Everyone knows a bad website design when they see it, but it can be hard to isolate exactly what’s wrong with the design without technical expertise. A website might feel clunky, outdated, or just frustrating to use, but it could be difficult to articulate why.
If you want to avoid mistakes and create a web design that your users love, one of the best starting points is to look at the mistakes that other companies are making.
Not Designing Their Website for a Mobile Audience
The mobile audience has now eclipsed the desktop audience. More people are viewing websites from tablets and smartphones today than they are from laptops or desktops. It’s not enough to support mobile; websites need to be tailored for multiple platforms. Websites that are smooth and easy to use for a mobile audience are going to be more successful.
Producing Just Any Content
Authority building requires that you have valuable, interesting content on your website. If you post short content or content that contains errors and repetition, then you aren’t going to rank highly on search engines.
For the purposes of content marketing, you need to post lengthy, informative articles on your website. The better your content, the more successful your overall website design will be.
Using Generic Templates
It’s easy to download a CSS Bootstrap template from somewhere on the Internet or purchase a WordPress theme. But these generic templates have been seen by users before, and they give off a generic, unprofessional vibe.
While using generic templates can be an easy way to launch a project, those templates still need to be tailored to your business. If the template is too generic, you will find that it doesn’t adequately display your company’s brand, values, mission, or history.
Likewise, an array of stock photos may be pleasant to look at, but it really doesn’t tell anyone too much about your business.
Not Organizing It Correctly
Organizing a website takes some time. Ideally, it should only take two or three clicks for a user to reach any area of the website. This requires a carefully designed menu and hierarchy.
Sometimes websites grow organically, over time, and that leads to a cumbersome and navigation system. Users are no longer able to find the information they need, and consequently, they aren’t likely to stay on or recommend the website.
Neglecting Your SEO
Your search engine optimization is critical to getting your website noticed. And your SEO pervades every area of your website, from the front page to the landing pages.
Make sure that you’re updating your website to include given keywords and key phrases, and test these key phrases periodically to make sure your ranking is going up, rather than down.
Not Linking Out to Other Sites
Yes, you want to keep your users on your site. But not linking out to other high authority sites is something that keeps you from building authority, and can keep your content from building authority.
One of the things that search engines look at when they’re gauging the popularity and importance of a site is whether or not that site links to other high authority sites.
When you write content for your site, you should be linking to large, trustworthy sites that will be useful to the user. This is a key component of authority building.
Using “Spam-Filled” Phrases
On the web, as well as in email, there are certain phrases that are considered to be more likely to be seen in spam. These are phrases like “act now” or “for a limited time only.” If your website includes a lot of these phrases, it’s very likely that your website is going to rank poorly in search engines. It’s also of no surprise if your users don’t like to see these phrases either.
Forgetting the Fold
In paper layouts, there’s something known as the “fold.” Above the fold is everything that a reader can see immediately when looking at a paper. The most important information on a website should always be “above the fold.” On a website, anything that you need to scroll down to see is “below the fold.”
Organize your website so the most important information is always first, and at the top.
Giving a Bad Call-to-Action
Once users have read a webpage, they need to know what they’re supposed to do next. A good call-to-action informs the user of a discrete, simple action that they can (and should) do next. This can be anything from signing up for a newsletter to purchasing a product.
A clear, clean call-to-action is what a website needs to guide its users and increases conversions. If users aren’t sure what to do, they may just leave.
Failing to Consider the Brand
Everything in a company’s owned media, from websites to physical mailers, needs to be aligned with the brand. The website design should echo the company’s content campaigns and company culture.
This is another area in which generic templates can fail. If your website isn’t designed with your brand in mind, you’ll soon find that the brand itself is weakened.
Having Too Much on the Site
People today are busy. They don’t have a lot of time to explore a website. If your website is too complicated or too heavy right out of the gate, a user is more likely to leave than they are to continue to explore.
A website should be concise, informative, and fast, even if some content may need to be longer. Simplify and optimize your website until it’s easy to use and informative for the desired audience.
Forgetting to Follow Regulations
Not Integrating With Social Media
Website design is only one part of your online marketing. Social media is another. If you want to make sure that your marketing campaign is successful, you should leverage both and make it obvious for your audience how to move between the website and your social media presence.
Integrate your website with your social media, by enabling social media sharing, and linking directly to your social media accounts. Integrate your social media accounts with your website design by frequently posting content from your website on social media platforms and include links from the posts back to your website. You’ll be able to grow your audience through both.
Forgetting to Consider Disabilities
Quite a few people with disabilities are using websites. Visually impaired users may be using screen readers, or those with mobility issues may be using alternative methods of access. Websites should be updated to support disability standards. If a website cannot be used by a blind or deaf individual, it’s not accessible to everyone. Even something such as red and green color blindness can make it difficult to use some sites.
If you want to avoid mistakes in website design, it’s a good idea to look at the competition, read up on current regulations and standards, and consider the major mistakes above. By following general web design best practices, you can create an efficient website that will serve your user base for some time to come.
For more on how Colling Media helps companies grow through better website design, contact us today.