Give your website ‘curb appeal’ that will turn visitors into customers
Every website is unique, so there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to design. In this article, we’ll break down the top 3 most common mistakes in website design, give you tools to avoid them, and provide insight on determining whether you can build the site yourself, or hire a professional to help you.
Most companies find it hard to get conversions on their website, more often than not, this problem is a direct result of poor design. Mistakes in website design can be subtle, but trust me, they show up in a big way. According to research,“94% of negative website feedbackwas design related.” All of which is easily avoidable – we’ll tell you how.
A poorly executed design will leave your visitors (your potential customers) overwhelmed and unsatisfied, ultimately driving them to look elsewhere, but the benefits of a quality design are invaluable.
Although an eye-catching design is imperative, be careful to not get too carried away. A good website design should be the balance of two things: creativity and clarity. A customer conversion is measure that really matters. Here’s a simple metric for you to consider when building a site: creativity + clarity = conversion.
At the end of the day, we are all in business to make money, not to just show off our beautiful creations.
Conversions are more likely to take place once you know exactlywho your target audience is, and what they are searching for in the marketplace.
If you can design a website that meets your users’ needs before they know they need it, then you have a competitive edge which will lead to increased site traffic, leads, and eventually customers (hopefully for life, but that all depends on the quality of your customer service, but we will save that for another blog).
Now, before you get worried that fixing these mistakes are going to bankrupt you, don’t worry.
The steps we’ve outlined below are easy to understand, and even your most basic website professional can implement these changes within minutes.
If you want a leg up from your competition, want to increase your website traffic, and ultimately create more leads that turn into customers, you’re reading the right article.
Now, let’s jump right in and identify the 3 website design mistakes most companies are making today, and applicable solutions on how to fix them.
1. Don’t Ignore Standard Design Practices
Whetherit be a WordPress, Squarespace, or a Wix website, it is important to understand standard website practices and to make sure they are implemented on your site.
First and foremost, your website has to be consistent. From fonts to colors, if your website is not uniform, then you will look unprofessional.
Would you trust someone to provide a service or task when they can’t even make sure their website, essentially the “billboard” for their company and their main advertising channel, uses unified fonts?
Colors and fonts should never be hard to read. Don’t make someone struggle to read about what your business has to offer.
When it comes to colors, the most important thing is to eliminate lighter colors on white backgrounds and darker colors on darker backgrounds.
Did you know Google will penalize your website in the search rankings for having light texts against a light background throughout your site? That’s all because it leads to an overall poor user experience. Yes, Google really does know everything.
Neil Patel, one of the world’s leading SEO experts, identifies light text as one of the top 50 reasons why Google will penalize a website.
In addition to text color issues, font is vitally important. You’d be surprised at the amount of websites using fonts that are virtually unidentifiable.
Don’t be the company that uses a font that looks like some sort of foreign language. (Everyone knows Papyrus died in the 90s) Your bounce rate (how fast someone leaves your website) will be off the charts, and will surely lead to a loss of site visitors.
When it comes to a website design that’s user-friendly, modern, and well-optimized for traffic, how your website “flows” is one of the most important factors.
How easy is your website to navigate?
A customer wants to feel competent, so if you don’t have a website that “flows” well, allowing the customer to easily navigate from page to page, they will be left feeling incompetent – or worse, annoyed that you’ve made your website so difficult to navigate.
Having a customer feel incompetent does not start the professional working relationship off in a positive light.
While its important for your website to be easy to navigate for your customers, it’s just as important for search engine robots.
To provide Google with an assessment of your page, asearch engine robot will follow your internal links and will discover and crawl the pages on your website.
It is not enough to just have a site map telling the robot how to navigate your site, your internal link structure should be easy for the robot to crawl the website without being told how to crawl the site.
The days of one-page website are over. If your website is a single page or not scrollable, get online and find a website designer/ developer immediately.
Although some people disagree, a single page website looks as if your brand is stuck in 2008.
Not only will a single page website not rank well in Google, it won’tlook good when your customer already searched your top competitors and you are the only one stuck in the dark ages.
Do your business a favor, and stay up to date on the ever-evolving landscape of business and websites.
A potential customer will be judging you and your company as soon as they land on your homepage – even if they’re doing it subconsciously. Be hospitable, make your website inviting and easy to converse with – just as you would if someone walked into your door. Don’t turn make them struggle to get to know your business.
2. Don’t have Too Many Distractions
How many times have you been browsing a website when BOOM, out of nowhere, you are stopped dead in your tracks by an annoying popup?
There is nothing worse than being interested in learning about a company and starting to discover what the company is about, when you are suddenly derailed by falling victim to an incessant bombardment of pop-ups.
No one should ever feel as if some pesky popup peddler is selling him or her.
If you absolutely HAVE to use a pop-up, have some decency and wait at least until a user has been on your site for 30 seconds before relentlessly trying to get them to subscribe to an email list.
Just as you wouldn’t ask someone out the second you meet them; you don’t want to ask a visitor who has been to your website for the first time for their personal information, or any sort of commitment without letting themexplore your offerings.
Even worse, is a welcome mat. A welcome mat is a popup that doesn’t even allow you to enter the website without entering in some sort of information.
Welcome mats are only important for companies that, for legal purposes, have age restrictions in order to access their website.
Have you been to a website that is not mobile or tablet friendly, leading to an already less-than-positive experience, and then a popup is served and even better, the popup is not optimized for your handheld device?
The only way to exit out of the popup is to leave the site. And guess what, the likelihood is they you’ll never return again.
When you give the customer the opportunity to reach out to you without intrusion, it makes your company more desirable than the same company who continues to bombard them, sending them countless spam emails, and desperately dying to get their business.
Now, I will admit, popups do sometimes capture emails and some customer information. Business doconvert customers from pop-ups, but at what expense? The important factor to consider here is the conversion ratio.
The brief moment when a user is forced to fill in their information does not lend to a positive subconscious view of your brand and your site. The UX (User experience ) is dampened – that’s unquestionable.
According to Crazy Egg, whitespace is necessary on your website.
A user expects to be met by a professional business. They do not want to feel like they are entering a messy child’s room when they land on your homepage.
This is exactly what happens when you decide to cram everything on your website into small sections without having enough white space and allowing the visitor to breathe. You want their guide their attention, not fight for it.
Another mistake businesses are making is auto-playing videos that are embedded on their website as soon as the user lands on the page. This leads to high bounce rates, low conversions, and just an overall bad website design.
Everyone can remember a time when they were scrolling through a website and a video started to play loudly and without warning.
For most, the first reaction is to quickly scramble for the exit tab and leave the site. Most of those visitors never return.
In a recent Firefox survey, it was found that survey 90% of people prefer a web browser that blocks auto playing videos. If that’s not enough of a deterrent, I don’t know what is.
Put your users’ needs first. A landing page should be clutter-free, noise-free, to the point, and without distractions.
In the digital era we live in, people’s attention spans are getting shorter and shorter.
The average human attention span is just 6-8 seconds .
Don’t waste those valuable seconds trying to sell a customer or capture an email address before they even know anything about your business and what you have to offer.
Let them explore your beautifully designed website, and make the decision for themselves
3. Don’t Have Fundamental SEO Issues
Not all web designers have your best interest in mind. Many of them will actually not optimize your site for basic standard SEO practices on purpose.
It’s not that they’re doing this to be malicious; often times, it’s simply not done out of pure laziness or a lack of understanding.
Most designers are either using a platform that does not come with basic SEO functionalities or capabilities, they don’t know how to implement proper SEO, or they simply don’t have the time.
WordPress is the platform I highly recommend; it is used by over 75 million businesses from one-man operations to the nations top Fortune 500 companies.
WordPress comes with the SEO capabilities that other platforms such as Wix and Squarespace do not.
WordPress was originally designed and set up for blogging, but has evolved significantly beyond that.
WordPress offers tens of thousands of differentadd-ons, called plug-ins, some are paid and some are free, that allow for virtually endless customizations within the platform.
One of WordPress’s most famous SEOplugins, Yoast SEO, allows you to handle everything from 301 re-directs to Google search snippets. Yoast will also set up your site maps, indexing parameters, and much more.
If you currently have a WordPress site and are not using the Yoast SEO plugin, you should download it immediately to reap the SEO benefits of this extremely robust plugin.
The first sign of an SEO-friendly website is the website’s page speed. If a website does not load around 3 seconds, it is not optimized.
Don’t know your page speed? You can check how quickly your page loads through Google’s eyes here
There is a lot that goes into page speed, but one simple thing your website designer and/or developer should be doing is optimizing the size of your images so they display and load on your website in the quickest time possible.
In addition to size optimization, your images should all be displaying as secure content.
If your website does not display a padlock in the URL section on homepage your website is not seen as secure in Goggles eyes ( See Padlock next to https in picture below)
This is caused by mixed content. If you do not fix your mixed content issues, you will be continuously losing rankings and may not even display on Google at all. In addition to site ranking issues, users who land on a page without a secure SSL will be warned, with a popup of all things, that they are about to enter a page that is NOT SECURE.
Website designers should also ensure that all your file names are optimized for certain keywords that your brand is trying to rank for. As well as making sure the images are compressed (resized to the correct size that we be displayed on the website).
When an image is uploaded to your server (the place where your website lives), those images should be properly identified so that when Google crawls your website, it knows exactly what the images on your website are about.
The top three necessities when it comes to SEO and images, is to have an optimized file name and proper metadata which consists of a title tag (title of the image) and an alt tag (description of the image).
Google takes into account various signals in order to determine how valuable your website or webpage is to the visitors who are searching for terms related to your business.
Once Google has tested all its signals, it will decide if your site is worthy of being matched to the people who are searching on Google for those specific phrases. This is why proper website design is critical!
Another important ranking factor is a user’s session time, and how many pages that user visited.
When a user stays on a website for a longer-than-normal period, Google decides that your site is valuable and will continue to display your website in the search results.
If you send users to another site via opening a new tab ( redirect ) after a user clicks on a link, then the visitor will leave your website.
When a user is redirected to a third party page, it is less on page time on your website, eventually leading to a lower ranking.
It is important to link out to relevant sources in things such as blogs and quotations, but try to limit the outside linking as much as possible.
Not all web users are not technologically savvy. If a link on your site directs someone to a new tab in your browser, more chances than not, they will not return back to your site as they go down the never-ending rabbit hole that is the Internet.
It is imperative to keep users on your page as long as possible, this drastically improves the likelihood that they’ll become a customer – and hopefully, a lifelong advocate of your brand.
There you have it. The top 3 website design mistakes that you and your competitors are most likely making.
Simple design tweaks make a big difference, not only for your users, but for your business. These simple design implementations can have a significant effect on your bottom line.
Hiring a competent website designer could be the difference between a successful business and a failing one.
A slow website leads to lower user interaction, unpredictable user intent, and an overall bad user experience.
Now, imagine a website that is clean, to the point, free of distractions, quickly serves happy customers with the information they are looking for, in an SEO optimized manner, bringing those same happy customers back time and time again. Now imagine that site is yours.
Want to understand how your site measures up to all we have discussed today?
Give Revealize a call at 949.630.0452 . We will give you a free assessment of your online presence.