Designing websites is a form of art. No, I’m serious. You probably don’t think of it in that way, but when creating your site you are indulging in a creative practice. And like bad art, bad websites like this one can be truly painful to look at. Designing a good website is certainly hard, but there are also some pretty simple rules. Today, I’m going to take you through the most common mistakes that website designers make.
1. Too Much Content
People who come to your website generally know what they are looking for, so give it to them. If your users don’t understand your website because it is packed with content, they are going to leave. Not only that, but loading down your pages with content will affect your page speed, and therefore your traffic and conversion rates.
2. Too Little Content
That said, don’t go too far the other way. One of the consequences of the move towards “minimal” sites is that some are now just a white page with a single word on them. Don’t be long-winded, but a one-sentence description of your company or brand, small enough to be ignored once read, can help you to reach out to customers.
3. Too Confusing
Somewhere between too much and too little, but still bad, is the “confused site.” This is where there are dozens of images, nine different fonts, and four different colors—none of which seem to relate to each other. Chose one color, one font, and one image style for your brand and stick to it.
4. A Bad Call to Action
Your call to action (CTA) is where you sell your products. A banner, perhaps, saying “shop now.” You need to be clear about what you are asking your customers to do and where you want them to click. Packing three or four different CTAs on the same page is also a common mistake—stick to one CTA that directs your users where you need them.
5. Fonts and Space
My advice here would be simple: use one font, maximum two, and make sure they look professional. Your webpage should look as professional as your business cards, where you would never use comic sans. In addition, don’t crowd everything together. You have an entire page, so make sure each point you make has enough space to be read.
6. Ugly Images
Perhaps one of the worst mistakes is to use images that have been scaled incorrectly. I’m still amazed at the number of otherwise professional sites that use stretched images. Poor quality images not only makes the overall web page look bad, it makes you look highly unprofessional. Another common mistake is to use images that are far too large for the page in question. You might not notice on a fast connection, but needlessly high-res images can significantly slow down the page’s load time for visitors.
7. Poor Navigation
The most important part of designing a navigation system for your site is to have clear site architecture, with the pages your customers want only one click away. Once you have this, make sure there is a clear navigation box, so they can find what they want easily.
8. Directed At The Wrong Audience
Think about who you are designing your site for and design it accordingly. If you are after professional types, make it elegant and monochrome. If your products are aimed at teenagers, be a bit bolder. If you’ve been in business a while, you probably know how important it is to identify your target audience and speak to them directly. Your website should be no different.
9. No Contact Information
The “contact us” page of your site should be one click away at all times. A lot of potential customers are lost in result to companies hiding their contact information in a footer. A customer may have a simple question before they commit to a sale, and lack of accessible contact information could be what drives them to a competitor.
10. The Wrong Ads In The Wrong Places
Lastly, if you have ads on your site, make sure it is not undermining your brand. The wrong ad in the wrong place can make an otherwise well-designed site look really terrible. Equally, don’t load your pages with dozens of ads. No matter the amount of money you are making off of ads, you will soon see traffic and eventually ad revenue significantly decrease.