During the last few years, and mainly as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, websites have become the very backbone of any business out there, big or small. If your website isn’t well-designed, then you can very much say goodbye to your online presence, which in turn hurts your sales and business.
In order to help you out, we have listed 15 common website design mistakes that every business should avoid in order to provide a seamless experience for both their current and potential customers.
The importance of website design
Before we delve into the most common website design mistakes, let’s first go over what web design is and why it’s important for any business to thrive online. At its core, website design refers to the process of strategising, conceptualising, and delivering important bits of information about your business in a way that is aesthetically pleasing to most, if not all, of your website visitors.
As for the importance of website design, well, we have a few points to cover in that regard.
First impressions matter
When someone visits your website, it gives them the first impression of your business. In other words, they’ll quickly build judgement of your business in mere seconds. As a result, you want the first few interactions between your website and audience to go as seamless as possible.
If your website isn’t aesthetically appealing or downright outdated, your audience will automatically have a not so positive impression of your brand. Many of them will just quit and move on with their lives. They won’t even bother to give you another try in the future.
So, if you want your audience to stick around and perform whatever action(s) you wish them to perform (sign-up, subscription, sale), then you want their first impression(s) of your website to be as positive as humanely possible.
If visitors of your website notice that your design is outdated, they’re less likely to trust it. This is because many shady websites out there employ run-of-the-mill outdated website designs to scam people.
Say, for example, you offer people the ability to place bulk orders on a certain product or products in your inventory. Users won’t trust you with a large sum of money if they aren’t 100% certain that your website is safe. And trust us when we say this. No bad design out there conveys safety and trust, none.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Most web design elements influence your capabilities to post content on your website. That, in turn, affects the overall SEO state of your website.
For a search engine like Google, AI “spiders” will crawl through all of your website and index it. However, if the design of your website is all over the place, both technically and aesthetically, these crawlers will have a hard job going through it. That will significantly hurt your search rankings.
Besides how content is posted on your website, certain web design elements can directly affect SEO. These include load speeds, mobile experience, and more. So, you need to ensure that your website design is good in order for search engines to deem your website SEO-friendly.
Back in the day, businesses treated their websites as mere online business cards. In other words, a company would have a website set up in place simply to let people know that they exist and will usually just offer brief descriptions about their business as well as contact information.
Nowadays, however, a website needs to be a complete experience. Users will do most, if not all, of their research about a business online before making any purchase. And website design will primarily reinforce the image of your company and brand. It’s basically the place where companies nurture their fresh leads in order to turn them into conversions.
15 common website design mistakes
Now that we’ve discussed some of the key points regarding the importance of having a good website design, let’s delve into some of the most common website design mistakes that every company should avoid.
Navigation is extremely important in the case of web design. That’s because, without it, your audience wouldn’t be able to find their way around your website. It can feel like a chore for some of them to make it to their preferred destination. That, in turn, can increase your bounce rates. The attention span of Internet users has long proven to be a short one. So, a bad design will stop you from capitalising on those mere minutes or even seconds that each user will give you.
Plus, your navigation should be tailored to the different devices that your website visitors might use. For instance, you don’t want to employ classic desktop-like navigation for the mobile version of your website.
Your website is missing a call to action
Your website can be well-designed to the point of getting enough traffic. However, you might have an issue where even though you’re getting lots of traffic, you’re not making any sales or sign-ups or downloads.
This can only mean two things: your call to action (CTA) is bad, or you’re completely missing one. What we recommend in this case is that you implement an explicit call to action. And that it appears multiple times throughout your website.
Additionally, make sure to make their customer journey very clear. They should be aware of what they have to do, which of course depends on what you want from them as a business.
Remember, the whole point of having a website is to incentivise people to stick around and perform whatever action brings you profit. In other words, you don’t want them getting distracted or led off somewhere else.
For this reason alone, you should avoid having your social media links somewhere obvious such as at the top of your page. Instead, have them set up at the bottom of your main page or simply exclude them from your contact page.
This way, users will have a distraction-free experience on your website and end up focusing on the more important matters such as buying a product, signing up or subscribing to your newsletter.
Website design mistakes: Having long load times
If your website takes too long to load, then you might want to reconsider your design choices. Google did some research back in 2018 and found that if a page’s load time goes from one second to 10 seconds, the chances of a mobile visitor bouncing increase by around 123%.
There are many ways which can help you to speed up your website, including:
One way of speeding up the load times of your website is optimising the images and videos. That especially applies to those on your home page. Nothing turns people off than a landing page with pictures and creatives that take too long to load. And even if these elements load quickly, the mere fact that they are not optimised will lead the page itself to load slower than usual.
Plugins and themes
Relying on sizeable plugins and themes can drastically slow down your site’s loading times. One way of going about this is using trusted plugins and themes only when they’re absolutely needed. Additionally, make sure to regularly update them to the latest versions to ensure that you’re getting the best possible speeds.
Not optimising your website for the mobile experience
Over the last few years, the mobile-friendliness of a site has become a crucial element in the overall state of a website. Tech giants such as Google have long urged web designers to put mobile first and desktop second whenever they make a website.
This is because people in Silicon Valley had realised that it wouldn’t be too long before mobiles dominated Internet traffic. In the fourth quarter of 2021, mobile devices generated 54.4% of global website traffic.
So, statistically speaking, more than half of your visitors expect you to deliver a decent experience on their mobile devices. As a result, making sure that you meet all of their expectations should be a top priority for you.
Website design mistakes: Your content is not clear or fresh
Most users who find themselves on a website with outdated content will probably assume that the company behind it is either irresponsible or out of business. Most users want to find useful, engaging, and most importantly, updated content on your website.
Not only does fresh content attract new users, but it also acts as an incentive for old users to come back to your website regularly.
Additionally, you want to make sure that your content is scannable. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should minimise the amount of content you create for your audience. Just rely on short and concise paragraphs, bullet points, cohesive sub-headings, and more.
Besides content, you want to ensure that your website contains the right details about your business, products, services, and more. For instance, regular people expect to easily find your business hours, for example, a bit of information so important yet often neglected by website moderators.
Using generic images
There are many websites on the Internet that rely on cheesy, generic stock photos. That can significantly hurt the performance of said websites. Why? You might wonder. Well, it is because generic and somewhat random stock photos can confuse users.
Original photos are excellent in this case. However, some businesses don’t have the time, resources or experience to create original photos.
If you happen to be the latter, then we recommend that you be very picky about which stock photos to use. Always make sure to use images that complement and add meaning to your content.
Your website is missing contact information
Visitors of your website must always have a way to reach you besides the website itself. And for this reason alone, you must include an easily accessible ‘Contact us’ page on your website. Easily accessible in this case means that the option to reach that page is always there, either at the header or footer of your pages.
Missing a FAQ Section
Even if your website includes all the information that a visitor would need, chances are, they will still have some questions. The easiest and most efficient way of addressing these is by including a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section.
This section can either be included in each product page or in a separate page covering more general questions about your business as a whole. We recommend that you include both if possible.
Website design mistakes: Ignoring metadata
For the purpose of search engine optimisation (SEO), every page of your website should have a title tag, meta description and more. Not only do these elements help you to rank higher on search engine results pages (SERP), but they can also be the cause for turning someone from a mere searcher to a visitor.
Having bad SEO
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is extremely important because, without it, your chances of ranking on Google’s search results pages are close to none.
Back in the day, SEO was basically a bunch of keywords, some content, and random backlinks. However, today, search engine algorithms have significantly evolved and become more demanding than ever.
In order to improve your chances of ranking higher, you should set the foundations of a good SEO the moment you create your website then continuously improve on it. How? Well, there are many strategies and tactics that you should follow, most of which you can find with a simple google search.
You’re using autoplay videos
Always keep in mind that users can visit your website at any time of the day and in any context. Because of this, avoid using embedded videos that are set to autoplay. After all, the visitor might be surrounded by sleeping family members, a quiet office, or anything else.
Besides that, many users can simply be annoyed by having their browsing experience randomly interrupted by a loud video. As a webmaster, you should avoid using anything that might get on the nerves of a potential customer. Autoplay videos are on top of the list.
Website design mistakes: Your website is not secure
Nowadays, if a website does not have a valid HTTPS certificate, then it is deemed unsafe by most modern browsers. The main job of HTTPS is to encrypt the data between your website and the visitor. That way, any bits of information shared between the two can stay out of the hands of hackers and such.
In addition to HTTPS, you want to make sure that every element in your website itself is safe and secure. One way of doing this is ensuring that you keep all your plugins, themes, and other components up to date.
Users who get a whiff of any shady behaviour on your website will immediately exist it in fear of their cyber security. So, you want to make sure that your website isn’t lacking at all in the department of security if you don’t want to lose any potential customers or pre-existing ones.
Not tracking your performance
Without tracking and analysing the performance of your website, how can you even know that your website is doing okay? Are you getting your money back? What’s your return on investment (ROI)?
One way of having a clear answer to most of these questions is by using Google Analytics. Here are some of the reasons why you should be using Google Analytics:
- It’s completely free
- You can see what people do when they visit your website
- You can see which corners of your website get the most attention
- Track the results of your marketing efforts (SEO, Ads, etc.)
Let our experts take care of your design needs
As a business owner, you’re probably focusing on driving new sales and getting new clients. That’s why website design tasks may seem like a waste of time for you, even though they aren’t. Luckily, you don’t have to do it alone. Just book a discovery call today, and one of our expert designers will get in touch to help you out.