10 Most Common Website Design Mistakes

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.
top 10 mistakes

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

Website Design Trends for 2018

blog 2018 trendsWith a new year on the horizon, we like to share what we believe are the top web design trends that may be applicable for the clients we serve. You’ll quickly notice that it’s all about designing for the way we access the web now and where the web is going in the future. Mobile is up over 35% from last year and the trend won’t be slowing down.

  1. Search engine giant, Google, has announced that they will use the mobile version of the web as their primary search engine. This means that Google will rank mobile sites higher in their index than sites that are not mobile responsive. If you’re website is not mobile-friendly yet, it’s time to get serious about a website design upgrade.
  2. The use of whitespace is becoming more important as designers learn that whitespace, or negative space, makes content stand out so that it’s easier to read and navigate. Here’s a recent sample of ours »
  3. Irregular grids are replacing the uniform grids that have served as the base for WordPress themes. WordPress will likely continue to have security holes and its bulky, buggy code will continue to leave it a target for hackers worldwide.
  4. Bold fonts and bright colors are replacing oversize images so users can focus on content that will likely remain the most critical component of page rankings. Unlike images that slow pages down, scaling the size of typography wont impact performance.
  5. Responsive design has been around for a number of years because we now use phones, tablets, smart watches, desktops and smart TVs. So this design principle is not going anywhere.
  6. For designers, scalable vector graphics (SVGs) have been part of our toolbox for a few years and we expect this graphic format to overtake more traditional files format such as PNG, GIF, and JPG. SVGs don’t lose quality when scaled up or down and don’t affect page speed, so we’ll be integrating more SVG graphics in the sites we build this year and beyond.

In 2018, our focus will be on designing simple yet powerful websites that are optimized for mobile devices and care deeply about the user experience. We will use new formats, styles, and technologies to help our clients say more, do more, share more, and enjoy a greater return on their digital investments.

What Makes a Good Home Page?

You get about 3 seconds to make a great first impression, so the home page must capture the heart and mind of your visitors. If it does, you have another 3 seconds to arouse enough curiosity to compel your visitor to want to know more. The solution to their problem must be obvious—both in words and design. It must work well, on all kinds of devices and for all levels of user expertise.

great Home PageEmotional connection. In the time it takes to make a first impression, a visitor wants answers to 3 questions: 1) who are you? 2) can you solve my problem? and 3) if you can, answer 3 visitor questions: who you are, what you do, and what’s in it for them. Visitors come to your page because they have a problem that needs solved. They are looking for a business or a person or a cause that will satisfy a need and make an emotional connection that motivates them to dive deeper into the site.

Meaningful language. People connect visually, but they also connect through a common language. The home page is not the place for jargon or boasting, and definitely not the place for long paragraphs. Visitors will quickly scan for words and phrases, then buttons or links to learn more.

Respectful. Avoid the use of flashy objects that move, make noise, or complicate or compromise the connection experience. If you offer a video, it’s considered bad manners to auto-start it. Same for audio. Let your visitor decide when or whether to engage in these sensory experiences.

Device friendly. Visitors come to your site on their desktop computer at work, through a tablet at home or in the field, or a smartphone from about anywhere. A site that is not easy to navigate using a mouse or a finger, or can’t adjust to any screen size, lowers the probability that the visitor will stay on your site long enough to solve a problem, make a purchase, or engage at all.

Actionable. Solve problems or offer information that make your visitors’ lives easier, like an obvious or clickable phone number, a sign up form that doesn’t ask for more than an email address, a social media link that actually works. Keep search engines happy too with relevant keywords, a textual site map, and a well-researched and tested page description meta tag.

Your home page gets the bulk of site traffic, making it undoubtedly the most important page of your website. This is where you get visitors to dig deeper. This is where you convert traffic to leads, and leads to customers.