Online marketing campaigns are designed to lead people to your website, but if you’re website is in shambles, your marketing budget will simply be wasted expenditure.
Here are ten common web design mistakes to avoid when designing a website.
1. Slow-Loading Sites
We have progressed far enough into the digital age that people expect websites to load almost instantly. If they have to wait thirty seconds before your page loads, our visitor will be on to the next website within fifteen.
There’s also the problem that Google penalises slow websites, which will greatly affect your search rankings in a negative way. Then you won’t have to worry about viewers sticking around, because they’ll never make it there in the first place.
2. Not Building Responsive Websites for Multiple Platforms
How is your audience viewing your website? From a laptop? A smartphone? A tablet? The answer is… from all. You never know what type of device they’ll be using, so it’s absolutely vital that you have a responsive web design for multiple platforms.
If you’re nor using responsive design, then viewers on a PC may view everything perfectly, but mobile viewers might not be able to read the small print, or elements could overlap, or any number of issues could exist that make it a headache to try and read.
3. Designing by Gut Instead of by Grid
Winging it really isn’t an option when it comes to layout. A good designer will recognize that you haven’t used a grid based website design immediately, but the average web surfer will only see a mess that disturbs their eyes more than it draws them in. If you’re not already using a grid system, this article gives you five to check out.
4. Picking Colours and Fonts Poorly
There are two things to keep in mind in making your site easy on the eyes. First, don’t choose tiny fonts with hard to see colors, such as grey text on a light blue background. I shudder thinking about some of the sites like this that I’ve tried to read something on.
Second, don’t overload their senses. Your website isn’t a video game from the 1980s (unless it actually is, in which case forget this tip). Crazy fonts and wild colors everywhere are more likely to cause an unexpected seizure than to entice visitors to stick around or take action (except the action of leaving). Use web-safe colours and web-safe fonts, please.
5. Using Non-Customised, ‘Cookie Cutter’ Themes or Templates
Unless you’re designing your website from scratch (which is unlikely in most cases), your Content Management System (CMS) platform of choice will have a variety of pre-made themes or templates to choose from. Unfortunately there are plenty of websites that have used these themes or templates without any modification, making them bland and lacking originality.
There are numerous great CMS themes or templates available for use, however you have to customize your website so that it reflects your brand effectively. Otherwise you your website will look like just another ‘cookie cutter’ website.
6. Not Enough White Space
We’ve already covered fonts and colours, but readability is an aspect of your website that can’t be overstated. A cluttered site is a site quickly abandoned. When posting images, blog posts, or other important content, don’t cram it all together.
Having plenty of white space around content makes it much more readable and digestible. Keep paragraphs short and spaced out. Use subheadings to separate them and in general leave white space around anything you want read.
7. Links Don’t Change Colour Once Visited
When you’re linking to other pages or external sources, you want your audience to be able to pick back up where they left off if they open a new browser tab or revisit your site later.
Your links should change colour once clicked, giving them a point of reference as well as reminding them of sources that they may want to revisit or avoid.
8. Complex Navigation
If your visitors can’t find what they want within three clicks, they will leave your site fast according to statistics. It only makes sense to have a simple website navigation. What good could possibly come from making it difficult for visitors to find what they’re looking for?
If you were going to hide something, you wouldn’t have it on your website. Use obvious text with every link and alt text with image links. Broken links should be checked for regularly and eliminated in a timely manner, as there are few things more annoying than clicking on a broken link. Apart from that, broken links will hurt your search rankings in Google.
9. PDF Files for Reading
PDF files are great for one thing, and one thing only: printing. If you have manuals or other documents that are designed specifically for your audience to print out and have a hard copy of, then by all means use a PDF file.
If you have content for any other purpose, especially if it is something you want them to read while they’re online, convert that content into a web page. Linking to PDF files will only annoy them. This is not new information, yet there are still many companies out there who refuse to heed the well-documented dislike for PDFs used for online reading. Don’t be one of them.
10. Listing Prices
This one is actually a little touchy, and greatly depends on your individual situation. There are fairly strong opinions on both sides of the camp, and you’ll have to make your own decision based on what suits your needs best.
Web design pricing can be common to some and very individual and tailored to others. Just understand that it’s not always a good thing – but it might be for you.
At the end of the day, visiting to your website isn’t actually the goal of a visitor.
It’s to get your visitor to engage with your website once they reach their destination. In order to make your site more appealing and sticky to eyeballs, a decent custom website must follow some basic, fundamental rules in order to achieve its goal.
Hence it’s imperative to avoid these common web design mistakes.