Developing an effective website lies on various design elements and factors. While different people have a different perception of what works and what doesn’t, it’s important to note the basic elements of an effective web design, and start to deviate from common mistakes that will greatly impact the overall presentation of your company website.
Here are eleven web design mistakes that can greatly affect your website’s performance:
1. No Call to Actions or Improper use of Calls to Action
Your company website is where you showcase your company profile, products, and services. It’s your online resume to the public designed to impress your target market. But did you know that Calls to Action are the most important part of your site and without them, your website won’t be as effective and marketable? By definition, a call to action allows for your customer to take action on your offer. Common examples include, “sign up,” “subscribe now,” and “join now.”
A good call to action may elicit the desired response from your visitor, but a great call to action can increase your conversion rates, improve sales inquiries, and achieve your website goals and objectives.
No call to action buttons is a mistake you don’t want to commit when designing your website. Without them, your customers won’t be able to know what to do with the information you have on your site. Do they need to sign up in order to buy from your online store? Do they need to subscribe in order to get copies of your article of the month? Failure to equip your site with these buttons can ruin your website.
It’s also important to note that equipping your site with a call to action buttons shouldn’t just end there. Improper use of these buttons can also be detrimental to your site.
Improper use of calls to actions:
- Placing these buttons, where no one can see them
- Using the same color of your website background and your buttons
- Wordy call to actions
- Vague, unclear use of language
- Too many call to actions on a single web page
- Linking your call to action on your homepage
Remember, your calls to action must be engaging and interactive to allow for a seamless transaction between your target market and your website.
2. Weak Website Copy
Have you ever visited a cool-looking website with great features, each design element complements each other out and then when you are about to read further for more information the whole site is equipped with LoremIpsum? A dummy text placeholder is a bit of a turn-off for online visitors. Because you want to engage your visitors to stay longer on your site, you need to provide them with a compelling website content that will hold their attention much longer.
Why is a compelling website copy important?
- Crafting an effective copy means that your company is smart, clever, and competent.
- An effective copy can make your customers act immediately on your offer.
- It can grab attention and can hold your online visitors for a longer time.
- It can simplify things. One great example is Trello. If you don’t know what it does, just read their header text. Notice how its copy can convey its functions without using technical words?
- An effective copy can also convey your message to the public in terms of what you stand for and your corporate identity.
Others may think that website copies are just chunks of words designed to make your website look professional. As business owners, it is important to note that content can either make or break your website.
Apart from Loremipsum, how would you know if your website is equipped with a weak copy?
- Cramming a lot of information in one sentence – your readers can only take in so much. Take it lightly and explain in simple manners. In the wise words of David Ogilvy, write the way you converse.
- Too much descriptive words – common mistake people often make is adding adjective or adverbs to absolute adjectives (words that don’t take superlative forms) such as unique, perfect, and complete. You can’t say uniquest or perfectest. Most people say highly unique or very unique. This constitutes as adding too many descriptive words. Unique is unique, and that’s it.
- Grammar. Because we are hardwired to judge others, crafting copies with grammatical errors will turn your website into a laughing stock for your online readers’ entertainment. Recommended tool for finding and fixing grammar mistakes: Grammarly.
While other components make up a bad copy, the above points are some of the major elements that can contribute to a poor website content.
3. Inconsistent Design
In website development, the first step is the design conceptualization. Understanding the purpose of the site and having a single concept will impact the overall layout of the website. Designers conduct a thorough research to ensure that each design element matches each other out. Notice how a homepage dictates the flow of the entire website. Designers start with the homepage design followed by the inner pages (about us, services, products, contact us) design. The reason for this is to avoid inconsistency while navigating the rest of the site.
Having an inconsistent design will confuse your visitors. While some designers tend to go overboard, it’s important not to lose touch of consistency. Designing every web page with a new concept will create a chaotic, unstructured web design layout as if your visitors suddenly entered another website.
4. Alignment and Measurement
In design, alignment and measurement are very important. Design elements such as a button or an image, if placed inconsistently throughout a web page will create an unbalanced design layout. Your online visitors don’t need to be an expert in Photoshop just to figure out that something is off on your site. Text alignment is also important. Chunks of paragraphs placed inconsistently throughout the site will create an off-balance effect as well.
It’s important to note, though, that alignment of design elements doesn’t necessarily mean that each text, each image, and each button have to be aligned altogether. Your goal as a designer must create a well-structured layout, and wherein each design element flow consistently together.
What is poor alignment and what is an effective alignment?
- Text alignment. We all favor texts that are justified, as it implies order. But in some cases, a justified paragraph may produce an inconsistent alignment, especially when words have to be stretched out just to keep the whole paragraph justified. For some, it’s better to align the text to the left side. Depending on how long the texts are, some texts work better if short, in a centrally aligned position.
- Image alignment. Images can be hard to align if the sizes are not the same. You can either put the image in between the paragraphs or you can carefully place them outside the content flow to give more focus on each photo. Poor image alignment can ruin your content flow, especially if you place them, wherein some of the words cut through the images or some of the images block some of your content.
- Background design. One of the hardest design elements to align, background images should work well with your website content as well as with your accompanying images. Poor background images can occur if your design doesn’t match your image and if your contents become hard to read because of improper background design. Some background images may block a word or two from your content causing an inconsistency in the overall layout of your site. It’s important to note that these elements should complement each other out to create a consistent web design flow.
5. Improper use of Typography
Almost all designers have an arsenal of typographies they work best at. Selecting fonts are one of the dauntless tasks any designer needs to spend time on to produce an effective web design. Understand that not all font styles will work on all occasions. Each font style has a specific occasion that can only be used for.
Below are some common font styles and how to use them appropriately:
- Helvetica. Designed in 1957, while big companies including Apple and BMW use this font style, Helvetica comes somewhat one of the overused font styles to this day. It’s versatile although overused, this font has lost its distinction in the world of typography.
- Papyrus. Commonly used in posters. Unfortunately, Papyrus is a font style that doesn’t exude professionalism and sophistication. It’s a cool design for a moment, but when you look at it, it becomes apparent that it doesn’t quite come as an authoritative font style.
- Comic Sans. It’s a cool-looking font, but not for corporate giants. Perhaps in a children’s book, it might work better, but not for big companies who seek power and authority. Comic Sans has a light ring to it. It’s a friendly font and has an inviting sense around it.
- Trajan. Somewhat similar to Papyrus, this font style has often been overused in movie posters. While it has a strong, powerful effect on the eyes, because it has been overused, it has lost its effect on people.
- Impact. Another overused font style, Impact has lost its simplicity. While it’s easy to read and an attention getter, the overall design layout of each letter becomes somewhat childish. It fails to exert a masculine touch.
Like most design element, research is important before venturing out into the unknown. If you are unsure of which font will work best on your site, conduct extensive research on font styles that will best represent your company.
6. Poor Navigation
One element of an effective website is having an excellent user interface with proper navigation. A website equipped with an excellent navigation system allows for a seamless interaction between users and the website.
Poor navigation system can include mystery meat navigation, hard to find search button placement, cluttered images and text all over the place, and complex design element that takes away the purpose of the entire website.
- Mystery Meat Navigation. Coined by Vincent Flanders, it refers to a navigation system that requires users to hover the mouse over a link that will only appear when the mouse touches it. It comes somewhat confusing for users because then they have to search all over the page just to find the links they need in order to move to another page.
- Hard to find the search button. Ideally, when users are looking for quick information on your site, their go-to-place is your search button. Placing this button in areas that are hard to find will result in poor navigation. Remember, online visitors won’t spend too much time on a site; if they can’t find what they are looking for, they will easily hit the back button.
- Cluttered images and texts. A messy website will scare off visitors right away. You can equip your site with too much information and cool images, but will automatically result in poor navigation as people will be confused where to go, what links to click on, and how to get to the next web page.
- Complex design. An awesome web design with cool animations and high-quality images don’t equate to an effective website. You may have an engaging graphics, but if web visitors can’t even find your contact us page, the overall design won’t be effective.
Understand that your users must be able to navigate through your site as smoothly as possible. Meaning they need to be able to go from one page to another without difficulty and must be able to understand what your company is all about.
7. Improper use of Color Scheme
While we all have our favored color combinations, it’s important to follow the principles of color scheme to effectively create a powerful web design impact on your target market. Understanding color psychology will greatly improve your website impact on your customers.
If for instance, your favorite color is red, ideally you would want your website to have a color red in it. But what if you are in an eco-friendly recycling industry that promotes tree planting? It’s highly unlikely that a red website will capture your target market as the red color doesn’t signify growth, nature, and harmony.
Note that every color has its meaning and impact on people and that men and women prefer different shades and tints of colors. While color scheme is one aspect of your design element, it’s an important factor that will greatly contribute to your site’s performance.
8. Broken Links
Nothing annoys a user more than clicking on a link only to find out a 404 page. You can design a 404 page as creatively as possible, but it won’t change your user’s initial mood when he first clicked on the broken link.
9. Unresponsive Design
In today’s technology, almost all successful websites are responsive. Because mobile users and smartphone owners are growing at a rapid rate, most websites are viewed on mobiles as opposed to desktop computers. Also, a responsive website responds to multiple devices, creating an excellent user experience.
Having an unresponsive web design can be detrimental to your site’s performance because if users have difficulty viewing your site on their smartphones, more than likely they will hit the back button and search for another website. Unresponsive design can also affect your rank in search engines. According to Google, sites that are responsive will be favored more by search engines as opposed to those that are not.
As a website owner, your number one goal is to create an excellent user experience. Failure to do so will lower your website performance and as a result will affect your conversion rates, the number of traffic, and sales inquiries.
10. Heavy animations, graphics, and images
The amount of time it takes for your website to load relies on how heavy your images, graphics, and animations are. While it’s cool to equip your site with cool-looking, high definition photos, and animations, it is important to note that your website speed will affect how users can interact with your website.
11. Poor On-page SEO
On-page SEO are factors that contribute to your site’s ranking using only internal sources of your website, such as content relevancy, website speed, image descriptions, and proper navigation.
Having a poor on-page SEO can ruin your site’s performance. Without relevant content, search engines won’t have enough reason to include your site on top pages of Google, without proper image description, your images will have a small chance of appearing in search engines, and with slow website speed, your users will immediately hit the back button and leave your site.
Website Design Elements Can Make or Break Your Business Website
All these are important design elements that can make or break your website. While there are other factors to consider, most items in this list cover the basic elements that will affect the overall layout of your website. It’s essential to note that these components will only work in the presence of each other.
For example, you can have an excellent website layout with cool graphics and photos, but with a LoremIpsum content, your website performance will drop dramatically. These components are interrelated and will only work if each component balances each other out.
What other factors can you think of that will ruin a website performance? Comment your thoughts and suggestion below!