Mistakes to Avoid When Designing a Website
The importance of your website cannot be overstated. Your website is very likely the front door to your business. In an increasingly competitive world, you need to ensure that when a website visitor arrives, they have an experience that is convenient, explains your business and makes it easy to transact. Even before they arrive, you want to ensure that your website does everything it can to be found by your likely customers.
So let’s consider how to get started and what to avoid when designing a website.
Should I Build My Own Website?
Every business today, however small, needs a website. But not everyone can afford to employ designers and back-end coders to create that customised website. Do not let that put you off. There are many website builder platforms that enable you to craft your own website.
Before you start, though, here are the 8 mistakes in web design that you should try to avoid:
- Brand inconsistency
- Confusing website structure
- Cluttered page designs
- Inadequate focus on SEO
- Missing or weak calls to action
- Slow loads and no mobile optimisation
- Poor performance measurement
- Forgetting your socials
Read on to find out why business owners and sole traders should avoid these crucial points when designing a website for a new business.
1. Brand inconsistency
Think of the time you spent setting up your business. You profiled your customer target, so you knew exactly with whom you were creating your relationship. Your website is no different. Make sure that your language, tone and style fit your brand position and your customer target. If your target is slightly more conservative and older, telling them a new product is “sick” will not work. At all times, consider your brand and your target customer as they journey through your site.
2. Confusing structure
You want your customers’ experience to be easy. The longer and more complicated their onsite experience, the more likely they will not persevere. Is your navigation structured in a way that makes sense? One of the worst website mistakes is to start progressing your visitor to a call to action point and then find the navigation has taken them back to the beginning.
Most successful sites use a prominent navigation bar at the top or side of the page that allows users to jump to their desired location quickly and easily. But sometimes, a visitor arrives with a clear target and little time. The inclusion of a search function can improve their experience significantly.
When considering your website structure, make sure you think about the customers’ likely journey through the site. Do they match? You don’t want to be known as the website to avoid. Also, don’t make it difficult for users to contact you. It may be just one simple question that is stalling a sale.
3. Cluttered page designs
Find a happy medium. Too much content on a page can be confusing and overwhelming. On the other hand, having to progress from page to page to get the whole story can be frustrating.
To help visitors move forward, keep the design on your web pages simple, logical, and focused on assisting users in getting where they want to be – whether it’s a product landing page, sign-up form or your business contact details.
Sometimes, the judicious use of white space can help draw attention to the surrounding text or image. If you have something vital that should be understood, give it some space so users can find it.
If you use forms, keep them short so you only collect the data you need. Too long, and users will not complete the form.
It is essential to keep your content fresh. When designing your page, always consider that you will need to be able to return and update content. Don’t select a design that limits that capacity.
4. Inadequate focus on SEO
Ignoring the importance of Search Engine Optimisation is one of the worst website mistakes. SEO is the process of manipulating your website design so it can be more easily found by search engines like Google. SEO can have significant implications for website design, particularly concerning:
- Use of keywords
- Page titles
- Meta descriptions
- Image text
- Duplicated copy
5. Missing or weak calls to action (CTA)
One of the worst website mistakes is overlooking a call to action or including one that is ineffective. Every website needs a high-performance call to action. Your CTA tells users to do something and shows them how: Click here! Subscribe here. Get a coupon! Learn more about this product! It’s important. Effective CTAs drive sales, build customer databases and provide referrals. A good CTA will always inform users what they will get from taking action and what information they need to provide. But sometimes, they can be annoying for users, particularly if used too frequently. Keep your CTA as short as possible and make sure it is clear what is required. Form-filling should be minimal.
6. Slow loads and no mobile optimisation
Never create a website that is slow to load. If a page cannot load within a few seconds, you will experience users abandoning the site. Load speeds are determined by your hosting capacity and the “richness” and complexity of the data on the page. If your website is loading slowly, it may be because you are using large images, have too many redirects, or have installed too many unnecessary plugins.
It is also essential to ensure your website is optimised for mobile. More than 50% of your traffic could be coming from mobiles, so it is vital that the site’s design is responsive to, and configured for, those visitors. Desktop versions are often too big to fit on small phone screens. Desktop designs require lots of scrolling and zooming in on mobile to read the content. Anything that diminishes your user experience will reduce the time users spend on the site.
7. Poor performance measurement
Understanding your site’s performance is key to knowing how to improve it. All designs should accommodate the use of tracking using Google Analytics. This data will help you achieve a thorough and detailed understanding of user behaviour on your site.
8. Forgetting your socials
The online world is a social one, and if you have a presence on social media platforms (and you should), you can make the most of your assets by displaying links to your social profiles prominently on your website.
Links to your social channels can be very valuable on product pages, particularly if you have photogenic products or content that people can easily share.
Website design is important whether you are launching a new website or managing an established site. If you have an existing site, try our free website health check to see if you should review its security or design.
Website design completed? Congratulations! Now it’s time to find the best website hosting for your business.
A website is a crucial component of your business strategy. It needs to be carefully planned, designed and executed. Then it requires management, maintenance and promotion. If you need assistance from website design and hosting through to digital marketing and SEO support, we’re here to help.