Creating a website can be difficult. There’s so much to decide! What kind of design do I want (professional, minimalist, bright)? What do I want it to portray about my business? How many pages should I have? What information should I include?
With so many different elements to think about, it’s no wonder that decisions get made in a rush. Often, this results in a website that has haphazardly been thrown together with little thought to the user’s experience.
To make your job easier, we thought we’d share 7 common mistakes that people often make when building or maintaining their website, so you don’t fall prey to the same blunders.
Focusing Too Much on Design
Adding all the latest bells and whistles to your website might make it look awesome, but it can also make the website difficult to navigate around. If the goal of your website is to provide information on your business, then it’s counterintuitive to use abstract fonts that are hard to read. When deciding on your design, keep the user’s experience at the forefront of your mind. Are they going to be able to find the information that they need?
Similarly, you also want to consider your website speed. Large, high resolution photos look good but they can also really slow down the speed of the website. We might be happy to wait while our masterpiece of a website loads, but your potential customers and clients might not be. Research has shown that nearly half of web users expect a site to load in 2 second and may abandon the site if it doesn’t load within 3 seconds.
To avoid this, make sure that the photos that you use are no larger than they need to be (make sure you’re decreasing their size before you upload them to your website, not as you’re inserting them to the page) and be selective about the number that you use per page.
Focusing Too Much on Functionality
Like we mentioned in the section above, it’s important to consider how easy it is to read and navigate your website. However, you don’t want to disregard aesthetics altogether. Humans are visual creatures. Something as simple as a bad design can make your business look less professional or less appealing to potential customers.
When designing a website, you want it to look professional and striking. What is it that’s going to attract the eye of potential customers or clients? This is when it’s great to have an experienced graphic designer on your side. They will help guide you through the process and create a website that is both functional and beautiful.
One mistake many website owners make is to make it too cluttered. The goal when adding text and images is to still leave enough white space on the page. This is also going to make it much easier for your website users to read, navigate and find the information that they need.
Be choosy about the number of graphics and text you have on each page. When displaying important information (for example, product features and unique selling points), consider using dot points to help simplify the information and make it easier to process.
Not Having a Mobile Responsive Site
One major change in the industry over the past five years is the huge increase of people using their smartphones or tablets to browse the internet. This means it’s now much more important to ensure your website is mobile responsive.
The term “Mobile Responsive” is used to describe a website that can identify the size of the screen its being viewed on and adapt accordingly. Samsung phone? Apple tablet? Toshiba laptop? No dramas. The website will be displayed differently on each to make it easier for the viewer to navigate and read.
This is obviously important to improve the readability of the site and improve user experience. However, many people often overlook how important it is for search engine optimisation (making sure that Google ranks your website highly in its search results).
When someone is searching for information on their mobile device, Google will prioritise websites that are mobile responsive as they consider this to be more useful for the searcher. Failing to make your website mobile responsive might mean that you’ll miss out on new prospects from finding your business online.
Not Spending enough time on the Content
One of the most important things to include on your website is good quality content (the text on the page) that can be found and indexed by search engines such as Google.
While optimising your website for Google is important, don’t focus on this as you’re writing the content (instead, think of it like a bonus). When deciding what information to write on a page, consider your target reader. What is it that’s going to capture their interest? What information are they going to find useful?
Not Keeping Your Website Up To Date
Did you know that Search Engines like Google can tell how frequently a website is being updated? In fact, it’s one of the things they consider when deciding which site to rank higher in their search results. The theory is that a website that is regularly maintained is more likely to be correct and useful for a viewer. A website that hasn’t been touched in years might be abandoned and out of date.
More importantly, having out of date information could prevent a client or customer from getting in touch with you. Even worse, if they realise the information is out of date, they might consider the website to be stale and not properly consider other relevant information.
A Hard to Find Contact Page
What’s the goal of your website? Do you want to attract new customers to your store? Do you want to stay in touch with your clients? Do you want to be able to advertise your upcoming sale? Whatever it is, it’s important that viewers have a way to contact you if they have more questions. This is why it’s important to have your contact details in a place that’s easy to find.
A page titled “Contact Us” or “Find Us” in the menu usually does the trick. Even better, you could add your main contact details in the footer where it can be easily found on every page.
We hope these tips help you in creating a great website. If you want more information on what works, we’ve also created a list of further reading for you.
- Converting your website to a Mobile Responsive site
- How to use colour on your website
- Tips for writing great content and a few extra tips here
- How to write content that works well with Google
- Writing great content on your 'About Us' page
- The 8 most hated fonts (to avoid on your website)
- Find the right images to use on your website