Nearly two billion websites are on the internet. Which ones we see – and which remain hidden – is largely determined by how well your website works within the algorithms of different search engines.
Often times when a website isn’t appearing immediately in your search results it’s because the website’s owners commit several web design mistakes. Some of them are obvious, but many of them are subtle. Before you launch a website, you need to know what these mistakes are and adjust your design appropriately.
What content should your website contain? How can you create enticing visuals that fit your brand? How can you appeal to different demographics?
Answer these questions and you can create the perfect website in no time. Here are 16 common web design mistakes.
1. Adding Too Much Content
Many people who are new to designing business websites add a lot of content to their websites. They hope to grab people’s attention and establish themselves as thought leaders. In reality, cluttering your website with content can be distracting and overwhelming.
Think about what the point of your website is. You may want to educate people about your services, or you may want to reach out to members of your community.
Design and tailor your content to reflect your purpose. Cut out anything that is unnecessary or tangential, including images and embedded videos.
Your content should reflect your brand voice guidelines. You should speak to your audience, addressing their concerns and conveying their interests. Talk to them at their level, using the language they would use to describe things without being repetitive or overly detailed.
2. Missing Out on Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization (SEO) allows your website to rank highly on the results pages of search engines. SEO involves a lot of work, but you can make the top of results pages and see a substantial increase in sales.
The first step is to incorporate the search terms that people use into your content. You can do keyword research to determine what the search terms are, then you can write articles and captions with the terms in them. Your content should be skimmable, with short paragraphs and simple diction that anyone can read.
You should also include links to other articles. This shows search engine crawlers that you are using credible information in your content. You can get links from the websites you are linking to, which will increase your credibility with crawlers.
3. Skipping a Contact Page
Whatever content your website has, you should have a page dedicated to providing your contact information. At a minimum, you can write a paragraph with your company name, phone number, mailing address, and email address.
But feel free to get more elaborate. You can add a comments section so users can ask you questions or place orders. You can add a button that will dial your number automatically, allowing clients who are having problems to resolve their issues.
You can also put your information in a header or footer. Put it in bold text so people can see it clearly.
4. Lacking a Call to Action
Some people avoid calls to action because they think they are too aggressive. But a call to action can mobilize your visitor and turn them into a client.
Your call to action does not have to be complicated. “Request a quote” or “give us a call” is all you need to say at the end of your articles. Your call to action can link to your contact page, even if you have a footer with your information.
If you’re writing an article about your products, your call to action can link to a product page or your shop. You can also include internal links to your products in the body of your article.
5. Using Bad Images
It is a good idea to include an image on each page of your website. But you should not include an image for the sake of including an image, especially if the photograph is low-quality.
Never include blurry images or photographs with watermarks on them. Try to avoid using stock images, as they can come off as hokey or unusual.
You can use other people’s images as long as you do not violate their copyright. If you’re worried about copyright infringement, you should take your own images or hire a photographer to take photos.
6. Loading Slowly
Website loading speed is a critical factor in SEO. Even if your website takes three seconds to load, algorithms will rank your website down. Users are 32% more likely to click away from your website if it takes just three seconds to load.
Decluttering your website is one way to decrease your loading speed. Removing images, embedded videos, and blocks of text will make it easier for your website to load. You should also find a page builder that will load your pages fast.
7. Not Optimizing for Mobile Users
15% of Americans are smartphone-only internet users. They own a smartphone, but they do not subscribe to broadband internet access. Some of these people do not have a computer, so they can only access the internet through a smartphone.
If you don’t optimize your website, you are missing out on these users. It is not enough to have your website accessible to these users. You need to create a mobile-friendly website that is easy for mobile users to skim through.
The viewport meta tag is a tag you can put in your website code to tell browsers to fit the page to the screen. You should add the tag to each page, though you should run your code by a web design service so you get it right.
Your font size needs to be large so people with small screens can read your text. Your buttons also need to be larger, especially in your navigation bar.
8. Forgetting About Accessibility
61 million Americans live with at least one disability, and many disabilities affect how people interact with websites. You can help people with vision issues by adopting a template that you use for each page. Make the size and placement of your headers consistent, and place photographs in the same places on each page.
You can help people with mobility issues by enabling keyboard functionality. A user should be able to use their arrow keys to move up and down a page. They should be able to find links and forms using their tab key.
Test your website out before launching it so you know if it is accessible. You can find web design tools to optimize your website.
9. Using Too Many Colors
You can use many different colors for your website content. The key is to find one or two colors that you can adopt for all of your pages. Using more than three colors can create glaring contrasts and distractions from your content.
Try using colors that are in your company logo. This will create brand awareness and generate positive emotions in your user’s mind. If you want to vary the colors, you can use a different shade.
When in doubt, put black text on a white background. Though these color choices are a little bland, black text on white is easy to read.
10. Forgoing White Space
White space allows users to scan your content and take a break from your material. Including too much white space can make your content seem sparse. But using too little is worse, as large blocks of text or cluttered images can overwhelm your user.
Use white space when it makes sense. Put one line in between each paragraph, and leave at least one inch of space between your text and the edge of the browser.
11. Writing in a Bad Font
You have many options for fonts on your website. For your blog articles and main text, you should select one font and stick with it. You can use a different font in your navigation bar and other features, but avoid creating a big contrast between the two fonts.
The font you select should be readable, visually pleasing, and easy on the eye. Roboto, Helvetica, and Open Sans are standard choices. It is okay to use Times New Roman or Arial, but they can be a little bland.
Test your font before you launch your website. If you are having trouble reading your articles, you should switch fonts.
12. Using a Bad Logo
A company logo is a great tool to establish brand awareness and loyalty. Your website should contain your logo, with most websites having it in the upper-left corner.
However, you should take a close look at your logo before you plaster it on your website. If it is blurry or does not reflect your company’s brand, you should get a new logo. Talk to a graphic designer about making one.
Do not make your logo too big. If you want to make your logo more prominent, you can put it in your background as a watermark. Yet your logo should not make it harder for users to read your text.
13. Misusing Pop-Ups
Pop-ups can be good tools, especially if you are lacking a strong call to action. You can design your website to produce a pop-up after a user has been browsing for a period of time. The pop-up can link to your contact page, store, or another critical feature.
You should not have an instant pop-up. Many people will leave as soon as a pop-up appears on their screen. If you’re worried about irritating your user, you should not use pop-ups at all.
Never allow another website to put pop-up ads on your website. These ads can link to malware and redirect the user to dangerous pages.
14. Avoiding 404 Pages
A 404 page is a page your website produces if a link doesn’t work. You can use a generic 404 page that tells your user that the page is not accessible.
But you can go the extra mile and create a page that matches your brand and aesthetic. You can include your company logo or mascot on your page, or you can share a funny message about the page not working. You should attach links to other pages so your user will stay on your site.
15. Forgetting About Security
Your user’s safety should be your top priority. Never link to pages you aren’t sure are safe. It is okay to run ads on your website, but make sure the ads are legitimate and do not download files onto your user’s computer.
Use the HTTPS protocol to provide secure connections to your website. HTTP is okay, but Chrome and Safari are no longer connecting users directly to HTTP pages. Users receive warnings that the website is insecure, and many users go to other websites.
Don’t forget about your own security. Cybercrime will cost businesses $10.5 trillion a year by 2025. You should hire a website maintenance professional who can give you advice on how to avoid hackers and phishing scams.
16. Not Incorporating Analytics
You are not done with your web design once your website goes up. SEO goes through yearly trends as search engine algorithms change to prioritize different features. New website design tools come on the market every quarter, and you can change your website in many ways.
An easy way to determine what you need to do is to look at your analytics pages. Assess what your most popular blog posts and landing pages are. Adjust your website content to reflect what your most successful pages are like.
You should also use analytics to see what the most popular search terms are. Feel free to read surveys of web designers and take their recommendations into account.
Avoiding Web Design Mistakes
Web design mistakes are more common than you think. You should produce a moderate amount of content that speaks directly to your users. Be delicate with how you use images, yet be forceful with your calls to action.
Design a website that everyone can use, including people with disabilities. Feel free to add features like a custom 404 page. But don’t forget to make updates based on SEO and rising internet trends.
The best way to maintain your website is with smart designers. Empist serves Chicagoland businesses. Contact us today.