A website is not just a tool of business, it’s the face you offer the world. When your website design fails to impress, it can reflect poorly on your brand or organisation.
When it comes to your website design, you want everything to be perfect. It sets the tone for your brand. It highlights what makes you different, and it invites viewers to take the next step with you.
But sometimes, simple mistakes are made without even realising it. Once you have a website up, there’s nothing else that reflects your brand quite like it does. A website is an extension of who you are, so mistakes can hurt more than just your image – they can hurt your business!
While many website owners typically always think about technical issues, such as bandwidth consumption or server downtime, there are other things that are often overlooked.
If you’re about to design or redesign your website, or just launched one, it’s time to double-check that you haven’t made any of these 15 mistakes often repeated by small and medium-sized businesses.
Too Many Font Types & Styles
Your website’s font is as crucial as your brand logo. It’s one of the first things your potential customers see when they enter your website. You don’t want to overwhelm them or have them wonder about what you’re trying to say, so choose simple and minimal number of font types and styles.
We recommend a font family with sans serif characters – and just 2 to 3 complimentary font styles and sizes for consistency.
Sans serif fonts are generally considered easier to read at small text sizes than serif fonts, though some typefaces have more graceful serifs than others. Those with bracketed serifs are often easier to read because the ends of the strokes are more rounded.
The more different font types you use, the less professional-looking your website will be. Having too many font styles is even more confusing than font families with too many choices.
Navigation & Usability Issues
Only few website designers tend to pay attention to the site navigation and how it affects website conversion rate.
The truth is people visiting a website look for streamlined navigation so they can quickly find what they are looking for. Visitors don’t care how beautiful your website is, they care about finding what they need quickly. So, if your website fails to deliver this, you will inevitably lose sales, leads and most importantly…repeat business.
Navigation is the backbone of any site. It is crucial to make it easy for your audience to move about your site; otherwise, they will quickly get lost or frustrated and leave.
A site that’s difficult to navigate is almost always one that loses visitors rather quickly. So, should aim for visitor convenience above all else when building your website, even if it means sacrificing content in favour of quick navigation.
Not Mobile Responsive
According to analytics by the Statista website, approximately half of global web traffic is driven by mobile (smartphones).
The first quarter of 2021 saw mobile devices (excluding tablets) generate over 54 per cent of global website traffic, which has consistently hovered around 50 per cent since the beginning of 2017. This means you’re losing money if your website is not mobile-friendly.
If you want your website to be accessible from different mobile devices, you have to make sure that it’s responsive. Responsive means that your website is going to automatically and perfectly adjust itself to the screen size of the device the user or visitor is viewing it from.
This is an important feature to incorporate because it improves the user experience, reduces bounce rate and boosts visitors conversion
No Visible Logo or Brand Identity
When a visitor first lands on your website, you want them to know that they’re in the right place. They won’t feel confident if there is no visible and clearly recognisable logo or branding.
The absence of a well-designed logo or brand identity on any website diminishes its professionalism and can give your customers a flimsy impression of your company.
Make sure to have a recognisable and consistent logo on every page of your website, as this not only provides a clear brand identity but also tells people that your organisation is responsible and sophisticated.
Not Properly Contrasting Texts With Image Background
One of the most common website design mistakes is not properly contrasting your site’s text with image backgrounds. When you’re designing a website, your main priority should be readability. If colours are too similar to one another, it can make your site difficult to read.
Your business website may look fantastic with all your images showing off your products. But if the text is too light or too dark, hard to read, or cannot be seen at all because it’s blended into the background colour, then it doesn’t matter how beautiful your website looks. Visitors will click away because they’re unable to find the information they need quickly.
It’s fundamental that your visitors can read your content without having to strain their eyes.
Poor Loading Time
Your customers are busy people with a lot on their minds. Keeping them engaged requires a fast, responsive website that makes every attempt to anticipate visitors’ needs and inclinations.
A study by Forrester states that nearly 1/4th of the customers stick to a website if it’s fast and more than half leave if the website takes more than 3 seconds to load. This is primarily because consumer behaviour, especially for online shoppers, has changed dramatically in recent years.
Nowadays, customers rely heavily on search engines and social media networks to seek information and shop for products, and they expect their shopping experience to be seamless and frictionless.
Using simple tools and applications, however, can improve site rankings and traffic. As an example, “Page Speed Insight” offered by Google and “Pingdom Page Speed” offered by Pingdom can help.
Undefined or Poor Brand Messaging
Now, what does messaging have to do with website design? A lot! If you think about it, your website is basically a giant billboard for your brand. A proven and consistent messaging strategy leads to stronger branding for businesses, efficient marketing/advertising tactics, and a direct increase in conversions.
As a website designer, you need to be thinking about your brand message long before the first pixels are designed or coded. It’s not just about visual messaging, but also copy messaging.
The goal is to create communications that are compelling to your audience and that connect with them emotionally. What’s the point in sounding like every other company out there with generic messaging?
Your brand message has to derive from your beliefs and values in order to stand out. That’s what makes you unique.
Remember that customers don’t have the same frame of reference that you do when it comes to your business. They may have never heard of your industry terms or even the product you are selling. As a result, if your web design lacks clear messaging, customers can become confused or frustrated.
Don’t talk too much about yourself, but instead focus on solving the pain points of your audience. It’s a conversation that leads to stronger trust, which results in more sales.
Thin or Duplicate Content
Thin content pages are pages with very little text on them. And using duplicate content on their websites is one of the most surprising mistakes small businesses make today.
These types of websites do not convey much information to search engines and most often they aren’t indexed or shown in the SERPs or placed near the top of search SERPs.
If the content on your site is thin or cloned, you will likely experience issues with your website SEO and possibly even a penalty from Google.
Poor grammar not only affects your company’s reputation, it also affects your brand by reducing trust.
In fact, 84 per cent of buyers have stopped doing business with a company based solely on its grammatical mistakes in their promotional materials. Poor grammar can greatly undermine the trust your customers have placed in you to provide competent service.
Observers might wonder how a company can provide quality service if they can’t polish basic things like grammar?
No Clear Call to Action
People visit your website to take some kind of action. Whether it be for immediate gratification (buying something) or to learn more about your product/service so they can make a decision down the line.
Regardless, you should always include a “call to action” either above the fold or below to nudge them in the right direction. Sometimes visitors need help making that critical decision on What to do, Where to go or How to feel – next.
What is a call to action?
A call to action *CTA) prompts the reader to take action on your site. It then presents a clickable link or button that triggers the desired action, which might then lead to conversion.
Keep in mind the value you are providing your audience. Pay close attention to how your content can be of benefit to them. And most importantly, present the information with clarity and brevity.
Wording a call to action doesn’t need to be creative. Keep it short and simple. Make it clear what the user needs to do.
A good website CTA includes:
- Buy Now
- Get Started
- Add to Cart
- Learn More
- Contact Us Today
- Subscribe Now
- Yes, Sign Me Up
No Site Performance Report/Analytics
Site performance reports and analytics are crucial tools to be well informed about the health of your website. Analytics provides you metrics like volume of traffic, highest traffic sources, search keywords, conversion rates and more.
A website performance report will provide you visual data like page load speeds and also server response times. You may think that a few extra milliseconds in page speed don’t matter a lot but the truth is a 2-3 second increase in load speed can result in a 7% decrease in conversions!
Unless you know how your website is performing and meeting up — or failing to meet up — with your digital marketing goals, you won’t be able to pinpoint where problems might be and improve results. Ignoring this kind of analysis will only hurt your long-term success.
We use and highly recommend MonsterInsights for your website’s Google Analytics and all the website performance key stats you need right inside your dashboard.
Little or No Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
One of the most important elements in the design of your website is SEO, and perhaps one of the easiest to overlook. The truth is that you can have a flawless website design; however, if your SEO is terrible, the front end will receive very little traffic and there won’t be any leads generated.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of structuring, organising, and presenting content in a way that search engines can easily read and index. It’s important because it helps ensure that your valuable content is found well by the people it is targeted at.
Search engines find great content organically because it provides exceptional value. There’s no magic wand for ranking high in search engines, however, stuffing keywords, publishing thin content, and trying to get backlinks by any means necessary are classic SEO mistakes.
If you were still relying on these techniques, then you’re hurting your brand’s search rankings and actively losing viewers. Google algorithms have evolved to be much smarter than that, and now value a site based on a variety of factors.
The following are the most important things to focus on for search engine optimization:
Focus on long-tail keywords & long-form content
Long-tail keywords are related to topics people search for – but not just one main phrase and longer than a few words.
For example: You run a local business that provides landscaping services to your area. You are unable to outrank bigger companies for terms like “landscaping”. However, you are able to rank for terms like “landscaping in Lagos”. This is known as a long-tail keyword.
Long-form content, on the other hand, is web content that has 1,000 words or more of data and information for users–so it’s more than a quick read.
Publish quality and users benefit-driven blog posts regularly & drive social engagement
Keeping your website updated with new and unique content is an excellent way to improve SEO and drive traffic. It is important to create blog posts with high value and benefit to the site visitor, as well as frequently update this content so that search engines crawl your website more often.
It is also wise to push the content through social media channels to create a rabid fan base who will help spread the word about your new content across various networks.
No Social Proof
People are more likely to buy from you if they see that other respected customers have done so.
There are many different strategies you can embrace to establish social proof. The easiest way is to have positive reviews of your products or services on your website. Testimonials, case studies, and success stories are some of the top strategies you should be taking advantage of right now. Reviews are also helpful for getting new customers.
The following are some ways you can present social proof on your website:
- Customers testimonials/reviews and ratings
- Logos displays of clients you’ve successfully completed work for
- Third-party video testimonials
- Trust symbols like industry certifications and security seals
- Display of social media likes and shares on social media
- Regulatory body endorsements and recommendations
- Publication of successful, results-driven case studies.
Broken links on your website give the impression to visitors that you haven’t kept your site up-to-date, which can reflect poorly on your business. Broken links are also bad for SEO, as search engines might not be able to crawl your website properly through broken links.
A number of free broken link checkers are available online. You should run a monthly or bi-weekly report to keep track of any broken links on your site and fix them.
Why do links break? Several factors can lead to this:
- You may have entered the URL incorrectly.
- The page may have been removed.
- There’s a chance that the URL to that page has been changed. This is why it’s crucial to properly publish your blog post URLs from the beginning.
A favicon is the tiny icon associated with your website that appears next to the URL in your browser’s address bar.
Favicons are like the brand logo of the internet, therefore leaving them out of your website is like having a business card missing your company logo; it comes across as unprofessional and reduces brand trust.
Your website will use a default, generic favicon if you fail to upload a custom one – and this can demarket your brand online.
Website design is perhaps the most important factor when it comes to business success online. Friendly, professional-looking websites like the ones designed by NaijaCopy are typically more persuasive, which means they are extremely likely to convert visitors into buyers.
We create modern websites that use white space, large headers, and bold text to grab the reader’s attention and convey a powerful personality. Our designers also use a creative and minimalistic blend of the brand’s colour schemes to create a feeling of ease and comfort.
If your website addresses a particular industry or audience, we make sure to incorporate colours that seem natural to that type of market to further help you accomplish this goal while establishing a professional image.
You can make or break your business based on the design of your website. Making sure you don’t make these basic web design mistakes will make your customers’ experience better, and eventually to more sales, a better ranking, and a stronger brand image.