There are so many things you need to do when creating a website from scratch. Here's a list of some common pitfalls to be aware of so you can avoid headaches down the road. By avoiding these common mistakes, you help your business remain competitive, polished, and professionally presented online.
Slow Page Load Speed
If your site is slow to load, you should consider redesigning some parts of your site. The faster your website loads the better user experience. There are plenty of tips for speeding up your website, but we'll focus on the basics that will help you get started.
Your homepage is oftentimes the most important page of your website. So, first and foremost, you need to optimize its images by ensuring the file is compressed and that it has the proper titling. Users get frustrated when they see pages with slow loading times and will often opt to just leave a site rather than wait.
Heavy plugins, themes, and extensions can contribute to slow load speeds. Updating these elements can improve performance significantly if it’s been a while since you performed the necessary updates.
Make sure to test thoroughly before making these changes to your live website, just in case there are any plugins that have been outmoded and could potentially break other parts of your site.
Poor Website Navigation
Make sure you plan your navigation ahead of time so that the structure is set up correctly during the design and development process. Aim for having between four to six navigation links (careful adding more than this) to keep your website from becoming too crowded in the header area.
If you want to add more links to your site than these main ones, we suggest you create extra space in the header area or use your footer to add them. You can also create groups of parent categories in the main nave to fit additional links and still have a clean look. Regarding categories, think about which ones are most important for a visitor to see first, as well as throughout their visit to your site.
For the more prominent sections, creating graphics and an informational box to lead to these from your homepage will be an excellent way to help them stand out.
No Mobile Experience
A good mobile experience is not something you should ignore or disregard. If you do not have a responsive, mobile-friendly site that scales to a smaller screen, you are missing out on a major section of traffic because mobile device users won't stay on your site if it’s not optimized for their chosen device.
Besides being important for your user experience, having a mobile website is essential for your SEO because Google has started penalizing non-responsive sites. Before starting any redesign or research of website design ideas, look into mobile-first or at least alongside your larger screen design.
Social Media Links That Are Too Prominent
If your social media buttons are located at the top of your web page, you could potentially send visitors away from your site before they even see all your content.
Social media links will direct visitors to the social media platform's page instead of through your website. Put it at the bottom of the page so that users read the content before deciding to leave the page. You should also link these from your contact page as an alternative method of communication with your brand.
You Have No SEO or Analytics
SEO and Analytics are the best diagnostic tools to help you understand how well your website is doing in terms of its rankings and positioning. If you want your website to appear higher up on the search engine results pages, then you need to optimize your website for search engines.
Analytics - Analytics can help you determine what users have been doing when they're visiting your website. You can also learn what they're doing before they leave your site. If you find that many of the same actions are being performed just before a user logs out or closes the browser tab then you can potentially identify the cause of the problem and then fix it by changing something.
SEO - SEO tools are good for seeing how the latest elements added to your website work and if the visitors use them as intended. Once you correctly understand website diagnostics, you will know what needs fixing on the entire site. Therefore, using the best SEO tools like SEMRUSH and Google Analytics increases your website‘s ranking and popularity is important.
With proper SEO management, it is always possible that you can get your website to always appear higher up the SERPs (search engine results pages).
Issues with Font Size and Text Style
You need to use suitable colors, fonts, and design elements to maximize readability so that your visitors can get the most information from your site with the least effort. If a mobile user can't read the font, or the font doesn't automatically adjust to the right size, you'll lose them before completing your call to action.
You want to make sure you’ve chosen a text style that is readable and friendly to your desired audience. Some groups respond better to a serif font, while others need a san-serif in order to better understand the content. Knowing your audience's preference will go a long way to creating a great design.
Lack of Call-to-Actions
Your website may look good, but what do you want visitors to do once they arrive at your site? What type of interaction are they having with you? Is it a sign-up, purchase, or contact form?
Think about what route you want visitors to take when they come to your website and plan for them accordingly with well-placed and thoughtful call-to-actions (CTAs). CTA's are important for any online business, so make sure they are clear and messaging is straightforward.
Keep Your Content Fresh and Updated
If you don't have any fresh content on your website, then it will negatively affect your SEO. It also makes your company look lazy and unmotivated.
People want fresh and up-to-date content that keeps them coming back for more, so make sure your website has regular updates to keep people interested.
Write at least one new blog or news article every month to keep your website active and fresh. Remember, the more frequently you write high-quality articles and use relevant keywords, the better your ranking will be. Content is king!
Not Having a 404 Page
Part of the user journey is going to be dead-ends (hopefully not very often. But when it does happen, you want to be sure that you are still in control of the path. This means you need to create a 404 page.
What is a 404 page?
It is a web page that no longer exists. If a user types the URL for such a web page or clicks on such a link, they will be taken to a '404 Page Not Found' error page.
The goal of the "404" page is to keep visitors on your site even if they hit a page that doesn't exist. A good 404 page can keep visitors from leaving your site and encourage them to explore other pages on your site.
Using Disruptive Pop-ups
Pop-ups can be highly disruptive when they appear while you're browsing for something valuable. It is one of those website design mistakes that you see on so many websites these days. Unwanted pop-ups can drive your visitors away as they are known to force users into performing actions they don't want to.
However, pop-up ads and CTAs are still used because they provide a high return on investment potential and can help you convert a visitor into a customer. However, they must be used carefully – at entry points after visitors have scrolled to a specific spot and as a prompt before they leave.
No Plan for Ongoing Maintenance or Upkeep
After your website goes live, there's no point in calling yourself "done". You'll need to consider how you'll plan to update your website as well as any routine maintenance. It's important to have a modern, robust content management system (CMS) for website upkeep, but it's equally important to put your trust in a team of developers, marketers, and designers who you can count on to keep your website competitive and up to date.
Get Help from a Professional
If you avoid these common website design mistakes, your site will look better and be easier to navigate. Our best advice, hire a pro web designer like us.
At Consumer 51, our talented team of designers and developers can create custom websites that exceed your expectations and deliver an amazing experience.