Designing an effective website
Your website design is a significant element of your brand, and it has been proven that your online presence is a powerful tool for driving sales and brand recognition. Moreover, it stands to reason that paying close attention to the details of your web design will help you avoid some costly mistakes.
An effective website will provide the following:
- Consistent traffic composed of interested clients and customers
- An intuitive and friendly user experience
- And, ultimately, a steady sales flow!
We will lay out five of the top website design mistakes to avoid below. However, before we get to the details, we want you to ask yourself a few foundational questions:
- What are the standout goals of the website?
- Who is your target audience (clients & customers)?
- What is the primary action you want people to take on your website?
- How do people find your website?
If you are not starting from scratch but already have an established website, review the questions above to set a framework for your website refresh, then read on to find out what website design mistakes to avoid. Having a plan saves time and money!
Website Design Mistake #1
Missing a clear call-to-action
Across the industry, one of the biggest web design mistakes we see in small businesses is missing a clear call to action. A call to action should tell a website visitor:
- What to do
- Where to go next
- How to find answers and information
- Who to contact
Your website should have one main goal for your visitors to accomplish. This action might be asking for more information, purchasing a product, or reading a blog post. Regardless of your objective, your website should have a call to action that consistently leads people strategically through your website.
What is a call to action?
A call to action tells people the next step to take when they visit your website. After describing your product or service, use a persuasive command to inspire your audience to take the next step.
- Get Started Now
- Add to Cart
- Buy Now
- Contact Us
- Sign Up Here
Pro Tip: Using “My” instead of “Your” on call to action buttons can increase your engagement up to 25%!
Website Design Mistake #2
Site is slow to load
Site speed is vital for keeping your website visitors happy, and it improves your search engine ranking. People will bounce when your site loads slowly; they will click away from your website and find their information elsewhere. The excellent news about website speed is that it is a simple fix!
Bounce Rate is the number of visitors who leave a webpage without taking action, such as following a link or clicking a button.
First, we like to do “the eyeball test.” Sure, there are many options for testing your website’s speed, but the results produced by those programs are typically less-than-accurate. What matters most is the user’s experience! So, put yourself in your best client’s shoes and navigate your site.
Keys to a successful “eyeball test”:
- Visit your site using several different browsers. Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, and Apple Safari are typical browsers. Note any changes in load speed between the different applications.
- Navigate through your site on various mobile devices: smart phone, tablet, smart watch. Note: Site speeds WILL be slower on mobile devices!
- Take note of where the hang-ups are, which pages load more slowly than others, and which (if any) photos and videos fail to load, then take steps to improve the response time.
Pro Tip: We recommend Siteground for your site hosting needs because of its fast response times, reliable environments, and stellar reputation.
Website Design Mistake #3
Site is not designed for mobile
According to a study by CNBC, two billion people only connect to the internet from their smartphones. By 2025, that number is anticipated to jump to 72.5%. As a result, your site must be mobile-friendly to remain relevant in the ever-changing internet space!
What happens if your website is not designed for mobile devices?
- Screen size will be hard to navigate
- Menus may not drop down appropriately
- Google will rank your site lower
- Users will likely leave in frustration
We recommend designing a mobile-first site.
- Think small… in terms of screen size, that is! Be sure your site is sleek, and avoid designing widget-heavy pages. The speed at which your site loads determines how long your visitor stays – see Mistake #2 again!
- Take away excess clutter that will crowd out the key call-to-action you want your audience to take.
- Test, test, test! The Responsive Test Tool is our favorite tool to view our web designs on multiple devices. Give it a try!
- Choose responsive themes and plugins
We now live in a mobile-first world. Mobile optimization can’t wait!
Website Design Mistake #4
Images are not optimized
Sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know. And optimizing your images for the best website viewing may be one of those website design mistakes that slips under your radar. We are here to help!
When you upload a photo or image to your site without checking its size first, you risk burdening your website with large format media, slowing down your site load speed (see Mistake #2!) Conversely, you may use images with low resolution, creating a visual that is both blurry and grainy. Luckily, this kind of mistake has a simple fix!
What is Image Optimization?
Image optimization is the process of saving and presenting images in the smallest file size possible without reducing the picture’s overall quality. In particular, image optimization affects how a website looks and behaves, and users will enjoy a better browsing experience when done well.
Our favorite way to optimize images is to use Photoshop. Here is an excellent tutorial for you to follow if you need assistance!
Pro Tip: Image optimization also involves accurately labeling your website’s images so search engines can find and understand your page content, a key for improving your SEO rankings. Alt text is the copy that appears in place of an image on a webpage if the image fails to load on a user’s screen.
Website Design Mistake #5
Website design is inconsistent
There are not many things as confusing as visiting a website with inconsistent navigation, fonts, colors, and branding! You may think it’s ok to change things up a bit to make it “look better,” but in reality, consistency makes a more friendly user experience.
What makes a website consistent?
A consistent design means that common user elements (company logo, site navigation, page content, etc.) appear in the same place throughout the website. Additionally, users who visit your website know where common elements are likely to be found on the page. It also reinforces your brand identity.
- Are you using the same color scheme and fonts throughout the website?
- Is there consistent horizontal and vertical spacing between the elements in your page layout?
- Are headings consistent throughout the site?
- Are text links the same color everywhere?
- Do your website icons look the same?
Is it ever ok to be inconsistent? Yes, within reason! Breaking the rules of consistency can have its benefits – so long as you don’t do it too often. If something stands out, it will draw people’s attention. Some web designers use this trick to highlight valuable information. Remember to keep inconsistencies few and far between!
From designating a clear call to action to ensuring that your website design is consistent, you can avoid these five common web design mistakes. Accordingly, these essential details can make or break your company’s sense of identity and web design consistency. If you are looking for more tips and tricks to upgrade your website, here’s how we can help!