5 Biggest Web Design Mistakes
Web design mistakes are extremely costly to businesses. Many small business owners hire a friend or relative for this highly complicated job. Some business owners want a “cool-looking” website which often confuses visitors and drive them away. Over the past 15 years, we have talked with hundreds of business owners in Minneapolis St. Paul and across Minnesota. We have analyzed over 1,000 websites. Here are some of the most common and highly costly web design mistakes.
1. Hiring an Unqualified Web Designer
It is very common for a small company to hire a friend or a relative of the company’s owner for the web design job. Many business owners consider their website no more than an online business card and any computer geek would know how to put it together. Such a mistake can cost a business more than it can afford.
Would you give your brother-in-law the marketing director’s job if he never worked in marketing before? Would you ask your nephew to lead your sales team if he never sold anything before? Web design is about marketing. Don’t hand such a critical job to someone simply because he can put up a goofy-looking profile at Facebook.
Not all web designers are the same. Many use outdated techniques that make it difficult or impossible for search engines to understand. Some companies hire a college student who has no long-term commitment. You may get a website that is okay for now, but after the student graduates, who do you call on for any updates
Web design is a serious job, so treat it seriously! Hire a web design company that has a track record of building visitor-friendly websites and deliver top-notch results for clients.
2. Violating Web Design Conventions
Web visitors have certain expectations when they land on your website. Based on their internet surfing experience, they know where things should be, such as navigation menus, search box, contact info, etc. Some web designers use their client sites to show off their “creativity.” Your web designer’s creativity can translate into low or zero conversion. When you go to a site where you can’t figure out how to navigate, what would you do? Most likely you would leave for another site within 10 seconds.
Many business owners want to impress their prospective customers with some “cool” effects. In the real world, nothing drives visitors away faster. Over 80% of websites are built by following the same conventions. 3 out of 4 visitors expect that websites follow the same rules. Websites that look “cool” require more effort from visitors who have to find out how to get to where they want to go. Such a “cool” website can kill your business.
3. Using Tiny Fonts and Poor Contrast
Do you spend much time reading websites that are cluttered with tiny texts and distracting background pictures? Many business websites look unprofessional because they are so hard to read. Business owners often have a difficult time understanding why their website isn’t readable. The reason is that they and their web designers have been looking at the site for a very long time and their eyes adapt to the tiny fonts and the lack of contrast.
Another main reason why many websites are impossible to read is that the web designer only tests the site on one computer monitor. Web users have a wide range of monitor settings which make texts and colors appear very differently. It is important to ensure your website is test on several monitors.
4. Not Being Clear About What You Sell
If your website isn’t clear about what your business is, do the visitors take the time to explore your site? No, web users are well-known for their short attention and impatience. As a business owner yourself, have you ever spent half an hour to figure out what a confusing website is all about? If you don’t, neither do your visitors. 20 seconds is all the time you have to catch a visitor’s attention. If the visitor becomes confused or disengaged within this short time window, he won’t hesitate for a second to leave for your competitors’ sites.
Almost every business owner thinks they provide the best products or services. Therefore, people should stop, pay attention and find out who they are or where they are. If this is what you believe, you may be disappointed as most visitors only care what your company can do for them. Potential customers only begin to pay attention when they think you have what they are looking for. So, don’t play this guessing game with visitors!
5. Providing Useless Web Content
The internet has no shortage of websites filled with useless information or empty hype. There is no magic formula on what to publish. However, if you invest your time and effort to find out what your prospective customers look for, you can create the content that your customers love to read. Most business owners choose the easy way out. Instead of writing for their customers, they write for themselves and about themselves.
Endless self-promoting, cute buttons or fancy animations don’t drive up web conversion. Solid content does. Smart business owners start by asking:
- What problems do your products or services solve?
- What do prospective customers expect to see at your website?
- What would bring first-time visitors back for the second, third or fourth visit?
- Is my content up-to-date and technically accurate?