Designing a website can both be fun and profitable but there are some mistakes to avoid when designing a website. Here are some website design mistakes to avoid like the plague, and solutions on how to avoid them.
I will be covering
- Slow-loading websites
- Websites that are not mobile-friendly
- Copy that is not tailored to your target audience
- Poorly-set out pages with no strategic purpose
- Lack of call to action
- Too many animations
- Ugly and unprofessional images
- Lack of contact information
Ahhhhrg! That’s probably how you feel when trying to navigate around a slow-loading website. Your visitors will feel the same way should you not address this issue.
Research shows that 57% of visitors will leave your website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
Slow-loading websites will cost you leads and ultimately sales and clients, faster than you can count to 3… This is definitely one of those website design mistakes you want to avoid.
So how can you avoid this BIG issue?
It is impossible for me to know what you will be using to build your website. Considering WordPress powers 36% of the world’s websites on the internet I will be sticking to this free CMS system to help you navigate these web design mistakes.
If you are using something else, then not to worry, these tips will still help you.
There are many factors that determine how slow or fast a website loads, simply too many to mention in this blog post alone.
So let’s get into how you can get this issue resolved on your WordPress website.
First things first, you are going to want to test your current website’s load speed, you can make use of this website to run your benchmark speed test.
If you are in South Africa, make sure to select the Cape Town server to get an accurate reading.
If you have an international website that brings in traffic from all over the world, then you can select from other servers from around the world to do your speed tests.
You will get a report like the below, ensure you focus on the number I have highlighted in the image. Remember we just want the first part of the website to load as fast as possible, this shows the user that there is something happening and will keep their attention long enough for them to hopefully stick around.
So if this number is above 3 seconds, you want to ensure you get it below 3 seconds or less.
You can do most of this work by simply making use of a premium caching software/plugin called WP Rocket it costs $49 per year and is worth every cent! Remember, slow websites will cost you leads and sales, so don’t skimp here.
Simply install the plugin, and activate it, and you are done. There are a lot of settings you can get involved with, but considering you are a DIY website builder, just keep things simple for now.
Another huge contributor to slow-loading websites is images. Unoptimized images can really hurt the load speeds of your website. Once you have installed and activated WP Rocket, you can also make use of their premium image optimization software. It’s called Imagify, it’s cheap and well worth the investment.
You will find it under the media settings section of WP Rocket.
Ok, now run another speed test, and see how your website performs.
Websites that are not mobile-friendly
Did you know that 80% of your website traffic will most likely be from mobile users?
If your goal for your website is to generate leads and sales, then this website mistake could cost you more than you bargained for.
Now, the good news is that if you are making use of WordPress to design your website, then you will most likely be making use of some sort of theme. All modern themes these days are mobile responsive as standard, yayness!
Just keep in mind when designing to ensure you are keeping mobile users in mind at all times. And always test your work!
Does that fancy button that works on desktops hindering the experience for mobile users? Is that image rendering correctly on mobile devices? Is it easy for mobile browsers to find the information they are looking for?
Here are a few checklists to follow:
- Does your menu work on mobile?
- Do your contact forms work on mobile?
- Are your images rendering correctly on mobile?
- Is the text going off-screen?
If you really want to get into this whole website design space without hiring a professional website design company, then I would suggest you make use of as many tools as possible to make your life easier.
One of those tools is website builders.
Website builders are a great way to build your website visually as you go, no coding required! With a small learning curve, you could become a master website designer. They are super flexible and can do almost anything you could dream of.
But the best part? They allow you to test your designs in mobile formats, straight inside the software itself. Here is a screenshot of an example below, making use of Elementor, which has a free version too!
You can select between mobile, tablet, and desktop to ensure your designs are working well across different screen sizes, you can even select custom screen sizes to test with.
Google will love your website if it is mobile friendly, and if Google loves your website, then people may find your website for the keywords you are trying to rank for.
Here is a list of 3 website builders I would suggest you make use of to avoid website design mistakes like this.
Still reading?…. Great! Let’s move onto the next website design mistakes to avoid.
Copy that is not tailored to your target audience
This is definitely one of the top website design mistakes I see all the time!
Just think about this for a second. Let’s assume you have spent all this time designing your website, you have done the speed optimizations, your website displays beautifully on mobile devices and you are now paying for some marketing to get traffic to your website or maybe you are ranking on Google.
What is the first thing your potential clients will see when they land on your website?
It will most likely be some form of copy. Is your copy engaging, and answering the questions your prospects have? Are your headline capturing their attention and forcing them to read further, or find out more information?
If your copy is not doing its job at keeping your browser engaged, then I would argue that everything you have done up until now will be a waste of time!
So how do you write decent an engaging copy that will convert more browsers into leads and sales?
Firstly, you need to know who you are talking to, you need to find out who your perfect target market is and what they look like. Stop trying to talk to everyone, and start talking to one person.
How old are they? Do they have kids? How much money do they make? What sports interest them? What TV shows do they watch? Answering these questions will help you build a client avatar.
Once you have a client avatar you can start diving into deeper questions and getting more specific on what it is they are looking for from a service or product like yours.
Here is a screen shot of a template you can make use of. There are hundreds of free resources online that will help you with getting a customer avatar together.
Now each time you write copy, imagine you are writing for your customer avatar. Speak to them directly, as if you were having a coffee with them. Answer their questions, address their concerns and give them the data and info they want.
Don’t go off on a tangent about your business, and speak in the 3rd person. Use the words ‘you’ instead of ‘we’, and always try to focus on the benefits they will experience should they make use of your services or products.
Copywriting is hard, and conversion copywriting can be even harder! I suggest that you get some professional help for this stage of your project, it will make a world of difference when it comes to converting traffic into leads.
There is a very decent online course on Udemy that you can find here to teach you how to write better copy.
Poorly-set out pages with no strategic purpose
Have you ever visited a website that just flows effortlessly? The content seems to be in just the right places, they are saying just the right words, at the right time, and it seems so easy to get in touch with them?
Well, what if I told you that there was a specific way in which you can set up your pages that could achieve this result?
Have you ever heard of CRO? It stands for conversion rate optimisation. This is where CRO experts look at a bunch of data and how people interact with a websites layout/design and then test and come up with new ways to make the website achieve its goals more effectively.
It is a great way to ensure you are maximizing the traffic that you are generating for your website.
Imagine having an eCommerce website that generated 50 000 page views per day. Let’s assume that the web store managed to convert 1% of them into sales (this is an industry-standard). This would equate to 500 sales per day. The job of a CRO specialist would be to find ways to increase this number, you can see that a small change of just 0.5% or 1% would increase web sales dramatically.
But how will this work for a service based business?
Your websites job is to simply generate leads, so you can start conversations with prospect clients, and start quoting and closing deals. The more leads you close, the more quotes get sent out, and the more deals you close.
Now, each page that you setup should have ONE goal in mind, don’t confuse people and try to cover many things, or detract the user from the purpose of the page (to generate a lead).
For example: Let’s assume you are a lawyer that specializes in divorce. You should create a web page that is dedicated to this service only.
Although you may also supply other services like family law or litigation we want to ensure that the web page we have set up is only dedicated to divorce, we don’t want to confuse the browser with other information about other services they may or may not be interested in.
Remember, when you send people to this page using Google Ads, SEO, or social media ads, you should only be targeting people that are interested in getting a divorce, and then lay out the page strategically to generate leads.
So what does a strategically optimized landing page or web page look like?
I have made it easy for you, simply copy the below layout, and provided your website copy, and ensure the other website design mistakes have been taken care of and you should start converting traffic into leads in no time!
Lack of call to action
Did you have a look at the perfect landing page mockup above? Did you notice the calls to action on that layout?
A call to action could be as simple as a button. It is simply something that tells the browser what you want them to do next.
For example: Download this form here, Get In Touch, Click Here, Let’s Talk Today, Get Started Now, these are all examples of calls to actions you can use.
They can also be long, like this:
“Did you enjoy reading this blog post? – If so please share it on social media with your friends.
It’s not rocket science, but DONT forget to include them. As this is one of the common website design mistakes that are easy to avoid.
Too many animations
Animations are cool, if they are used sparingly. It will be easy for you to go crazy with making images fly in, and have fluffy cats run across the screen, especially if you make use of the website builders I have suggested.
But DONT DO IT! And DONT add music to your website either please! Don’t be the person that forces their music choice onto your browsers and potential clients, its not cool to open a website and have music playing automatically in the background.
Besides looking cool, using too much animation will mean that the website has to run extra code to play your animations, this means that the website has to work harder to load, which means slower loading websites.
Have a look at the first website design mistake I pointed out.
Ugly and unprofessional images
Ever heard the saying, “first impressions count”…? Well they do.
If a prospect lands on your website and you have not made use of professional photos, or at least decent stock photos then you are going to raise a red flag in their mind that does not need to be raised. Remember we are trying to build trust here.
Look at your competitors, do you want to outshine them and stand out from them? Then I would argue that images do just that!
I would always suggest that you make use of a photographer where possible, however, if you are running on a budget then make use of a paid service like Stock Adobe or something similar.
Small website design mistakes like this don’t need to happen. Spend a little money and get some decent images.
You can even make use of this free website to find images if you are on a really small budget. Don’t forget to credit the authors if it is required to do so.
Lack of contact information
And to conclude, the simplest website design mistake to avoid.
Make it easy for people to find your contact information, don’t bury this information it sub pages and in the footer. Have a general contact number and make it clearly visible to browsers.
Onto my call to action 😉
Don’t forget to share this post with friends and family that you feel may find value in it.