Below is a quick list I’ve collated of some mistakes that are made when designing and developing a website. It’s more and more important nowadays to consider numerous different factors when building and/or improving on a website, ensuring a quality user experience, a streamlined and fast website, maximising search engine optimisation, and ensuring users/clients/customers want to return to your site.
Ensuring the below mistakes are avoided will go a long way to building out a successful website.
The excess of anything and everything:
Using too much of anything, with regards to website design, can significant hurt your conversion rates – content, images, videos, animations, widgets, embedded plugins, galleries, lead links, and the list goes on. Website designers need to know where the line is drawn.
More often than not, and this crops up in a lot of fields; less is more. Too much of any one thing can easily clutter a page, confuse and frustrate visitors, and increase bounce rates significantly. Think about websites you’ve previously been to that were too busy.. likelihood is that you exited that website pretty quickly.
Less words, more media:
Images, videos, media in general is always important for a good website. No-one wants to just see a whole bunch of words on a website nowadays. A picture does tell a thousand words.. sometimes. However, when too much focus is placed on media at the neglect of solid content then we have an issue.
Users entering sites are looking for information quickly and easily; trying to navigate in and around tonnes of images and videos becomes frustrating very quickly – and media that are data heavy, or even of a low-quality can make it even worse for visitors. Media is important, but use it wisely, and always optimised for the lowest size at the highest of quality.
The devil that is the 404 Error:
How recently have you been to a website, clicked on a link, and it took you to a “Sorry, page not found, 404 error” page? I’ll put money on it being fairly recently.. unfortunately. This issue is a result of ‘broken links’ within websites. A website should always be tested before launch, to ensure no 404 broken links are evident.
We at Futr like to use Siteliner – it’s quite a quick and easy report to run on your site to determine 404 link errors, and a whole lot of other analysis. No-one wants to see a 404 error message on a site.
Tick, tock.. tick, tock:
Making visitors wait too long while your website loads is a slippery slope into lack of engagement, and increase bounce rates. Ensuring your site is optimised from a speed point of view is key; especially in todays world of decreasing patience, and increasing fickleness.
Don’t underestimate market research:
Never overlook the importance of market research, when it comes to building out a top-quality website. Gaining an insight into websites within the industry, understanding what customers and clients are looking for, and determining key user interaction paths and insights is super important.
Understanding the design and look-and-feel desires of clients is obviously one of the key parts of building a site, however the client interaction within the industry as a whole needs to be a focus throughout the design process. It is well known, and previously proven, that client-focussed websites tend to experience a higher rate of conversions that those that ignore market research.
Navigation throughout a website can easily be dropped down the priority list, when it comes to creating a site as a whole. However, from a user experience perspective, navigation should be one of the most important focus points to a well designed website.
Navigation should be seamless, user-friendly, and quick, so that visitors enjoy browsing the site without difficulty, and more importantly, want to return. Menus, categories, search pages, blog archives, headers and footers all need to be clear and concise; as a starting point only.
Excessive plugins and/or extensions:
Plugins are more often that not, quite important to the success of a good website. Here at Futr, we specialise in WordPress framework sites, and thus use Plugins in all of our sites in one way or another – they’re very handy for flexibility and scalability. However, often sites are bogged down and slowed as a result of too many plugins.
There are so many plugins out there, its easy to get complacent and just install a bunch you think will help your site. More often that not that approach wont help at all. Issues such at plugin clashing, security issues, site slowdown etc. can all crop up through the use of too many plugins.
Inconsistency with front-end design/layout:
Websites always look great when there’s an element of creativity to the overall front-end design. No-one wants to look at a boring, bland website (mostly..), however design inconsistency can create issues for user experience and lead generation.
Websites with completely different appearances from one page to the other tend to turn away visitors, as its essentially more effort for the visitor to understand where features are located, how to navigate etc from page to page. Utilising world-class themes within WordPress assists to avoid this issue, where the theme can be customised for the appropriate creativity and design, however the similar appearance is continued throughout the site.
Too hard to read:
In order to gain users attention, they should be able to read the content and access it with the upmost of ease. Website designers should refrain from using peculiar fonts that makes a site difficult to view, and potentially hides all the functionality. Avoid using bold themes, and consider screen resolutions, and all the various devices used nowadays. Responsive websites are an absolute requirement in today’s world – especially given more people view sites on mobile devices than desktops.
It’s also super important nowadays to ensure users aren’t negatively interrupted from viewing your website, as this can now impact Google search rankings, and likely user interaction and lead generation.
Not using an SSL aka. https://
It’s being made more and more evident through Google that avoiding the use of SSL’s will have a detrimental impact on your website, both from a Google search ranking perspective, but also a speed, and security point of view. It should be a key priority before beginning a new site from now on, to ensure an SSL has been installed on the site prior to design and movement into a live site – it’s much easier that way than backtracking and making the changes after the fact as well.
We’ve recently started ensuring all new sites created from scratch via Futr have an SSL applied. We utilise Let’s Encrypt for our SSL Certificates, and have not had any issues to date! A good WordPress plugin to use, to convert internal links to https is Really Simple SSL – works a treat.
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