The 10 Most Common Web Design Mistakes
By Keith Koons
With a recent surge towards mobile browsing and cool new design options like parallax scrolling, the web has seen millions of websites receive facelifts over the past few years. It has also led to a lot of poor web design choices that prevent consumers from fully connecting with brands. From unattractive homepages to weak content, poor navigation, and countless errors, there are a number of things that the average website can improve on.
Below, you’ll find the top ten most common web design mistakes and how to keep them from hurting your site’s overall engagement.
1. Failing to Use Responsive Design
Since over forty percent of modern searches are conducted on smartphones and tablets, having a website that can display properly on those devices is of paramount importance for businesses. However, recent estimates show that less than seventeen percent of the world’s 876 million websites have been created with responsive web design. Since Google introduced a search update that penalizes non-responsive sites in mobile searches, this is a major problem for those who generate leads online.
2. Relying On a Free Website Builder
Numerous companies offer “drag-and-drop” website building apps that claim to allow users to launch a new website in minutes. The problem with these types of services is that each design facet adds dozens of lines to the back-end code and makes the site load slower. Over time, this can lead to serious performance issues and countless errors.
If budget restrictions are a problem, then consider purchasing a premium theme that already has the look and style of your ideal website.
3. Forgetting About Actual Design Elements
Some businesses are also guilty of either going completely overboard or flat-out ignoring the design elements of their website. Too many customizations can lead to the same issues talked about in the previous topic, plus it can distract the reader from the actual content. Minimalist websites with very few design features can also be a turn-off to visitors though, so finding a balance is essential.
This same concept applies to photos, videos, banners, and other types of graphics as well. For most websites, the entire page should be designed to lead the consumer’s eye towards making a favorable action (opting in, requesting information, making a purchase, etc.).
4. Poor Use of Headers, Sidebars, and Footers
People often assume that heading areas, footers, and sidebars are designed exclusively for advertisements. However, it’s a big red flag when a webpage displays a high number of ads and banners, especially when there’s little content to go along with it. These areas can be much better utilized for additional navigation within the site.
Now, that’s not to say that it’s wrong to place a banner across the top of the page advertising a special promotion. This only means to remember the importance of design and balance throughout the site.
5. Not Capturing Customer Information
While some sites may have too many ad placements, other domains might spend countless hours and advertising dollars driving customers to their site, only to fail at capturing a sale or even a lead. The odds are strongly against that missed customer returning on their own, which means that even more revenue needs to be invested in retargeting campaigns or other strategies to win back the customer. Some corporations waste millions per year trapped in this vicious cycle without ever actually capturing the consumer’s information.
This problem can be largely eliminated by creating a homepage opt-in offer that will appeal to your visitors. It can be something as simple as an instant discount or free shipping on retail sites, while others may want to offer an appealing freebie or a contest giveaway.
6. Lacking Top-Quality Content Throughout
The number one ranking criteria for the search engines has always been the quality of the content displayed on websites. Yet, domain owners frequently spend thousands of dollars to build a sleek, beautiful site and then treat the actual writing as an afterthought. This affects far more than search results though, because it is also the number one way to engage visitors and increase conversion rates.
To determine if your content is high enough in quality, look no further than your bounce and click through rates for visitors. This will clearly show if people are viewing multiple pages and taking actions on-site or leaving quickly. Bottom line: When designing a website, give just as much consideration to your content.