These days, a website is essential for a company’s success; it’s nearly impossible to survive without one. But that doesn’t mean you can just toss something up on the web and call it a day.
Bad web design is almost as dangerous as no website at all. There are billions of websites; if yours isn’t appealing to your target audience, they’ll simply find what they need somewhere else.
Here are the top six mistakes that often cause bad web design.
Mistake #1: Your Site Doesn’t Have Personality
For many prospective customers, your website offers the first impression of your business. What does it say about you? Does it say you are vivacious, innovative, professional, experienced and knowledgeable?
Or does it say you are boring, outdated, and indistinguishable from everyone else in your industry?
Bad web design results from a lack of effort and a failure to recognize the target audience.
You can’t simply purchase a WordPress theme, add your content and walk away. Even the most generic WordPress themes offer the chance to customize your site. Take advantage of that!
If you don’t have the skills or desire to add the necessary personality to your site, talk to a professional. Our Clearwater web designer would be happy to help!
You’ll also need to have a firm understanding of your target audience and what that audience is looking for. Otherwise, your site will be filled with irrelevant information. It’s hard to seem personable when it’s obvious you don’t understand the needs of the individual you’re talking to.
Mistake #2: Your Site Doesn’t Establish Trust
The internet is a sketchy place. Anyone can make a website and offer up bogus claims that sound legitimate. As a result, visitors will be skeptical. You’ll need to work hard to establish their trust.
One of the biggest roadblocks to credibility is mistakes – spelling errors, grammar issues, incorrectly cited information, false claims. Editing is perhaps one of the most important steps in the web design process. Take the time to review your site (again and again). Check your claims. Proofread your content. Test your links.
Another big part of establishing trust is providing useful, relevant, up-to-date information. If visitors come to your site in December and find ads for St. Patrick’s Day sales, they’re going to – understandably – wonder about your credibility.
Mistake #3: Your Site Requires Too Much Effort
Internet users are on a mission. They want information and they want it now. Anything that makes that process more difficult or slower than it should be is going to cause trouble.
For example, slow loading pages are a big no-no. Unless they are extremely dedicated to you and your products, visitors aren’t going to wait too long for a page to load. Check the images you have on your site; if you have too many (or they are too large), the load time will be much longer than it needs to be.
Be selective. Only include the highest quality images – the ones that best represent you, your products and your services.
Also, avoid the horizontal scroll bar. Users are accustomed to using a vertical scroll bar, but moving from left to right on a page is unnatural. Visitors could miss out on valuable information because they don’t want to scroll (or don’t know they have to).
Mistake #4: Your Site Lacks Essential Information
Sometimes, bad web design happens because of the things you include on the site. Other times, bad web design is attributed to total omission.
The “contact us” page is one of the most important pages on your site. Unfortunately, it also happens to be the most commonly omitted page.
Make sure your site has a complete, accurate, easy-to-find “contact us” page. Include as much information as possible – your email address, physical address, fax number, phone number, GPS coordinates, hours of operation, and anything else you can think of. If there are different people in your company who handle specific projects, duties, etc., provide the contact information for them as well.
If your site incorporates ecommerce sales, be sure to include the necessary information for your products too. How do you expect people to buy from you if you don’t provide accurate product descriptions, images, and prices? Sadly, customers probably won’t buy from you – they’ll go to a site where they can find the information they want.
Mistake #5: Your Site Looks Like You’re Trying Too Hard
Most industries are pretty competitive. An effective way to one-up the competition is to stand out in a crowd. However, if you take that idea too far, you’ll just end up with bad web design.
There are good ways to stand out and there are bad ways to set yourself apart. For example, a good way to create a unique website is to include quality content, inspiring images, and straight forward navigation.
On the other hand, if you try too hard to be different, you’ll just end up confusing and alienating your audience. Check out which web design trends are and aren’t popular. Know what visitors expect. Even the simplest things like including links that are underlined or a different color are expected. The same is true for primary navigation – links should be at the top of the page.
Mistake #6: Your Site Doesn’t Embrace SEO
The majority of your traffic will come from search engines. If the search engines don’t know you’re there, no one else will either.
SEO is a complicated, evolving, never-ending process. If you want to do it yourself, create an SEO checklist so you don’t miss any vital steps.
While hiring an SEO specialist is a bit more pricy than the DIY option, the benefits will be quite significant in the long run.
For the most part, quality web design is subjective – everyone has their own opinion. However, there are definite things that contribute to bad web design. Make sure you avoid these mistakes if you want your site to be successful, effective and well-received by your target audience.