There’s no secret sauce to making a perfect website since every website serves a different purpose and comes with unique requirements. But there are common web design mistakes that can reduce your website’s performance significantly.
This is not exactly a surprise.
Websites constantly need changes and updates and small refreshers to stay modern and current. And it can be hard to keep up!
Which is why we’ve noticed some unfortunate patterns that seem to be very common.
Weak foundations, a lack of focus, and ineffective calls to action are all problems that we’ve observed in other websites.
You might have visited a website and felt as if something was off. It may be because the website’s foundation was weak, the content lacked focus, or there was nothing compelling that made you want to sign up for their services.
But if you’ve visited a website that had something wrong it, it can be a little difficult putting your thumb on what the precise issue is. Is it a web design aspect? Is it just an amateur build? Is it a web developer who also doubles as an email marketer, SEO expert, or an electronic magazine ninja?
If you hire someone who spreads themselves too thin and hasn’t practiced enough in one area to gain sufficient mastery, then it’s likely that you’ll run into web design mistakes when hiring their services.
There are common principles that really should be followed regardless of whoever builds a website or maintains it. There are certain things web developer and designers need to follow no matter what the client’s goals are.
First of all, it’s important to make sure that the theme is correct. Themes are the foundation upon which websites are built. Many times, we’ll see websites with great content, excellent images, and more, but the theme itself is terrible.
Unfortunately, there’s little that can be done to improve an issue with your theme other than changing it and updating it to something better.
If the website owner is tied to the theme, then the conversation moves away from what is best from a functionality and conversion standpoint and pivots too what the owner likes. This is a common source of web design mistakes.
What many website owners don’t realize is that certain design elements are proven to convert, while others have the opposite effect and repel your audience.
Website owners should certainly strive to convey their brand through their website, but there are best practices that should be followed.
It’s crucial to really ask, “What is this design element going to do for the customer?”
Again, we’re not advocating that you should make a site that’s off-brand.
We also caution against hyper-concentrating on small details your audience won’t even notice. In our experience, slight changes have extremely little effect on your website’s performance. The reason for this is that while you, the owner, may be looking at your website on a daily basis and noticing all of the intricacies, your audience usually only visits your website for a few seconds.
Whether or not you can engage their attention in those few seconds makes all the difference.
It’s important to remember that our goal as your web developer is to get the potential client to pick up the phone. Not focusing on this objective is one of the core web design mistakes.
There’s a practice that we like to go over with clients called “The Three Second Test.” Imagine a random person who has never been to your website. Within three seconds after landing on the site, they should have a very clear understanding of who you are, what you do, and the audience you are targeting.
With the advent of social media, attention spans are getting shorter, and audiences are getting pickier. Consumers have more options nowadays. There’s no shortage of websites out there for people to find content or vendors or other businesses to work with.
If your messaging is not clear, that’s the very first thing that needs to be changed so that you have a chance of keeping up with the competition.
The text on your website is also very important. So many businesses that specialize in a specific field or a niche use industry lingo and common terms that make sense to them, but it’s not going to make sense for the consumer or the person they’re trying to educate.
Don’t write the copy from a company standpoint, which is one of the more common web design mistakes. Instead, write your text from a customer standpoint. Use real, every day language.
If you can’t figure out what your customer’s standpoint is, consider hiring a copywriter to help guide you.
When deciding on content, first ask, “Why is this specific content actually needed? Why is it beneficial? Are we just creating content in order to create content?”
More than likely, any content you create probably exists somewhere else on the web already, unless you have a super specific niche. Most types of content already exist somewhere.
Other questions to ask are, “What’s the point of creating this specific content? What direction are we trying to move in? What’s the messaging we’re giving to our audience? Are we trying to explain our services in a succinct manner? Are we attempting to nudge someone to fill out a form?”
A lot of the time we lose sight of these key questions.
We often see websites that have either very weak calls to action, or worse yet, no call to actions at all. So often it just gets lost in the mix. They write all this text about who they are, what they do, or the services that they provide, but there’s no call to action. There’s no, “Download this PDF guide” or “Give us a call” or “Fill out this form.”
So, they’re putting together their whole business pitch, but not going in for the ask. All the effort is put into explanations and making every single item right, but never actually saying, “Hire us now.”
At the end of the day it’s all about the customer. It’s not about the company’s position or the experience of the website itself. It’s about the customer and how they are served.
The customer is coming to the website looking for something. They may be looking to do research, looking for more information, looking for personal validation to make a decision, or to move forward with something. Regardless, they’re looking for something, and the website needs to be positioned correctly. All the aspects — from the homepage all the way to the contact page and everything in between — need to be focused on delivering that answer to the customer.
And what’s that answer? It depends customer-to-customer and business-to-business. Ultimately, the goal is to convey, “Whatever it is you’re searching for, we’re the ones to call. Pick up the phone, send us an email, let’s start the conversation.”
At the end of the day, we always want to start a conversation with a potential customer. If your website isn’t geared toward creating conversation with your customers or clients, then it has fallen for one of the biggest web design mistakes.
We’re las vegas web developer ourselves, and we do this even with our own site. We’re constantly asking ourselves, “The message we’re delivering on this page, is it the correct message? Are we explaining the services enough? Do we want to go into long explanations of every single type of service that we do? Or is that too much for the average person looking for a reputable company that does A, B, C, D and E.?”
And it depends on the business. Certain businesses are positioned to educate. Let’s say you’re a financial advisor. Well, some financial advisors are looking for high levels of spend, in which case their positioning and marketing needs to be very different because they’re going to be looking to recruit someone from another financial advisor.
On the other side, there could be a financial advisor looking to get young professionals who are going to need that handholding, guidance, and education. That’s where content is going to be much more valuable. To someone who has never worked with a financial advisor, you should anticipate questions like, “How does it work? How are fees structured? Where do the investments go? How is the money managed?”
In that case, customers are going to need to have that education process to be able to build trust. They’re going to need to go back and forth and do the research so they can make a prudent decision. Whereas someone who is an established money manager, looking to recruit from a major bank, is not going to need as much research-based content.
So, how we position the messaging of the content of the site depends on the needs of the customer. The customer comes first.
Let’s not make it a long, drawn out explanation of who we are and why we’re so great. Instead, focus on how we’re improving the lives of our customers even if it’s in a very specific and simple way.
Understand the traffic that currently exists on your site, look at what the conversions currently are, optimize for an increase in percentage of conversions overall, which has a really great impact on your bottom line, understand the real value of your customers, and be able to track properly to understand who is what and what is who.
The strategy and the framework for your digital marketing efforts all need to fit together to create a successful plan that you can execute and have measurable results on. Following this strategy will help you avoid costly web design mistakes.