There are several pitfalls that can hinder your website success.
Our web designer Bob shares some of the most common design mistakes he sees across the web.
Poor website performance can cause potential customers to bail out before they reach your sales pitch. Missing information can disrupt your sales funnel, and critical errors in your SEO setup can prevent Google from even listing your site in search results.
Below are some of the most common mistakes we see in web page design every day. Get ahead of the competition by reading this article, and then reach out to us if you need help addressing these issues on your website.
1. UN-OPTIMIZED FONT SIZE
If you have to squint or put your face up to the screen to read your website, your font is way too small.
Many web browsers allow users to resize the font of any website manually (Mac keyboard shortcut = cmd+/-), but you shouldn’t assume everyone knows this keyboard shortcut.
As a rule of thumb, start your paragraph with a 16 point font (a point measures the height of a font in pixel size), and adjust it appropriately for the font style. Otherwise, you risk driving away readers due to illegibility.
The golden rule for websites: Make it easy for your users to interact with your site. Regarding fonts, don’t make them work for it—make it a reasonable size from the get-go.
2. IRRELEVANT IMAGERY
Your imagery always should complement your messaging.
Some of this is common sense. If you’re a company that makes audio recording software, it’s not usually wise to show an image of a person sitting on the beach in a lawn chair. Just because you like an image or icon doesn’t mean it’s the right one to use.
From the quality of the image to the image content, make sure your message aligns.
3. INAPPROPRIATELY CUT OR CROPPED PHOTOS
Just because it looks good on a desktop doesn’t mean it looks good on mobile—and vice versa. When your theme or code automatically centers, cuts, crops, or positions your images, you’ll want to check them across multiple browsers and device sizes.
Even outside of this happening automatically, be aware of your image content! Is someone’s head cut off? Is there a random foot appearing in the background? How does this affect the overall look you are trying to portray?
4. BROKEN IMAGES
Even worse than a bad image is an image that doesn’t appear at all!
There are many reasons an image will display as broken: the file was deleted from the server, you linked to an outside resource that no longer exists, there was a typo in the file location, or it was simply missed when it was moved from staging to production. Whoops!
Whatever the case may be, check your site for broken image links and get them replaced right away.
5. TOO MANY WORDS
User trends show that the average time spent on a page is decreasing, which means they are reading less of your content than you think! Since users often hunt for specific content, get them there quickly and easily. Be concise, streamline your content, and make it easy to digest.
There’s no reason you can’t have long articles, but let your user know upfront what they’re getting into with an outline, table of contents, or summary so they can decide if they are in the right place.
Don’t leave long paragraphs or stories on your home or second-level pages—save it for your posts. Your website metrics will thank you.
6. NOT ENOUGH WORDS
I know, I’m with you. Didn’t we just tell you not to use too many words? Yes, we did. On the contrary, it can hurt if you haven’t included enough detail.
The point here: Check back in on the golden rule. Is it easy for your users to get what they need out of your site? Can they find what they are looking for quickly and easily?
Use well-structured pages that give users options to easily navigate from page to page in order to find what they came looking for. Then once they get there, give them all the details.
7. UNFOCUSED UI AND UX
Some websites try to cram in as much eye candy and information as possible. While you may have met your personal goals here, think about the experience (or lack thereof) you’ve given the user. Is the primary goal of your page obvious? What should the user look at first?
If you overwhelm your users with too much at once, they won’t know where to look, which inevitably invites them to give up and look for it on someone else’s more organized website. Not everything is equally important. Prioritize your content, and your site’s design can follow suit.
There needs to be a hierarchy of visual and logical importance, which should be represented in the design.
8. UNCLEAR NAVIGATION
Don’t bury important links or information under imagery or rollovers. Use these with intent, for the experience.
The location of navigation menus have moved around over the years, from the right to the left, sticky or not, and now buried in a hamburger. They’ve mostly found their way back to the top of the page, and this is for good reason.
Users almost always will enter a website at the top of the page, so it will be the first thing they see. When something isn’t broken, don’t try to fix it.
9. NON RESPONSIVE
If you’ve ever needed to “pinch and zoom” on your phone or tablet to read text on a website, there’s a good chance that the website isn’t dynamically resizing to accommodate the user’s viewing device. This means it isn’t mobile-friendly or responsive.
Websites should be set up to look great on all devices, whether it’s on an old phone or a 27-inch display. A competent web development company can handle this for you and provide solutions for your most challenging content display issues.
10. FLASH BASED ELEMENTS
Flash was all the rage a decade ago. At the time, it added interaction and animation options that had never been seen online. But these sites relied on the user constantly downloading new software to view or interact with the website. Referring back to the golden rule, this didn’t make it easy for users to access content and information.
In 2010 Apple decided to banish Flash from IOS devices because of its drag on performance, making it almost useless to web developers. But somehow, nine years later, you can still find websites using Flash.
11. MISSING CONTACT INFO
You’ve done it! You’ve told them about your product, given them all of the details, showed them the shiny photos, and they’re ready to buy your product. But if your contact information is missing and they have no way to reach you, you’ve just lost an important sale!
Give your customers everything they could possibly need—physical address, email, phone and hours of operation, etc.
The footer is always a good spot for these items, but don’t forget a dedicated “contact” page.
12. LACK OF UI AND UX DESIGN
Both user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design can fundamentally change how your website is used, what brand messaging is delivered, and whether or not that messaging is understood. However, many web designers fail to recognize the importance of UI and UX design.
Most bad websites are bad because they’ve missed the mark when it comes to UI/UX planning and web page design.
This is a large category with deep implications, and you can read more about this here.
13. MISSING CALL TO ACTION
It’s one thing to talk yourself up, but it can be disappointing to read about an amazing company only to have nowhere to go from there. That’s what a call to action (CTA) is all about.
Once the user reads about why they should choose you, make it easy for them to do so by placing buttons or links like “Learn More” or “Call Us Now!”
If you’re not already doing this, you’re probably missing out on potential sales.
14. LACK OF SEO (SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION)
You can spend a lot of time and money making your website look amazing and work exactly how you like, but if you’re not turning up on search engines, there is a good chance that no one will ever find it.
Make sure your website is living up to its full potential by keeping your SEO up to date. SEO is a complicated issue and requires an expert to fine-tune it. Your SEO expert can help you identify problem areas as well as opportunities, structure your content appropriately, optimize your technical capabilities and constraints, identify areas of the market you should target, and plan out your social media strategy.
Connect with us if you would like a referral to our favorite SEO experts in the industry!
15. HIGH PAGESPEED SCORES
Ever been to a website that took FOREVER to load? You type in the URL, www.yourfavoritestore.com, then you go refill your cup of coffee. Stop by Joe’s desk to see how his morning is going. Back to the coffee pot to top off and hit the refrigerator for a splash of creamer before heading back to your desk, only to find that Your Favorite Store’s website didn’t load entirely or, even worse, you’ve found a timeout message and a blank white screen.
There are already more than enough obstacles to work through when turning viewers into customers on your website. Don’t let your load times be the barrier to growing your business.
Things like optimizing images, caching CSS and JS files, and ensuring your hosting package is sufficient enough for your content can make significant dents in your PageSpeed score.
Run a free PageSpeed test here, and then circle back to us for a free consult on how to improve that score by leaps and bounds.
BUILD A FLAWLESS WEBSITE WITH 729SOLUTIONS
Whether you need to correct these errors on your pre-existing website or want to build a property functioning website from the ground up, the 729Solutions Studios team is here to help.
We’ll streamline the process and assure your website is completed on time and budget. Don’t lose another sale to poor website design or functionality—reach out to 729Solutions today.