It’s easy for companies to rush websites. Why? Because crafting a searchable, readable, and enjoyable website takes time and money. Making a quality website is, of course, one of the best ways for you to boost your company’s online reputation and traffic. Instead of investigating techniques for making the perfect site, here are 13 common mistakes in Web design you have most likely already made:
One of the biggest turnoffs for site visitors is not being able to tell what the point of a website is. This is often linked to poorly aligned marketing strategies like “Click here for cheap bank loans” links that direct Web users to a landing page selling computer parts. A site’s purpose needs to be up front and personal, which leads to the next point…
The content on a site needs to reinforce its purpose. Having big blocks of text, PDF files, and tacky content is a great way to encourage visitors to close out of a browser. Instead, focus on 21st century style by making everything sleek and streamlined. It is easy to underdo it, though, but that problem is easily fixed by…
You want your page visitors to be able to find everything they need with easy-to-use and intuitive navigation bars. Don’t get all flashy by adding images and sound to them; instead, focus on building navigation bars that are simple and to the point.
Among the most common mistakes in Web design, overall flow is a major concern. You want your site to read like a book. They show up to a homepage (i.e. the cover), learn more by reading on, and can skip between chapters with simple clicks of a mouse. Prioritize information you want to share by putting what is most important up front and in the middle.
Do not — do not — put dozens of big pictures, videos, sounds, and complicated flash features on a homepage. People do not like to wait until a site is fully loaded before browsing. Cut back on the complex and deliver something simple and intuitive.
From bad anchors to fossilized website features, it isn’t easy to make a site cohesive. Make sure that the homepage link goes back to the homepage from every other page. The same goes for other links, too. Also, it is important for a site’s navigation bars and resolution to be standard on every page.
Speaking of resolution, it is never good to have a site that forces users to scroll horizontally. Make sure your website designers are using standard screen resolutions (1024 x 768) that apply to all browsers and mobile devices.
A number of common mistakes in Web design have to do with mobile browsing. A large portion of all searches done every day are from smartphones and tablets. Does your site look how it is supposed to on these devices? It needs to. Mobile searching is up, and if you’re behind the trend, then your website is a waste of virtual space.
Search engine optimization, in terms of mobile and desktop browsing, is still important. This influences how well a site ranks on Google and other search engines. The most crucial thing to keep in mind is that overdoing it is more dangerous than anything. Google loves to penalize sites with excessive keywords and SEO — don’t give it the chance.
Every user should take something away from visiting a website. Is it a free newsletter? Information on how to increase marketing? In-depth knowledge on a product or process? Whatever it is, your site needs to inform and educate.
Your site is not an ad. Instead, use your pages to educate your visitors on what you do and who you are. Have links to product/service-specific pages with all the advertorial content.
Every site needs a masthead, a contact page, a FAQ section, and an “about us.” These are expected and easy to create.
You don’t want your site to be like everyone else’s sites. Differentiate yourself and try new things; you can always go back. There are dozens of other common mistakes in Web design, but know that avoiding the problems is better than falling for them.
(Is your website hitting the mark? / shutterstock)