Designing and developing a website isn't as easy as it sounds.
We've encountered many business owners who want a website for the sake of having one - kind of like a modern version of being on the Yellow Pages, but online. They just want a website that looks good and lists down ALL their company information (sometimes even too much information).
But there's more to website design than just making it look good. A good website should be functional, providing the user with smooth and easy experience, in order to maximize it's potential in bringing in leads or conversions.
If not done properly, a website's design can make it difficult for customers to navigate and find what they need, which will result in drop outs.
Let's take a look at what to avoid.
1. Unresponsive design
A responsive web design means that the site's layout changes depending on the screen size or device used to view the site.
2. No favicon
A favicon makes it easier for users who may have multiple tabs open at one time by allowing them to easily find and return to your tab.
3. Unclear fonts
This can include cursive fonts, fonts that are too small / thin / narrow / tight, or fonts with colours that blend into the background. Using too many font variations is another thing to avoid as it distracts users from focusing on the message you want to convey. We recommend using FontPair to decide which fonts you'd like to use for your site.
4. Too creative or complex
While being creative and standing out is important, it's also important to ensure that your site follows a simple and clear design that's easy for users to understand. Never sacrifice usability for creativity. These rain boots by Katerina Kamprani perfectly illustrates our point.
5. Poor use of white space
Whitespace means the empty spaces in your design that's not necessarily white. It improves readability, clarity, and attention. It breaks up your content into more digestible sizes. Here's an example we love.
6. Cheesy stock photos
Images used on your website should help communicate your message. Using bad stock photos can make your website look cheap. One example of a bad stock photo which we've seen across many sites is the use of an all-American team photo when the company is clearly Asian. If you don't have an original team photo, it's best not to use one at all or risk losing credibility.
7. Poor image quality & scale
Even if your photos are original, they're useless if they're ugly or irrelevant. Invest in getting good quality photos of your business that you can use across your marketing initiatives. Be sure they're not too small to be seen clearly on screen (desktop / mobile). Stretched photos will also make your site look cheap.
8. Not customer-centric
It's common for many marketers or business owners to want to put as much information as possible about their company on their website. But much of this information might be useless to your visitors. Your website content should focus on your visitor's needs (problems, goals and desires, solutions) if you want to maximize conversion.
9. Longer isn't always better
Visitors lose interest if you information is too long to read. This doesn't necessarily mean you need to cut back on information. It just needs to be presented in a way that's easier and faster to read and understand.
Use short paragraphs
Use bullet points or numbered lists
Use bold, italic, highlights or underline to emphasize something
Pages that require endless scrolling is also a bad idea. Break them up into multiple pages or sections.
10. Poor grammar
Unfortunately, bad grammar creates a bad first impression and reduces your brand credibility. Always check your content for errors, or get a copywriter that can help tailor your content for your audience.
11. Lacks useful information
How to determine what's useful? Just ask yourself if the information is something your visitor needs, and whether it answers their questions. For example, does your e-commerce site have a FAQ on shipping, refunds, and exchanges? What makes you different from competitors? How can customers contact you? Where are your stores located?
12. Outdated or wrong contact details
All your work will be for nothing if visitors can't even contact you!
13. No call-to-action (CTA)
What do you want your visitors to do? Contact you? Purchase something? Subscribe to your newsletter? Make sure your CTA is clear so users know what to do next.
14. Jargon everywhere
Stop confusing visitors will complex words and vocabulary. Use words that your target audience can understand quickly.
15. Slow loading time
The slower your site loads, the less likely your visitors are going to stay and wait. According to Google, the optimum time is 3 seconds and below to keep visitors interested. Page speed also affects your Google rankings.
16. Wrongly linked or unlinked pages and buttons
This can cause visitors to leave the site instantly, so be sure to check, check, and check again! Links that link to error pages also affect web performance and ranking.
17. No SEO
When thinking about your website content, it's important to consider SEO from the beginning. Include keywords throughout your website to improve discoverability of your site, and improve search engine rankings.
18. Too many ads
While it's fine to allow ads on your site for a secondary ad revenue, make sure they don't appear in the wrong places or flood your content, affecting site usability. Too many will distract your visitors from focusing on your message.
There's a lot more that needs to be considered when building a website, but this should have you covered for a robust enough website that'll help maximize your business potential. Remember to keep your customers in mind when building your site.
If you're not confident in building your own site, you could always hire a freelancer or agency to help you build one. Just be a little wary with who you work with, and make sure your contact is someone who can be trusted and is reliable.