You searched. You scrolled. And you were compelled — thank you, heavily calculated headline syntax — to click on this blog post.
Why? Your website. Or their website. Someone’s website is in question, whether it’s in the process of being built or well past the point of completion.
This is to no surprise, and let us assure you, we’re not here to tech shame. There are currently approximately 1.8 billion websites alive and well across the interwebs. And anyone and everyone, regardless of their previous experience or background, can create and share just about anything they can imagine online. It’s indeed a beautiful thing.
As a result of the ability for anyone to create a basic website, though, are many, many website mistakes to be learned from and improved upon. If creating or recreating a website, or convincing someone to do either of the latter is in your future, know that it’ll be easy to get caught up in the fluff: focusing primarily on things like colors, graphics, fonts, and what’s trending in web design.
Before doing so, however, set expectations with a bit of perspective. After all, not every aspect of a website’s look, feel, and function will translate accordingly to your customers. Just because you like it doesn’t mean that they will respond positively to it. And ultimately, isn’t their opinion the only one that truly matters?
Before layering on the paint and pushing that ‘publish’ button, let’s take a step back. Start with a consideration of what not to do; a sturdy foundation of avoidables to help in steering your website towards a healthy balance of curb appeal and usability.
Here are 6 common website mistakes worth taking note of and, ultimately, avoiding throughout any web design project.
Your Website is Not Secure
The world is abuzz with issues of cybersecurity and for good reason. The more data we continue to create and share through the wires, the more at-risk it all becomes for those with bad intentions.
If you’ve yet to transition your website from ‘HTTP’ to ‘HTTPS’, consider it the first point on your list of musts.
Not only does securing a website instill a sense of authority in your brand and trust among customers — it also keeps things kosher with Google. Did you know that HTTPS is, in fact, a Google-sanctioned ranking factor?
Your Website is Not Mobile Friendly
This point about website mistakes is perhaps more effectively shown, than it can be told.
If you’re out and about, take a look at your surroundings and note the number of people glued to their screens. You personally may be consuming this article on-the-go, head down and basking in the warm glow of a smartphone.
Fail to offer a responsive website across all potential devices and you are actively choosing to neglect the majority of your audience. To assume that customers (especially first-time customers) will be so enveloped by your offerings that they’ll endure slow load times and nonresponsive layouts on their mobile devices is not just egotistical, it’s bad business.
Your Website Has Poor Navigation
Simple is overrated. Or is it?
When perusing other websites for inspiration, it’s going to be easy to build out a list of desired functionality; to get drawn in by the shiny objects and believe them all necessary for making your website the best it can be. In these moments, don’t disregard the power of simplicity.
The busier your website becomes, the more consideration you’ll inevitably have to give to navigation. Are the right calls-to-actions (CTAs) in place? Are there too many? Too few?
When in doubt, keep the desired end goal of your customer’s journey in mind and develop a usability blueprint for your website that leads them there through the path of least resistance.
Your Website Relies on Heavily Circulated Stock Photography
We’re not here to tell you not to use stock photography. For some companies, budget and resources simply don’t allow for anything but. Honestly, that’s okay: if you remain selective of the stock photos used.
As important as words on the [web]page, the visuals you choose will serve as a direct reflection of your brand. Content that incorporates cliche and downright cheesy stock photos for the sake of bringing ‘the face’ of your company to life is not the route to take.
If you’re committing to stock photography, commit to good stock photography. Commit to stepping away from, ‘happy businessman shaking hands with client’.
Your Website Has a Poor Content Strategy
There are a number of indicators that point to your website’s content strategy requiring an overhaul.
It can start simply with the quality of the content itself. For example, a website playing the number’s game — pumping out short, regurgitated blog posts weekly for the sake of posting something — does little for the sake of your business.
Under this umbrella is the idea of internal linking. For matters of SEO, it’s important to link the audience reading your content to additional, relevant areas of your website. The key here lies in being ‘relevant’.
Avoid the desire to hyperlink every other word of a blog post to other blog posts, service pages, or case studies. Instead, as you would the blog topic itself, remain conscious of what is of actual interest to your audience. What problem is being solved in the solution your content is providing, and would whatever you link to from there further aid in solving this problem?
You’ll inevitably find more benefit (from an interaction standpoint) in linking to 2 or 3 quality, highly relevant links, than you would in scattering many loosely connected, clickable links throughout a piece of content.
Your Website Isn’t Tracking Analytics
With all of the data analytics tools available at your disposal, there’s no reason not to track your customer’s actions across your website. Google Analytics, friends. It’s free, relatively simple to set up, and highly customizable based on the goals you wish to track against.
Building your business online through assumptions alone will only get you so far. Take note of visitors, their behaviors, and initiatives across your website that don’t appear to be eliciting the desired action. Only with these insights can you work to build not just a website, but an experience.
Final Thoughts: Common Website Mistakes and Tips on How to Avoid Them
Designing a website is not an easy process, nor should it be. You’re building a point of connection; a destination meant to transform visitors into fans, and fans into customers. The silver lining here is that it’s not impossible, as long as you’re willing to learn from the website mistakes made by others along the way — giving functionality as much weight as the words on every page.
Ready to take your web presence to the next level and fix past website mistakes? Schedule your free consultation.