You might have some of the most innovative products to sell or interesting ideas to share but keeping your traffic up can be tough when there are almost two billion other websites to browse through. Turn your visitors into loyal customers by avoiding these 8 website design mistakes.
1. No Clear Message and Call-to-Action
There is a reason why you initially sat down to write out your website’s first line of code. This purpose should inform your design and help guide visitors across your site. Knowing who your target audience is and what you are hoping they will take away from their visit is crucial.
People are clicking onto your page with a definitive idea of what they are looking for, you should make sure that you can be just as clear in delivering them that content and information. This makes calls-to-action a number one priority, whether you are dealing with an ecommerce or a blog, they are the first thing visitors will be noticing and expecting.
Do you want people to download an app, purchase a product, or simply visit another page? Put up a call-to-action at the top of the page and make your objective clear from the start.
2. 404s and Outdated Content
People will reprogram their internet router or run to plug in their dying laptop just to stay online, but few will even spend an extra second to refresh a 404-error page. 404s announce that a certain page “cannot be found”, however, they are equally proficient in making your visitors go missing if they don’t get fixed in due time.
The internet is not a static place, links can get pushed around and pages can’t always catch up. Use a broken link checker to find broken links and clean them up on a regular basis to avoid losing potential customers who get lost in these pages.
Another way to deal with these unwanted pages is to redesign them in a way which encourages visitors to stay on your site. After all, if you can’t beat them, join them… For this work, it is key to try to stay on brand as much as possible by coming up with a unique page design or amusing joke. If you can at least make visitors smile as they stumble on your 404s, chances are that they will give you a second chance and return to your homepage.
Similarly, outdated content will make your website seem uncared for and unprofessional. After all, you wouldn’t enjoy having dinner in a restaurant serving last week’s lunch, so make sure that you stay up to date with any seasonal or temporary content you post.
3. Cliché Stock Photos
The fake smiles and shallow looks make stock photos identifiable from miles away. They are especially designed to be elusive and applicable to a variety of scenarios and the last thing you would want your website to be is generic. With thousands of new URLs generated every day, you want your content to stand out in its own right and not be eclipsed by another cliché stock photo.
It is always recommended for one to use their own pictures to enhance their content and give it a little bit more personality. If a picture speaks a thousand words, getting your first impression right means having high-quality photos or illustrations to give your content the attention it deserves.
4. Not Mobile-Friendly
Why restrict the access to your website to a fixed desktop screen when people could be scrolling through your content on their way to work or during their lunchtime break. Now that more than half of all web searches are carried out on mobile devices, you could be losing out on double your current traffic.
Even search engines like Google have also recently been penalizing non-responsive mobile sites by ranking them lower. If fitting your entire page layout into a three-inch screen might seem inconceivable, you should try to keep these three kay points in mind.
- Convert your page structure from a horizontal to a vertical format to ensure that the scaling is respected
- Ensure that all your text is readable
- Check that your links are well organized to avoid crowding and unnecessary popups
5. No HTTPS
Privacy and security are the two words on everyone’s mind. With hacking scandals saturating the news and viruses roaming the internet, providing users with a secure platform that they can trust is essential.
HTTPS helps encrypt the information exchanged between a browser and web server. Whether your site requires a registration process or a checkout service, any sensitive information that is entrusted to you by a visitor should be fully protected with HTTPS.
Google’s crack down on online safety has made HTTPS into a necessity if web owners want to avoid the dreaded “this site is not secure” popup. Surely there is nothing which will scare people more quickly than having the biggest search engine in the world tell you to avoid a website.
Having HTTPS will boost both your visitors’ trust in your site as well as your SEO, to ultimately improve your competitive advantage.
Most people don’t bother reading the fine print, but they do notice when it isn’t there.
It is important to show visitors that you have a clear plan and outline to deal with their privacy. Although most people are not keen on giving away any piece of information, they are more likely to trust a website is well prepared to deal with it. It acts as a sort of internet seatbelt which users feel protected by as a precautionary measure.
7. Lack of Contact Info
You have invested hours of your time into designing your website and creating pages of quality content, only to hide your email address in some remote corner.
If a potential client has to search through multiple pages and scroll endlessly just to find that ten-digit phone number, they will have likely lost their patience and jumped onto another website before ever reaching it.
You should always indicate your contact info in a clear and accessible manner. You should also aim to provide more than one way for people to contact you and give a short indication of what they should expect. Alternatively, you could provide a contact box for people to get in direct touch with you.
8. Popups, Popups, Popups
If your website looks like Times Square after sunset, your traffic will soon look like a desert at midday. Flashy ads popping out of everywhere is the best way of getting visitors to click away just as fast.
Tactful ad placements are a great way of making money from your website, but too many will only ring the alarm in people’s head and lead them away.
Having begun by stressing the importance of careful calls to action, it is equally crucial to strike the right balance when it comes to popups. An effective popup will merge into your web design and not make it seem like you are just exploiting visitors for money.