Hey, we get it. Knowing what makes a website great can be tricky to the untrained eye.
Although some elements of web design can be down to personal taste and design trends at the time of creation, there are a few basic standards every website should stick to.
So, whether you're looking to invest in your first ever website - or your company's current site is turning your clients off, here are our top 9 website design mistakes to avoid.
1. Inconsistent Branding
Consistency is everything - you want to make that sale? You need to make your website's visitors feel safe and secure. They need to trust your Brand.
You know what makes them re-think parting with their hard-earned cash? A website that looks like it's three different websites smashed together with five logo variations, twelve different fonts (with their own colors and sizes) and pixelated photos.
If you don't have any Branding guidelines, you need to get some created and make sure everyone that works on your site follows them.
A trustworthy website has a clear, defined page structure that's implemented throughout the site. It uses the same, up-to-date logo throughout and clear, professional photos.
Your potential customers and clients are more aware than ever of online fraud and websites trying to get their card details by pretending to be other well-established companies. If two of your website's pages look like completely different companies own them - your visitors could think they're being duped into visiting a fake site.
It's as simple as this: When your website looks professional, visitors will trust your company to look after them.
2. Low Quality Images
This one goes hand-in-hand with consistent Branding - high quality, original photography that shows off your amazing services/products/facilities/staff will sell your company to potential clients before they even read what you do.
39% of people will stop engaging with a website if images won’t load or take too long to load.
Blurry photos, tiny photos, photos that are obviously another company's or cheesy stock photos will do your company no justice online.
3. Confusing Copy
You've heard it all before - content is king. Having persuasive, well-written copy on your site isn't a nice-to-have - it's essential.
Have you ever visited a company's website and after looking through four or five pages you still have NO IDEA what it is they do? Bad copy.
Is your website full of spelling mistakes, bad grammar and plain old factual errors? Bad copy.
"If you could taste words, most corporate websites, brochures and sales materials would remind you of stale, soggy rice cakes: nearly calorie free, devoid of nutrition and completely unsatisfying"
- Jason Fried
The content writing on your website is what sells your company to your clients. It's what tells them who you are and what you stand for. It also shows them exactly how choosing you over your competitors will improve their life.
"If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the Brand."
- Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks
So, stand out from the very noisy crowd with a clear, consistent message to your customers and clients.
4. No H1 Headings or H2 Subheadings
There's two reasons why H1 headings and H2 subheadings are essential. The first - people tend to skim information online. They're used to sifting through thousands of bits of information each day, their brain automatically filters out what's useful and what's not.
"On the Internet, news is consumed a la carte. If someone shows up on the main page of a website and doesn't see anything of interest, they leave."
- Drew Curtis, Fark.com
If your site's visitors are greeted with a wall of text, they're going to head on to the next company's website that's easier to browse.
The second reason is all about Google.
There's over 6,500,000,000 searches EVERY DAY worldwide. Search engines have to comb through every website that's indexed in the world to find the most relevant results for each query people look for.
Want to make it easier for the bots to decide where to rank you (and therefore rank higher)? Use headings and subheadings in your content - Google's bots love them.
5. Badly Structured Navigation
Again, this is all about ease of use for your visitors.
If they can't find what they want, they'll leave. And quickly! The 3-click navigation rule is popular for good reason. If a visitor to your site can't find exactly what they want in 3 clicks or under, they'll get frustrated and might leave.
There are standard navigation menu layouts that people are now used to - and the average person doesn't like change when trying to interact with a company.
6. Missing Contact Details
44% of online users will leave a company's website if there's no contact information or phone number.
That's nearly half of your website's visitors gone - simply because there isn't a phone number and email address on your website.
Don't want your contact details displayed prominently on the home page? Put it in the footer. People expect your contact details to be there.
If you don't want people to contact you, what is your website for? The end goal for the majority of websites is to convert a casual visitor into a loyal client or customer. The first step towards that is clear, easy-to-find contact details and a user-friendly contact form.
7. Slow Loading Time
People are getting increasingly impatient and expect instant gratification online. The days of the dial up modem are long gone and visitors to your site now expect it to load in 3 seconds or less.
In fact, 47% of people expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less. That's right, 2 seconds or less. You've probably had sneezes that lasted longer.
As well as expecting a fully loaded website in less than 3 seconds, the average user takes just 10 seconds to form their opinion on your company from the site. So, it's a good idea to make sure it's quick to load and when it does, it's impressive.
8. Not Being Mobile Responsive
This is an industry standard at this stage.
Mobile devices now account for nearly 2 of every 3 minutes spent online.
If your site isn't mobile responsive, you're going to lose out. Not only do people expect mobile-friendly website experiences, search engines expect them too. Google actively ranks mobile responsive sites ahead of non-responsive websites.
9. Your Website is Not Secure
SSL certificates are essential - especially in a post-GPDR world. Having an SSL cert means your website will present as HTTPS instead of HTTP when people visit. It will also display the little padlock by your URL.
This basic level of security gives your site's visitors trust in dealing with your company online - especially if you're an online store or take payments online.
Additionally, Google Chrome users receive a warning that any HTTP site they visit isn't secure and Google ranks HTTPS sites higher than their HTTP counterparts.
Basically, get your website secure and reap the benefits!
So, how did your website measure up?
There is so much to consider when crafting and maintaining your website, it can feel a little overwhelming. If you'd like some help and go through what's best for your company online, get in touch.