you can ensure you put your best foot forward.
That said, even if you’ve spent months trying out different website builders and templates, there is no shortage of pitfalls that can get in your way.
Let’s take a look at some things you to avoid as you work to build a brilliant company website.
1. Jumping the Gun
No one likes to be greeted with “under construction” when visiting a website, and chances are if this happens, they won’t return. You wouldn’t open a storefront before it was ready, so why do so with a website? Before you launch, make sure your ducks are in a row, that you’ve cleared up any typos or coding problems, and that everything is set up just like you want it. Once you do all this, it’s time to hit the ground running.
Most website builders will allow you do extensive test runs and previews of your site, so you don’t jump the gun and go live before you’re ready.
2. Making the Site Hard to Read with Unclear Sense of Self
Are you a fashion blogger? A small brewpub? A local DJ selling his mixtape online? A small-scale clothes retailer? The identity of your website and your business is of crucial importance to your branding and success.
You need to make sure that who you are and what you do comes across quickly and seamlessly to any visitor, while leaving a lasting impression.
Having said that, leaving a great impression is highly difficult if users can’t read what’s on the site. There can be a number of explanations for this. Perhaps there isn’t a good contrast between the text and the site background, the fonts are confusing or hard to read, or the color scheme is distracting or off-putting.
Whatever it is, make sure to take a long, hard look at how your site appears to users before going online. To help, you may also want to consider some of the premium template designs offered by website builders.
These tend to cost money and people often opt for the free templates, but with the premium ones you know that the website will be designed to be read easily by any visitor.
3. Not Making Your Website Mobile Friendly
Parachute pants, chain wallets, frosted hair tips - there were a lot of things you could get away with in the 90s that just won’t fly today. In 2018 you simply cannot hope to have any success or get any serious traffic unless your website is mobile friendly.
You need to design your website with automatic screen formatting to ensure users see the same content and format, be they on a desktop computer, a tablet, or a mobile phone. The format must automatically and seamlessly adjust to the device the user is on, and must retain its responsiveness and speed in all formats.
Some sites solve this issue by developing an app specifically designed for mobile users, but if you are not developing a separate app, make sure your website is built to handle mobile users.
Most website builders can make sure your site’s mobile display is as tight as a 90s choker necklace. On Weebly, you can find a number of ways to build a striking mobile website with a drag-and-drop template. On GoDaddy, when you publish your website a mobile version is automatically created and on Wix, there is a long list of options and pointers to make sure you’re mobile-ready.
4. Don’t be a browser elitist
Some people toast a bagel before the shmear, while others just eat it right out the bag. The point is, there’s no one right way to eat a bagel, and the same is true with web browsers. If you want to reach the greatest number of users, you need to make sure your site runs on all major web browsers.
If you’re designing an app for your site, you’ll also want to make sure it’s available for Apple and Android systems.
A website builder allows you to see how your site will work on different browsers and mobile devices, to help make sure you’ve covered all your bases.
5. This Is a Website, Not a Billboard
Yes, tourists do love to stroll through Times Square. But when visitors come to your site, they shouldn’t feel like they’re being bombarded with ads.
There are very few totally ad-free sites available, especially since most sites don’t use a paywall and still need to generate revenue. Still, you can place ads on your site that are more subtle and aren’t in-your-face, and in some cases, ads can even compliment your content.
When it comes to video ads that play automatically when someone comes to your site, or big pop-up ads that greet them the moment they land - just say no. Say no, run in the opposite direction and don’t look back.
If you want to make money off ads on your site, one of your best options is to install Google AdSense, which displays ads alongside your website content, and are selected based on the user’s browser history. With most website builders you can integrate with Google AdSense and control exactly how many AdSense ads you want to appear, where to put them, and how large they should be.
With both Weebly and SiteBuilder you can find easy tutorials to walk you through the process.
Some web hosting companies offer free plans that offset the lack of a monthly fee by embedding ads on your site. If this is the case, you should consider whether or not having a website clean of any outside ads is worth paying the monthly user fee.
6. Seek - and They Should Be Able to Find
Frustrated customers are never a good thing. If people can’t navigate your website, chances are they will leave unhappy and likely not return.
Making sure that your site is searchable means that users will always be able to find what they’re looking for quickly and efficiently, and that’s not just good for their sake. If you are running an online store off your website, you want to make sure they are quickly able to find the items they need and proceed to checkout smoothly.
When looking at templates on website builders, try to find ones that will easily accommodate the number of links and tabs that you need for the different sections of your web search, as well as ones that clearly display the search bar where customers can find it when needed.
7. Help Them Get to Know You
Your company isn’t an espionage agency, and your website shouldn’t behave like one.
Contact details, store address, email, and other information should be very easy to find and clearly displayed on the website. You want visitors to be able to easily find the relevant information about how to find your business and be in touch with you.
Additionally, you want to prominently display an informative, engaging and interesting “About Us” page.
Remember, your website is like the front porch of your business. This is where people are going to come first, and where they’re going to get to know you. Don’t be so hard to get.
8. Organize and Keep It Clean
You don’t want your website to look like a clown’s pajamas or leave a visitor feeling like they’ve fallen into a surrealist painting.
Keep things simple and straightforward, because few things can hurt a website more than a format that is chaotic, disorganized and messy.
If it gives them a headache, they won’t come back for round two.
Wix is known for having a rich array of clean, attractive templates that can give any website a professional look. And on Web.com, with more than 2,500 available web page designs, you should be able to find one that works for you and keeps things from getting out of control.
9. Don’t Be Niche, Don’t Confuse the Visitor
You want to think big picture with your site and the content you have should be easy to understand for any visitor.
The content should be interesting, relevant, and informative. It should not confuse the reader or bog them down with information they don’t need or which gets them looking elsewhere.
Furthermore, these days people tend to skim websites, especially if they’re on a mobile device. If you have big, endless chunks of bland text, users are likely to just scroll on by, waving from the driver’s side window as they hit the road.
10. The Homepage Isn’t Everything
Having a homepage that draws users in is very important, but you want to make sure the rest of the site is engaging, clean, and easy on the eyes.
Make sure that even on the interior pages you have engaging images and content, and treat the site as a sort of highway where each stop is well maintained and the path helps users seamlessly traverse the site.
These are just some of the pitfalls to avoid when setting up your sight. By steering clear of these mistakes and defining who you are and what you want your site to be, you can maximize your chances of online success for your business.
In order to avoid these mistakes in website design, make sure to choose a website builder that offers professional site design.