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When a user visits your website for the first time, you have just a few seconds to make an impact on that user. If they don't like what they see, they're likely to leave your page within a few seconds.
So how can you make sure this doesn't happen to you? The key is to have great website design.
However, designing a good website is an art. There are often no clear-cut answers. For example, do you adhere to the latest website trends or do you try and make something more unique?
With website designs, there are many potential mistakes you could make. Many of these mistakes will make visitors instantly close out of your page. To help you out, here are 10 mistakes to avoid when making your website.
1. Too Much Going On
One of the biggest mistakes you'll see in amateur website design is either too much or too little going on. In the earlier days of the internet, this was much more of a problem, but you do still see a lot of website designs that are guilty of this flaw.
You need to be careful with your use of color, media, and text. When you have too many elements going on at once, or if you have hardly any elements on the page, it can make your users feel uncomfortable when looking at your site.
Certain design elements contribute to this problem more than others. For example, you might have animations or videos on your page.
With these kinds of things, you need to be very careful. Too many animations playing at once can quickly become incredibly distracting and make it difficult to even read any of the text on your site.
Just because you can animate things and embed videos doesn't necessarily mean that you should. Not only is this distracting, but it also looks incredibly amateur, and it will make your site take a longer time to load. Fast loading times are key if you want your site to be successful.
2. Lack of Core Information
This is another problem that's quite prevalent. You need to identify the information visitors to your site most want to see and you need to display that information in a clear and concise manner.
Let's say, for example, you're making a website for your restaurant. In this case, the vast majority of the users coming to your site want to see information like your opening times, phone number, or your menu.
If users can't immediately find this information, they're going to get frustrated. They might leave your site and may even take their business elsewhere.
This doesn't necessarily mean you can't have additional content such as blogs and videos. You just need to make sure your core information is immediately available.
Users should be able to find vital information within just a few seconds. If this isn't possible, you really should reconsider your design.
3. Lack of a Mobile Site
The days of being able to neglect mobile users are long gone. In fact, the numbers suggest that more users are accessing websites using mobile devices than ever before. These days, it's absolutely vital that you either have a site that works on mobile and desktop simultaneously, or you have a dedicated mobile site for your business.
If you have a dedicated mobile site, you should make sure your desktop site automatically redirects users there when they access the site on mobile. If you don't have a site that's optimized for mobile devices, your site will probably look horrendous to mobile users.
When accessing a non-mobile site on a phone, the links become tiny and impossible to click on, and sometimes, the text is totally unreadable unless you zoom in. If a mobile user comes to your site and finds it to be an unoptimized mess, they're probably not going to waste their time trying to navigate the site. They probably won't even bother booting up a PC or laptop to access the desktop version of the site.
Not having a good mobile page suggests that your company is unprofessional and it'll probably lead to potential customers taking their money elsewhere.
4. Website Design Takes Too Long to Load
The best-designed websites don't just look great, but they also load completely at incredible speeds. Studies suggest that users will quickly become discouraged and leave your site if it takes more than a few seconds to load. A site that loads slowly might suggest to the user the site is experiencing server problems, so they might choose to leave, thinking the site isn't functioning correctly.
While this issue is quite often caused by problems with the server, it can also be caused by poor design. For example, if you embed a lot of media into your page, it may cause your website to load much slower.
With that being said, your site doesn't necessarily have to be full of media elements for it to be slow. In some cases, a badly coded site can take a long time to load, while looking fairly normal on the frontend.
If you use “drag and drop” website builders, you can often end up having this problem. While these programs are easy to use, they result in long inefficient code which can leave you with a very slow website.
5. Your Site Has Bad Copy
Having good design is only half the battle when it comes to converting potential customers. If your site loads quickly and the design is on point, you then have to hook the customer even further.
Your site should have clear and engaging copy that's well written and to the point. Good copy needs to engage visitors without being too "salesy" or relying on cliches. For example, phrases such as “the best just got better” or “expect the unexpected” are incredibly played out.
When coming up with the copy for your site, you shouldn't cut any corners. In fact, you should consider working with a professional copywriter.
Good copy needs to hook the reader using only a few words. This is actually incredibly hard to do.
Many website owners accept they can't design the website themselves but then insist on trying to write their own copy. You could have a gorgeous website but you won't get very far with it if you don't also have great copy to go on it.
When putting words on your pages, you should also consider search engine optimization. This involves putting the right keywords on your site to make sure it appears when potential customers search on Google.
6. Your Site Has Excessive Ads
If there's one thing that'll make a user immediately close your page, it's excessive ads. Often, ads are animated elements; if you have two or three of these on a page at once, it quickly becomes too much. When there are multiple animations going off, it makes it very hard to actually focus on the core content of your page.
Ads can certainly help you to generate revenue through your site, but you need to be somewhat conservative about it. Not only does an excessive number of ads make it difficult to focus on the content, but it also suggests there might be a security issue with your site.
These days, the majority of web users have been conditioned to stay away from sites that are plastered in ads. Whenever you visit an ad-laden site, there's a good chance your antivirus is going to catch the site trying to run some sort of malicious code. Even if you run ads that are 100% benign, most visitors are just going to close out of your page.
Consider Ad Blockers
A lot of users these days have plugins installed, such as Adblock. When you use an add-on like this, it simply removes the majority of ads from a page.
As these ad-blocking plugins have become more popular, many sites have developed methods of detecting them. If you're an Adblock user, you have almost certainly come across websites that insist you turn it off before you can access the content.
Unless you're a very well-established site, having this sort of policy is generally a bad move. Sites like the Wall Street Journal might be able to get away with this, but no one is going to turn off their adblocker to go on a restaurant's website.
If you're going to display ads, make sure they're not too intrusive. You should also ensure they're appropriate for your site.
7. Unsecured Websites
It's vital that your website is properly secure and that you have all of the appropriate security certificates. When your site is secure, users will be greeted with the padlock icon when they access your site.
When your site is unsecured, on the other hand, they might receive a warning from their browser. Hardly anyone is going to risk their security by accessing an unsecured site, so it's absolutely essential that your site has all of its security credentials in order.
These days, you use always use HTTPS instead of HTTP. Google will label HTTP sites as unsecured.
8. Amateur Site Design
It's certainly possible for someone who doesn't really know what they're doing to come up with a good website design. On the other hand, it could also cause you a lot of problems.
If an inexperienced designer tries to actually code the website themselves, rather than use “drag and drop” software, they might create a site that adheres to some rather odd coding conventions. If you do bring in a professional at a later date, they might find the amateur coding incredibly difficult to work with.
Also, with amateur coding, there's a good chance you'll eventually break your site. If your website is written in code no one really understands, it might take a very long time to fix.
You might think you can get around a lack of coding knowledge by using drag and drop website building software. While this software is certainly user-friendly, it can often result in heavyweight code that'll slow down your site significantly.
If you want to have a well-designed website that's free from any loading issues, you should have the website written in proper code by somehow who knows what they're doing.
9. Bad Use of Color
The key to good design is an excellent use of color.
There are a number of rules surrounding color that superior design needs to adhere to. For example, you shouldn't use excessive amounts of color. If you use too much color, it'll instantly make your site look incredibly unprofessional.
For the best results, stick to a small tasteful palette of colors. Color is arguably one of the most important elements of design.
You should also make sure the colors are appropriate for the kind of business you're trying to advertise. If you are a high-class restaurant, you shouldn't use bright primary colors.
10. Out-of-Date Website
Whenever you run a website, you need to make sure you keep it up-to-date. This includes things like your core information, menu, and address.
Have you recently changed your phone number? Then it should be instantly reflected on the website. Having the wrong information up is unprofessional and it could easily cause you to lose customers.
You should also make sure any software or plugins you use on the site are kept up-to-date. This is because software that's not kept updated could cause a significant security issue. When developers patch their software, they don't just work on the functionality; they also fix holes in security.
Website Design Is an Art
As you can see, there are a lot of ways you can go wrong when designing a website. You need to display the right amount of information and make sure there isn't too much going on with the pages.
While amateur designers can certainly get good results, it's usually worth it to work with a professional website design company. Not only can the pros help you a great site, but they can also aid you with things like hosting the site and troubleshooting.
Need a website design soon? Then get in touch with us!