An attractive, usable web design will help users spend more time on your site and trust you and your business more. If you want your visitors to associate you with quality, set yourself apart by avoiding these top mistakes in website design.
1. Poor Navigation
Help your users get around your site – or else they will leave and find the information they were looking for somewhere else. Navigation is expected to be on the top of the page below the header or on the left-hand side – if it is somewhere else, it needs to work harder to be noticed. Make sure each link is large enough that it is easy to click, and has enough white space around it to keep all the pages from blending together.
Now that you can avoid a few common mistakes, your site will come across as being more authoritative and attractive. What are your pet peeves about business websites? Are there any small business sites you see as being examples of what to aspire to?
2. Searching for Search
A huge portion of website users navigate primarily using search. Don’t force these users to take the time to understand your site’s organization. Search fields are often placed within the header, and impatient people might not look farther for it if it’s not there.
Search results also need to be high quality, and presented in a readable way. Take your guidance from Google and Bing, because those formats are what most people anticipate when viewing search result pages.
3. Mixed Messages
Do you have too many things going on with your site? Make sure each page has a specific call to action, instead of barraging your visitor with too many offers or details. This is not a reason to make moving around the site more difficult, but you should make sure different page elements are not vying for attention. Simply make your email, phone number, or sign up button presentable and clear.
4. Complicated Fonts
Trying to decipher a new font could distract a visitor at best, and might even prevent them from reading anything on your site. And if they do not have the font you are using installed on their computer, the text might default to an unintended font that will be even more distracting because it doesn’t match. And if you want to brand your business name successfully, people need to be able to read your header.
5. No Images – or No Text
Landing on a page and being hit by a wall of text does not make a good impression. At the same time, images can’t go far without words. If your visitors want to learn about your business, they need to be able to both read about it and see it for themselves.
An important factor for both images and text is leaving enough white space. Giving the eye room to rest instead of overloading the page with content is critical.
6. 90s Design
It’s not hard to figure out what kinds of designs look outdated. Repetitive or garish backgrounds, pixelated photos, and moving or flashing text are sure signs that your site has been around the block. Cheap HTML tricks or Flash movies can lose both your customers’ interest and their trust in your brand. And, please, no pop-ups or background music!
An old design can also make users distrust the facts on your site. After all, if the design is still the same, people assume the content hasn’t changed, either – and no one wants to call a phone number that’s 10 years old.
7. Too Many Ads
Your whole site is an advertisement for your own business – don’t distract your users’ attention with advertisements for other products and services. Though ads might seem like a way to subsidize your website costs, every click you get paid for is a click away from your site. Plus, ads (especially text ads) are ugly, and can quickly discredit your site.