Top 5 Website Design Mistakes
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Posted by: Barry Craft, Your Marketing Crew
Poorly designed and/or optimized websites can cost you money in the form of lost sales, decreased visitor traffic or lower search engine rankings. Many of these website design mistakes can be easily fixed on current sites and certainly be avoided on future sites.
In my 14 years of website design, I have seen my share of poorly designed websites. When I first sat down to draft up content for this article, I originally had the working title as website mistakes. However as I started to jot down ideas, I decided I should split these into two categories for two articles.
One article would deal with the design aspects of the website and the second article, which will be published next week, will deal with the marketing aspects. They are both important and certainly relate to each other, but the mindset for each is different enough that I feel they need to be covered separately.
It was tough to limit it to only 5 but I will list them in no particular order.
Common website design mistakes
1. Websites that are hard to read: This is a generalized category that contains many common offenders such as:
- A busy background that makes the text hard to read
- Using a font size that is too small
- Using a font color that does not have enough contrast relative to the background color
- Having long paragraphs or large blocks of text
2. Inconsistent or poor navigation: I have seen numerous sites that do not have the same navigation on all pages, and that makes it frustrating and annoying for your visitors to navigate and difficult for the search engines to index properly. For the most part, all pages should be accessible from all other pages.
3. Poor spelling and grammar: Having a website that is free of spelling and grammatical errors goes a long way toward presenting a professional image. This is often the first impression people have of you and your business. If they see that you did not take time to even proofread the content, they might also wonder what other aspects of your business you not take time with or care about. It is also my belief that this aspect affects your search engine rankings to a slight degree because the search engines and especially Google do not like poorly constructed pages.
4. Lack of quality content: This is one area I find many people don't even think about because they do not consider it to be that important. I can assure you it is important to your visitors and especially the search engines. I'm not saying that your business will fail or your website is terrible if you break this rule. But because many people ignore this important factor, it gives you an opportunity to rise above the sea of mediocrity and the noise of your competitors and brand yourself as the local expert in your niche.
Many people have told me, "I'm only a plumber" or "I am only a pet sitter, how much is there to talk about?" I say, "Plenty." Regardless of what product or service you sell, there is always an opportunity to educate and inform your customers and prospects. By doing so, people will begin to trust and respect you because they realize you have their best interests at heart. People love reading about safety tips, ways to save time or money, things to avoid, questions to ask a potential vendor or other similar topics as they relate to your business. This provides additional ways for your visitors and the search engines to find your website and having valuable content such as this will also inspire people to recommend your site to others.
5. Make it easy for people to connect with you: When a prospect is on your website and they find it difficult to contact you, they immediately think you don't care and don't want to hear from them or you are hiding something. That is probably not the case as most people just don't think about this. I have talked to many consumers and that is the feedback I have received.
Avoid this by having your phone number prominently displayed on all pages and encouraging your visitors to ask questions or leave comments (through a contact form or blog). It is also a good idea to have social media buttons such as those for Facebook and Twitter so that people can follow you on those social media platforms as well as recommend and share your website with their peers.
If you evaluate your website with regards to each of these five topics, I'm sure you can find areas that need improvement. Making your website more attractive, professional and easier to navigate can certainly improve the image people have of your business, and that can lead to increased visitor traffic and website profits.
Barry Craft is the founder and CEO of Your Marketing Crew, LLC. Please visit YourMarketingCrew.com/download-free-seo-ebook and get on the advance notification list to get the details of how you can get a copy of his new e-book, "Website On-page SEO Guide" for free.