5 Website Mistakes to Avoid

Website design choices can make a huge impact on your viewers’ experience. It’s easy to get caught up in a pretty design and forget the functionality and how it works as a whole. To that end, we put together a list of the 5 biggest mistakes we see in many of the websites we evaluate and some quick tips on how you can fix those issues.

Mistake #1 – Too complex

Complexity equals confusion.

Websites rely on visual hierarchy and clarity of design to help guide the reader through the site. If your website navigation isn’t simple, or your users have a hard time finding your content, you’ll lose them.

A clean, well-organized design is and will always be better than trying to be fancy or complex.

Simplify and organize your navigation to make it clear where a user has to go to find information.

Don’t create too many pages or try to jam too much information into a small section of your site. Users have no problem scrolling.

Don’t go overboard with special effects or animations. Movement on screen can be visually interesting, but remember, the eye needs to have areas of calm.

Mistake #2 – No clear call to action

As soon as someone visits your site, it needs to be as clear as possible what action you want them to take.

Make sure the call to action is easy to find and users understand what they need to do.

  • Do you want them to call you? Give them a number to call.
  • Do you want them to message you? Include a form.
  • Do you want them to shop your store? Link to your products.

If you have a series of steps they need to take, make sure you walk them through the process in as few clicks as possible.

Mistake #3 – A hard-to-read website

Great typography can make a website easy to read, but making mistakes on a website can cost you visitors and money. Here are a few things to avoid:

  • Text blocks that are too wide. Your text block should not be any wider than 700-800 pixels for optimum readability.
  • Large chunks of copy. Break up your type into bite-sized chunks. A visitor should be able to understand the gist of your content by just reading headlines. Use images and graphics to also help break up your copy.
  • Lack of contrast with your typography. Dark text should sit on light backgrounds and light text should sit on dark backgrounds. Headlines should feel visually different from the body copy. Try squinting to see if you see large areas of grey or if things feel visually distinct.

Mistake #4 – Neglecting your website

Many website owners adopt an “if you build it they will come” attitude. However, this is not just bad for SEO, but it can turn off a visitor if your website is stale and the content isn’t fresh. Your website is like a pet.

  • Feed your website. A website needs fresh content on a consistent basis.
  • Give your website attention. Keep your website clutter-free and get rid of out-of-date pages, plugins, etc.
  • Groom your website. Give your website a fresh new look every few years.

Mistake #5 – Too many PDFs

All too often we run across websites that have information a user needs but can only access by opening or downloading a pdf to get the information. If the content can be added as web content, then add it as web content.

  • PDFs require an app to download.
  • PDFs aren’t SEO friendly.
  • PDFs aren’t mobile friendly.

You can offer a printable PDF as an option, but make sure the content is available as web content first. Exceptions may include legal documents or forms required to be available as downloads but that don’t add value to the site’s on-page content.

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