It’s not an exaggeration to say bad website design costs your business. You only have a few seconds to make a positive impression on a website visitor. The design of your website affects whether your potential customers stay or go — and whether they eventually follow through on a conversion.
You may think you’ll know bad design when you see it, but this is not the case. Bad design does not always equal ugly design. Your website may look nice and still have design flaws that are detrimental to your business.
Here are 7 common website design mistakes and how to avoid them.
1. Not Optimizing for Mobile Users
In 2021, 90 percent of the global internet population used a mobile device to go online. It’s simply inexcusable to have a website that does not accommodate mobile users. Using a responsive web design makes it easy for your visitors to interact with your site on every device. To determine if your website is using responsive design, you can look at a few indicators.
These are some elements of your website that may not be optimized for mobile:
Too-small text across the top of the page is not responsive design. Check to see if your menu is cut off because of the screen size. Responsive sites will condense the menu options on smaller screens.
A sure sign your site is not responsive is if you see giant images out of alignment on a smaller screen. Responsive website design will scale down images and keep them aligned with the rest of the design.
If you have to pinch on a mobile screen to read the text, the font size is too small and is likely not responsive.
Similarly, if you have to pinch and zoom in to fill out a form on mobile, it is not a responsive design. Imagine how frustrating zooming in and out and trying to complete a contact form can be. This is a poor user experience for your potential customers.
Is it difficult to click buttons on your website using a mobile device? On smaller screens, your website visitors are likely using their fingers to tap buttons. All the buttons, including the “close” button on any popups, need to be easy to click using your fingers.
2. Slow Loading Speed
As page load time goes from one second to 10 seconds, your bounce rate increases by 123%. This is one web design mistake that clearly costs you because it drives people away.
A slow-loading page is often a symptom of a poorly-designed website. Some common reasons for slow loading websites include:
- Images that are sized or formatted incorrectly
- Too many large multimedia files such as videos, animations, etc.
- Too many HTTP requests
You can use a website speed test to check your site’s loading speed. Ideally, your site should load within 3 seconds. An experienced design team will ensure that your website design doesn’t interfere with loading speed.
3. Confusing Navigation
Website visitors use your navigation menu to move through your site. Typically, the navigation menu appears horizontally in the header of your website. Some websites also include navigation in sidebars or “fat footers.”
According to CrazyEgg, how you structure your navigation has a huge impact on conversions, sales, and bounce rates. If visitors can’t find out where to get what they want, they’ll leave your site. Clear navigation keeps your visitors oriented on the page so they always know where they are.
Some examples of poor navigation design include:
You may have too many items in your navigation header or too many items in drop-down navigation. This takes too long for your visitors to find what they need. A good rule of thumb is to only list the essential items as top-level navigation — about 3-6 items. If your website is extensive, you may benefit from an additional, more detailed site navigation in the footer.
Your navigation is not immediately obvious to your visitors. For example, someone has to click a unique icon in the corner to access your navigation. The best practice is to follow design conventions.
Your links in navigation are unclear about where they lead. Your menu items should be clearly labeled to communicate exactly where your visitors will land after they click. People only click links that make sense and describe what they want.
4. Carousel Images on the Homepage
If the top section of your website automatically rotates through a series of images, you are using a carousel. These features distract and annoy your website visitors. This is especially true if the carousel scrolls on its own because most people do not like website features that move outside their control. Additionally, using a slideshow instead of a single image does not give your visitors enough time to read your message.
In addition to carousels, you should also avoid these types of images:
- Stretched or poorly sized images
- Images that do not adapt to screen size
- Images of text (instead of just using text)
Instead of a carousel at the top of your homepage, we recommend using a single photo that shows your customer instead of you. People like seeing “themselves” because it helps them relate to the problem you are helping them solve.
5. Non-Skimmable Content
The majority of website readers are only skimming your site for the most essential information. They are more likely to leave your site to find what they are looking for instead of reading your large blocks of text. Most visitors have enough time to read 28 percent of the text on an average web page during an average visit.
Content that is easy to scan and more likely to be read by your visitors will include:
- Descriptive subheadings
- Short paragraphs (two to three sentences)
- Bullet points and numbered lists
- Additional formatting such as bold, italicized, or highlighted text
6. Not Prioritizing Conversions
At the end of the day, the goal of your website is to convert your visitors into real-life customers. Every aspect of your website should naturally facilitate this conversion. However, bad website design fails to make the primary action visible and actionable.
For example, do you need to get your customers on the phone to do business with them? If so, you need to prominently feature call-to-action buttons that lead to this action, such as “Schedule a Call.”
For every type of business, your contact information should be immediately visible. You should aim to make it as seamless as possible for a customer to take the next action to do business with you.
7. Irrelevant Content
Irrelevant content is less of a design issue, but it’s still a very common website mistake that deserves to be mentioned. Your website should not be solely focused on your business and how great you are. Instead, your website needs to speak to your customers — their goals, desires, fears, and frustrations.
While it’s important to answer questions like what you offer and who you are, it’s more important to answer the “so what?” for your customer. Explain how your product or service will solve their problems or make their lives better. Detail the benefits your product offers them instead of the features.
Avoid Bad Website Design
One design mistake is not the end of the world. In most cases, poor design choices just annoy your customers. One annoyance may not drive them away — but multiple annoyances will.
Every Best Website follows good web design principles that put your customer’s experience first. If you want to know more about what the Best Website solution for your industry looks like, request a call with one of our team members.