Your website is more than just the place where you sell your products or connect with your customers. Your website is the flagship for your brand, your brand’s place to call home. Ask any of the nearly five billion people worldwide who are active internet users: what your website looks like is important to how well your business does.
This means that your site must be at the top of its game on all fronts.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of moving parts, design decisions, and aesthetic concerns that have to be taken into consideration. And sometimes, web designers miss out on some really glaring errors. So here are ten of the biggest mistakes to avoid with your website this year.
After all, forewarned is forearmed. Knowing what weak points to pay attention to can ensure that your website is doing your brand justice.
Speaking of branding, it’s a big concern for your site. One of the biggest problems that a site can have is not identifying itself correctly, right off the bat. Your visitor needs to be sure of where they are, before they can even start to process the benefit your site can offer.
Important identifying factors include use of attractive e-commerce logos (commonly placed in the top left corner), adherence to branding style guides, and clearly branded visual content.
Badly Written Content
The content itself is another big concern. Not having enough of it makes your site look empty. But you can’t just stick a bunch of cobbled-together blog posts on there and call it a day.
Common content errors include:
- Lack of fact-checking
- Inappropriate wording (such as being too informal on a business site)
- Articles that don’t catch or keep attention
- Information that is poorly written or downright nonsensical
- Stolen or plagiarized content
These issues often pop up with the cheaper content-creation services, so it’s important that quality control is practiced with each and every piece of content before it goes up on the website.
Design Is Too Busy
Simplicity is often the name of the game with web design, and there’s a reason for it: it works. Adding too many elements into the design of your site can distract the visitor, and even overwhelm them.
It’s important that there be allowances for negative space, giving the individual elements a chance to shine.
Design Is Not Busy Enough
On the other hand, your site can have the opposite, but equally embarrassing problem: looking like a deserted wasteland. If a visitor comes to your site and is confronted with a blank or nearly-blank page, they will often assume that the site just isn’t loading correctly, and that they are missing out on important information.
Whether your vacant site is a deliberate aesthetic choice or simply the result of not having enough content created to fill it correctly, make sure to keep your balance and address those concerns before the site goes live, in order to save your visitors a lot of frustration.
Not Mobile Friendly
Speaking of frustration, did you know that some two billion people do their internet surfing via a mobile phone? And yet, the majority of business websites, especially for small businesses, are not mobile optimized or responsively designed.
The 40% of internet users, meanwhile, will go back and click on a different result if their first choice is not optimized for mobile use. 40% is far too large a percentage of potential customers to lose to simply not making your site responsive.
Loads Too Slowly
Again, on the topic of frustration, a slow load time is another big no. Statistics indicate that 47% to 53% of internet users expect a page to load in less than two seconds, depending on how they are accessing it.
Sure, that’s fast, and it can be difficult to optimize your site to cut down on load time. But keep in mind that the page loading time also plays into bounce rate and ultimately search engine ranking. So it’s worth the time and attention to keep your pages loading swiftly.
Poor Font Choices
Another “aesthetic” concern is really about more than just visual appeal: your choice of fonts. This is an important consideration, because you may have the most well-written, entertaining, engaging content of all time, but it won’t matter a bit if no one can read it.
Don’t make your font choices based purely on the aesthetics or tone of the font. Legibility, sizing, color choice, and even font hierarchy should all come before pure visual appeal.
Doesn’t Adhere To Web Accessibility Guidelines
In the world of today, there’s no room for discrimination against anyone, for any reason. That plays into how accessible your website is, too. You don’t want to run the risk of alienating or excluding a single individual, for any reason, who visits your site.
The Web Accessibility Guidelines were created to help web designers to ensure that their pages were accessible to all. They cover everything from fonts to backgrounds, including shape, size, color, and other determining factors.
Your layout is one of the first things that is noted when a visitor comes to your site, whether they know it or not. How you design your layout dictates what the visitor looks at first, how they browse the site, influences their engagement and investment, and makes sure they get what they need.
A poorly laid out site, on the other hand, obscures the path that the visitor should take. The elements may be crowded together, individual elements may not load at the same time, the navigation may be tricky or even impossible to use — the layout of your site can either make for a great user experience, or an interface that is frustrating to everyone concerned.
Important Information Is Difficult To Find
Designing a site is no time to be coy. More than 60% of visitors to a business website expect to see contact information for the brand; and more than 40% will leave without any further engagement if they can’t find it.
But that’s not the only aspect of important information that you want to make readily available.
Don’t hide any important elements from your visitor. These important elements include:
- Workable navigation that makes sense and is easy to use
- Product information
- On-site customer service, via chatbot or live agent
- Contact information, including email, phone, social media, etc.
Your visitors come to your site with a goal in mind. How you design the site can either make it easy for them to achieve that goal — or incredibly difficult.
The success of your site is directly tied to the success of the visitor in using the site. With these ten areas to keep an eye out for, your chances of success are vastly increased.