Written by Alexandria Yarbrough
Did you know that 48% of internet users say web design is their number one way of determining the credibility of a business? Furthermore, it only takes users 50 milliseconds to form an opinion of your website, meaning you have less than a second to leave a good first impression.
This might seem like a lot of pressure, but don’t be intimidated. Building a website is an exciting opportunity to showcase your brand to the world and grow your business. To help you get started, we’re reviewing some of the top mistakes you should avoid when building your website.
1. Poor Navigation
User-friendly navigation is a key component of any successful website. Yet, many websites end up with over-complex navigation menus and hidden links, making it a pain to scroll through and ultimately driving users away. It’s best to focus on clear and concise navigation during the brainstorming and site mapping stage of building your website. Organize your content into categories and subcategories with descriptive labels to guide users to where they want to be. For larger websites or those with hierarchically arranged pages such as e-commerce websites, consider using breadcrumb navigation as a way for users to effectively navigate your website and alternate between desired pages. In any case, a logical and consistent menu layout across all pages will help enhance the overall user experience.
2. Misuse of Keywords
While SEO is essential for driving traffic, there are many cases where websites end up either overstuffing keywords or trying to target the same keyword on multiple pages. This harms a website’s readability and lowers its ranking in search engine results. Your main priority should be providing valuable content for your audience and, in doing so, try to naturally incorporate relevant keywords. Conduct keyword research to find the best keywords that align with your content and user intent. From there, you can start incorporating those keywords into your page titles, headings, meta descriptions, and alt tags for images to enhance your content’s overall quality and relevance.
3. Excessive Ads
Monetizing your website through advertisements is a common practice, but excessive ads can make your site look cluttered and unprofessional. Strike a balance between generating revenue and maintaining a clean, user-friendly design. Consider the placement and size of ads to ensure they do not interrupt the flow of content or negatively impact user experience. Additionally, opt for relevant and non-intrusive ad formats that align with your audience’s interests, avoiding annoying pop-ups and auto-playing videos.
4. Ignoring Analytics
One of the top mistakes to avoid, not just on your website but also in life, is failing to utilize the tools and resources readily available to you. Many fall into the trap of thinking their work is done once their website is up and running, but that’s far from the case. Skipping analytics tools such as Google Analytics leads to missed opportunities for improvement and growth. You should make it a habit to regularly analyze data to better understand how users interact with your site. Data on your most visited pages, bounce rates, and conversion rates will all prove useful to you when it comes to improving and refining your website.
5. Too Much Going On
When clicking on your website, you don’t want the first thing users to feel is overwhelmed. We know you have a lot to say, and it all feels important, but you must resist the urge to cram every bit of information on your home page. A crammed and overcrowded website is a quick way to deter visitors and increase bounce rates. On top of that, having too much text may hurt your site’s ranking, as search engines have a more difficult time extracting relevant text.
6. Improper Use of White Space
White space, or negative space, is the empty space on your website. Understanding how to properly utilize your whitespace is essential in building a balanced, visually appealing website. Too much whitespace makes your website look lazy and bland, while not adding enough will make your content look cluttered. Be sure you are strategically placing whitespace to improve readability and direct the user’s attention to the important elements of your website. Having a nicely balanced layout will enhance user engagement and promote a sense of professionalism on your website.
7. Not Optimizing for Mobile
With most users accessing websites on mobile devices, failing to optimize for mobile is one of the leading causes of poor user experience. Make sure your website is responsive and can function across different screen sizes. You can test your site on mobile devices to identify and resolve image scaling, navigation, and touch interaction issues. You may even want to consider implementing a mobile-first design approach where you prioritize the mobile user’s experience and then adapt it to larger screens.
8. Lack of Contact Info
One of the simplest mistakes to avoid when building your website is making your contact information difficult for users to find. If users decide to purchase or use your services, transparency and accessibility are crucial. You should have a clear, easy-to-find contact page with all relevant information, such as an email address, phone number, and possibly a contact form for them to reach you. If your business has a physical location, you should also include a map and directions for customers to find you.
9. Visually Unappealing
Don’t make the mistake of ignoring visuals. A professional design that aligns with your brand and appeals to your audience is crucial in drawing users in and standing out from competitors. Your website should include high-quality images, complementary colors, and consistency. Again, your website is often a customer’s first impression of your brand. You want to avoid looking sloppy or outdated. A well-designed website will give users a positive impression and encourage them to stay and explore your content further.
In terms of design, consistency is key to creating a cohesive, followable brand experience. Ensure your website’s design, content, messaging, and tone are consistent throughout all pages and align with what you want for your brand identity. Make sure you’re using the same color palette, fonts, and logo across your website to reinforce your brand image. Creating this sense of cohesiveness and reliability will enhance user experience and improve brand recognition.