Because most of us use our smartphones to find products and services, all websites must now be “responsive” designed, i.e., optimized for any-sized device. If your site is not responsive, and you plan a facelift sometime soon, this list of the most common website design mistakes can make the time and thought into a redesign more productive and profitable.
- IGNORING MOBILE
Did you know that Google penalizes non-responsive sites in mobile searches? Since 75% of searches come from Google and over 90% from the Chrome browser in mobile phones, if you want your site found in searches, your website must be responsive-designed.
- BEWARE OF THE FREE WEBSITE BUILDER
It’s tempting to use the “drag-and-drop” website builders that claim to give you a full-functioning, responsive website in minutes. The problem is that because they have to be “all things to all people” regardless of your unique message and needs, these time- and money-savers use long lines of code on the back end causing them to load more slowly. If budget is a problem, we’re happy to advise you on the best, inexpensive solutions.
- ACCEPTING BAD DESIGN
A website’s design requires balance. We all agree that the purpose of a website is to lead a consumer toward a favorable decision: to opt in to your newsletter, request information, make a purchase, visit your store, decide to select you to solve their problem, or share your site with colleagues and friends. Over-the-top design can be a distraction. Minimalist design can be a turn off.
- NOT CAPTURING INFORMATION
Every marketer knows that to generate revenue, you need to have strategies to keep your name in front of a potential customer. Remarketing and retargeting enable your website to be easily found and opened again. These are good strategies, but pale in comparison to actually collecting names and email addresses so you can send personalized emails, newsletter, coupons, or discount notices to all who sign up or register on your site.
- POOR QUALITY CONTENT
Did you know that the #1 criteria for your website ranking in search results is high quality content? It’s not uncommon today to see absolutely beautiful websites with huge images and fancy fonts deliver content as though it was afterthought. For the 20+ years that we’ve designed websites, we’ve never wavered from this: content first—then design.
- INFORMATION THAT’S HARD TO FIND
When a user wants to find your address, phone number, email address, or store hours, where do they go? Not the Yellow Pages; no, they bring up your website. This information must be extremely easy and intuitive to find. If you sell a product, make it easy to find directions to your store or, if an online store, return policies, FAQs, and shipping details. When designing your layout, list what your audience must know, and make this information the easiest to find.
- FORGETTING ABOUT UPDATES
Does your business stay the same year after year? Probably not. Whether you add new products or services, hire new key employees, revamp your marketing message, hold an event, grow or downsize—it’s always changing. Your website needs to reflect that.
- HTTP INSTEAD OF HTTPS
Check those four letters in front of your domain name! If yours is HTTP instead of HTTPS, we recommend updating to HTTPS. Why? The simple reason is, Google prefers it. The “S” stand for “Secure”. Not having that “S” makes it easier for an attacker to deliver malicious content to your website and shut it down. To avoid cybersecurity risks in general, be sure to update your site’s framework on a regular basis.
- NOT CHECKING YOUR SITE REGULARLY
There’s nothing more irritating than getting a “Page Not Found” error. This happens when something is wrong in the site’s code—usually a broken link. We recommend going through every page on your website at least quarterly; weekly if it has high traffic. If you find an error code, have your developer fix it—sometimes it takes someone who knows how to find and fix bugs and problems.
- NOT USING OR EVEN HAVING ANALYTICS
Google Analytics should be installed in the code of every website. It’s free and the most useful tool you have in your online marketing arsenal. It helps you find underperforming pages, know where your visitors are spending their time, and from which page (or on which product) visitors leave your site. Another mistake is having Google Analytics on your website and never going there.