Your website is one of the most important, if not the most important part of marketing your business. Whether your site is there to sell products, services, resources, or provide information, it has to tick all the right boxes or visitors are not going to stay around for long. According to a peer-reviewed article published on Taylor & Francis Online, visitors will form an opinion of your website within 0.05 seconds. This is a shockingly low amount of time for the average person to visually judge your site and decide if they are going to stay or go. So, if you’re having to make a good impression in less time than it takes to blink, you’re going to need all the help you can with understanding what to do with your website. Or rather, what not to do.
What’s Causing My Site To Underperform?
There are several common web design mistakes that far too many companies make and lose out on revenue and attention because of them. Learn to avoid these same mistakes so you don’t end up with the same results. Let’s dive into all of the reasons why your website is probably not performing at its full potential.
Your Website Is Too Busy
Clutter on your website, especially your front page, is something that you must absolutely avoid. While you might want visitors to see as much information about your services as possible so you can let them know you have what they need, bombarding them with information, images, and other data will have the opposite effect. Too many visuals become like a loud noise that is overwhelming and unpleasant. In the end, the visitor can’t separate the graphics, texts, and menus, and they leave your site just so they can have a break. The aim is to present your company and its information, of course, but it doesn’t have to be cluttered or busy.
Your Website Lacks Any Substance
I’m sure you can see where this one is going… Just like there are negative consequences of too much going on, likewise, there are also consequences of not enough going on. Having too much whitespace and too many empty areas doesn’t give off the right impression either. Having these blank gaps looks odd and prompts the visitor to not take you seriously, after all, why isn’t there much information on your website? Are you being cryptic because you want to deceive your customers with a lack of information? Are you no longer in business and are in the process of removing your site? Are you not interested in investing money in a quality website, therefore, you’re not interested in providing quality goods or services? While it’s unlikely that the answers to these questions are true of you, it gives off the wrong impression immediately and will turn many people towards your competitors.
You Have Bad Calls to Action
Having CTAs on your website is essential for your business. Without them, you’ll have fewer inquiries, sales, requests for quotes, and so on. So, they must be clear and concise. You need the visitor to be able to see exactly what your CTA is and where it’ll take them. Keep it short with things such as “Get a Fast Quote”, “Schedule a Strategy Call”, “Get $50 Off Now”, etc. There doesn’t need to be anything fancy – no long sentences, no distracting graphics surrounding the CTA button, and absolutely no long forms for information. Don’t make your visitors work for your services, you need them more than they need you so make it as quick and easy as possible.
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Your Website’s Design Is Just Confusing
This design encompasses everything from the formatting of images, location of videos, color choices, page options, location of said pages, fonts, and themes. Some websites can, quite frankly, look a mess as they try to stand out with colors that clash, childish fonts, a theme that doesn’t match their business’ industry, images popping up everywhere, and pages that can’t be found. The second a visitor is greeted by anything that resembles a bright, in-your-face mess where they can’t even find something as simple as the About Us page, then they’re going to be gone. Your website should look professional, have an appropriate theme, pages that are clearly labeled and easy to find, a limit on the number of colors, and so on. You’re a professional so make sure your website represents this fact.
Your Utilizing Irrelevant Images
Your website will need images but they have to be the right ones. Every part of your website has a purpose, whether it’s information about what you do or your contact details, videos on what you provide, or images to highlight your business or goods in some way, they all have to have a purpose. Miscellaneous and random images are a big no-no. If you think you have too much white space and just need to fill a gap, just don’t. Find an alternative. Using stock images, for example, that are not there for a clearly defined reason will confuse your visitors and bring down the quality of your site.
Lack of Contact Information
You wouldn’t think it was possible that companies actually fail to put their contact information on their site, but they do. Or they don’t provide enough of it. Leaving just a phone number isn’t good enough. Leaving just an email isn’t good enough. Leaving only links to social media definitely isn’t good enough. Your customers want it all, and that’s what you need to give. Every site should have a Contact Us page. This page needs your phone number, and most importantly a concise contact form. The more options you give, the more people will be inclined to contact you. Some people can’t stand talking on the phone so if you only give them a phone number, they won’t use it. Some people aren’t able to easily navigate email and need a phone number, etc. Every visitor will have different preferences, and you need to make sure everyone is catered to so they can all contact you, not just a select few.
Your Navigation Is Broken
Since your website is going to be made up of multiple pages, you need to ensure your visitors can easily navigate their way around and switch from page to page when they want. If your menus are hidden, hard to find, or non-existent then you’re going to have a problem. When someone wants to find more information about your company or services and they can’t, they’re not going to waste time actively clicking around to find what they want. Search bars, menus, and other navigational functions must be clear and easy to use. Never forget that what you can’t give a potential customer, a different company can. With so many elements involved in the design and formatting of your website, we understand that menus are just another list of things for you to figure out and optimize for your visitors. To help you out with how you can design your perfect functional menu that will enhance the customer experience, check out this great blog post from Spin Crafting Digital for some helpful advice.
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Your Not Speaking To Your Audience
Every website will have a different feel because it is speaking to a different set of people. For example, you can’t compare the design of the website for shoes with one that sells cleaning services. Those are completely different products targeting an entirely different market. The design and layout of any site have to speak to the right audience. So, just because you love the look of the Nike Store doesn’t mean that look is going to fit your website if you’re selling window cleaning services. You need to have a clear idea about who your target audience is and what they expect to see when they click on your website. Know your audience or they will wonder what is going on with your company.
Your Images Are Not Optimized
Images on your site are going to take the most data, they are the part that is most likely to slow down your website so they must be optimized to prevent slow loading. As always, people are not willing to wait and if your images are stopping a page from loading quickly then this needs to be fixed immediately. The Creative Momentum has an excellent post on how to best optimize your images which you can find here. But for those who would like to know the basics, then we can tell you that you need to use the right file type according to image contents, you should adjust the image dimensions while maintaining quality, and always, always, always, compress your images – but, be careful not to lose the quality of the original image in the process.
Your Site Isn’t Using a 404 Page
A 404 error page doesn’t have to be boring. It doesn’t have to be a page with a simple error message that doesn’t lead anywhere. Instead, make the page something different – you know, kind of like how Google uses a dinosaur – it’s something small that people remember, and if you can get them to remember your website just because of your error page, then you’re really ahead of the game. You can use this page to link to another relevant page or display any information you want them to see. This is also a great opportunity to easily increase your SEO. Google hates broken links, but if you can get people to redirect from your 404 pages then this will help limit the negative markers for your SEO.
Your Content Is Out Of Date
For most websites, content is a large part. Whether that is information on services, contact information, company information, prices, blog posts, or any other content that your visitors see. Too many people make the mistake of putting all this information into their site then slowly forgetting about it. They don’t keep the information up to date, the blog posts become less frequent, and details about products and services are no longer relevant. When this happens, of course, people notice. If basic information is obviously wrong, then these visitors will feel like they can’t trust any of the information on there. If you have a blog that hasn’t been updated in several months, then it gives off the impression that your company is no longer operating like it once was. Keep all the content up to date so people can be assured that you give out correct details and you are very much still in business.
Now that we have ticked off all the common website design mistakes, you’ll be able to know exactly what not to do. None of the common mistakes are hard to avoid, they are all basic things that everyone can be aware of when designing their site that will make a huge difference. Ultimately, the better your website is the more visitors you attract, and the more money you make.