In today’s world, a well-designed and informative website isn’t just nice to have for businesses — it’s an absolute must-have. However, designing a great website is easier said than done. It’s all about striking the right balance between engaging content, great design, and useful information. When it’s done well, website design is an excellent way to generate traffic, drive conversion, and boost your bottom line. However, when done poorly, website design can actually hurt your business. To make sure you stay on track when designing your website, be sure to avoid these 12 common website mistakes that can hurt your business.
1. Your website isn’t mobile compatible. More and more web browsing is occurring on mobile devices. While smartphone internet consumption is on the rise, desktop consumption is actually declining. Whether you invest in responsive web design or a mobile version of your site, it is key that your website be easily accessible on mobile devices. If you don’t have a site that is accessible on mobile, you’re missing out on business.
2. You don’t invest in an aesthetically appealing design. Functionality and user experience are crucial, but ultimately, you want a website that looks great, as well. The bottom line is that aesthetics matter. Research shows that people will leave a website if they feel that it is unattractive. Put simply, people would rather engage with content that is beautifully designed.
3. Your site lacks consistency. Good design is consistent design. Your color scheme, font faces, font sizes, and logo should be the same throughout your entire site. Variations in these kinds of things can make you see amateurish or unprofessional, which will ultimately hurt your business.
4. You have blocks of text. No one is going to read thousands of words of straight text on your website. In order to ensure that your content is readable and digestible, make sure you break up long swaths of text with pictures and subheadings.
5. You don’t include your contact information. Great web design is all about striking the perfect balance between information and aesthetics. Just as you don’t want to be so caught up in the informational aspects that you forget about aesthetics, you don’t want to be so caught up in aesthetics you forget about the information that you need to convey. One of the most detrimental mistakes a company can make is forgetting to include its contact information on its website. If a customer finds you on the internet but then can’t call you or come into your store to make a purchase, that is a major problem. Consider incorporating multiple places, that are easy to find, for people to find your accurate contact information or fill out a contact form.
“If you’re selling, you need to offer viewers multiple ways to contact you. The smartest route is to put up a ‘Contact Us’ link that leads to complete info — mailing address, phone, and email address. That link should be on each and every page of your website,” Rich Mintzer explained in Entrepreneur. “Even if nobody ever calls, the very presence of this information adds real-world legitimacy and transparency to your site and comforts some viewers.”
6. Your navigation scheme doesn’t make any sense. Users need to know how to navigate your website intuitively so that they can get where they need to go. If visitors to your site can’t navigate your website, it will kill conversion rates, which will ultimately hurt your bottom line. Make sure you have a great navigation scheme in place.
7. You’re not paying attention to load time. When designing your website, you need to pay attention to how long your pages will take to load. Slow loading times are one of the main reasons that customers abandon web pages. As a general rule of thumb, the longer that a page takes to load, the higher the rate of page abandonment. Many people will cease engaging with a site if the images take too long to load or won’t load. Mobile users, especially, are notoriously impatient. Pay attention to image size, plug-ins and how you are hosting video and other content.
8. You don’t have any CTAs. Calls to action, or CTAs, are an integral component of great website design. Research consistently shows that CTAs dramatically boost conversion rates, so it is definitely in your best interest to include them. “What do you want users to do once they’ve found your website? Do you want them to buy your product, contact you, or subscribe to your business e-newsletter? You need to tell visitors what the next step is and when (ideally, now!),” Ilya Pozin explained in Forbes. “Your content should answer the question, ‘What’s in it for me?’ and then the call to action tells them what to do next.”
9. Your website is disruptive. Whether it’s obnoxious background music, annoying GIFs, obnoxious pop-ups, or neon text that flashes, your website should in no way be disruptive. Avoid design elements that could be construed as obnoxious or intrusive. Incorporating these kinds of things into your design is a surefire way to drive people away from your page — and subsequently hurt your business.
10. Your webpages are saturated with ads. While we’re on the subject of disruptive content, take note here that you also don’t want to distract or disrupt your users with too many ads. Ads will compete for your users’ attention and pull them away from your content, which isn’t ideal.
11. Your content is old. Is the most recent blog post from three months ago? Have all of your product descriptions been the same for the past year? If you’re not making changes to your website and adding new “fresh” content, you’re most likely hurting your search engine rankings. Google assigns content a freshness score to rate how recent it is. This score is factored into ranking algorithms, so the higher it is, the better. If you haven’t updated any content on your site in quite some time, now is the time to get going.
12. You haven’t linked your website with your social media pages. These days, most businesses have cultivated a pretty active presence on social media. If you haven’t linked between your social media accounts and your website, it is a huge mistake. Ideally, people should be able to switch back and forth easily. Think about it: If a new customer stumbles across your Facebook page, don’t you want to make sure that he or she can easily find your website? In the long run, this will drive more traffic to your site and, potentially, drive up sales.
Designing a great website is no easy feat. However, it is important to get it right. If you need some help, it never hurts to call on the expertise of a website design professional. Contact us to learn more about how a great website design can help your brand.