A professional and unique online presence is very important for establishing your credibility and attracting new clients and audience. For that reason, it's essential that you try to avoid the most common web design mistakes when building a new website or redesigning your existing one. Even if you have an existing website, you can still look for and fix these mistakes with a little effort. In this post, I talk about 17 common web design mistakes you should avoid and how you can solve them.
1. Not having a Search box
With all the information that you have on your website, a visitor may want to look for something that isn’t already visible. Having a search box will help visitors find what they want. Not having the search box will make it harder for people to find what they’re looking and hence decide to leave your site.
To solve this: (1) Either use the Search plugin that came with your theme by placing it in the sidebar widgets section (or any other widget section that makes it easy for them to see it) or (2) use Google Custom Search which adds a search box to your homepage to help people find what they need on your website.
2. Poor readability
In order to grab your audience's attention, not only do you need an attractive design but you also need text that they are able to read to grasp what you’re offering and talking about. Some websites use text that’s very hard to read which make it a pain for the audience and hence not enjoy your website experience.
To solve this: Use a Sans serif typeface that allows easy reading on the web.
3. Unorganized content layout
Your website’s content is what drives traffic to it. If it’s not well organized, you’re going to compromise the traffic and will make your website a success or failure. Some people might just put text on their website without properly organizing them using headings, sub-headings, bullets, keywords, and paragraphs.
Most readers will only scan through information and not necessarily read the whole thing. So, if they aren’t able to pick out points of interest from your page, they’ll simply skip the whole thing.
To solve this: Use headings and sub-headings to divide your content into organized sections and use margins to create enough space between text and images.
4. Bad Navigation
Your audience should be able to navigate through your website with ease. It shouldn’t be difficult for them to find what they’re looking for. Bad or unclear navigation will make core info hard to find and cause your audience to leave your website if they don’t find what they want in less than a few clicks.
To solve this: (1) Organize and structure your navigation so that everything is accessible, efficient, and clear, and (2) make your navigation smooth so that your links are descriptive of what they really link to.
5. Inconsistent interface design
If you have different designs on your different pages, then this might be too much and excessive for your audience. This can be very confusing and sometimes annoying to people visiting your website. No matter how attractive the design is, if your website doesn’t have a consistent look throughout all of your pages, then you’re design will actually have an adverse effect on your website.
To solve this: (1) Use consistent templates for all your pages and link them back to the main section of your website and (2) create a simple design so your audience doesn’t get confused on your website.
6. Unfriendly screen resolutions (No mobile experience)
Something that really bothers me on a website is when I have to scroll horizontally in order to see some parts that aren’t already visible. That’s a huge mistake and not good for the website’s design. Every website should fit on most screens.
To solve this: Make sure your website is mobile responsive on the most popular screens that people are using today.
7. Complicated registration forms
If you want users to be able to register on your site, then make sure that your registration form doesn’t frustrate people as they try over and over to enter their info. If they find it difficult to register, they’ll forget about the whole thing and just move on.
To solve this: Keep your form simple and only acquire basic info from people trying to register. Make their experience simple right from the start.
8. Too much or too little use of images
Using too much images on your website can be very distracting to your audience and it may take their attention away from what’s important. Also, having too little images on your website can be boring and dry for the eye of the audience. Images are very powerful when used right.
To solve this: Use images in moderation and wherever they’re needed to illustrate and guide people on your website.
9. Cluttered pages (not enough white space)
If you’re busy designing your website and you forget about the importance of having white space to keep things simple, clean, and organized, then you’re gonna end up with pages that are all cluttered up, too busy, and unreadable.
To solve this: Use your space wisely and practice adding more white space to your website to allow some room for your audience to breathe while they look at your pages.
10. Missing H1 tags, especially on the homepage (poor use of headers)
Some people forget or don’t know the importance of using headings, especially H1 tags. Even if you have a well designed website, specifically the homepage, but you don’t have a header tag that gives an idea of what the page is about, then chances are you’re not going to be easily found on search engines. The reason for that is because search engines look for these header tags to give them an idea of what your page is about and hence let others searching the web know that too.
To solve this: Be sure that your website pages have a descriptive H1 tag above the fold which will increase your chances of ranking higher in search engines.
11. Large images and media files
Beautiful images will make your website look amazing. But if your images and videos are too large, then the speed of your website is going to be affected negatively. Google rewards pages that load quickly. So, your website pages might rank lower if they don’t.
To solve this: Use Google PageSpeed Insights Test to tell you exactly what images Google thinks are too large on your page. After identifying those images, try to resize or compress them, then upload them back to your page.
Google recently warned websites to avoid using intrusive popups. User experience is very important to Google, especially on mobile sites. Popups might prevent users from reaching the main content on your website and that will negatively impact their experience and hence affect your ranking.
To solve this: Rethink your popup strategy and research for new ways to attract their attention and grab their emails.
13. Text in images
Sometimes, you might find people who have a hero image on their homepage with text in the image. Not on the image, in the image. There’s a huge difference. When the text is in the image, meaning that the image was created with the writing on it before saving and uploading it to the website, search engines won’t be able to read what’s written in the image. They just see “an image”. This is where the importance of H1 tags comes.
To solve this: Instead of having the text as part of the image, leave the image plain and overlay a header tag onto it saying whatever you want people and search engines to know.
14. No call-to-action
A call-to-action, also known as CTA, makes your audience’s experience better by letting them know what to do, where to go, and how to feel while on your website. If you don’t have a CTA, then your audience will not be focused on what their next step on your website is.
To solve this: Place a clear CTA that describes the value of the products and services that you’re offering along with a compelling phrase that will prompt them to take action. Example of CTA’s can be: Sign Up Now, Contact Us Today, Get Started, Add to Cart, etc.
15. Hidden contact info
You want your audience and potential clients to contact you. If you don’t make it obvious to them as to how they can do that, then you won’t be able to hear from people who are interested in what you are offering.
To solve this: (1) Create a clear Contact page and make it visible in your navigation and (2) place your contact info in the footer and in your website’s sidebar (if you have one). Simply make it clear to them that you want them to contact you.
16. Not keeping a website updated
This digital era has brought us a lot of security risks. That‘s why not updating your themes and plugins regularly might sacrifice your website’s protection.
To solve this: (1) Make sure you always update your themes and plugins when an update is available because that way every possible entry point is protected on your end. (2) Also, install a real-time protection on your website like Wordfence, iThemes Security, or All in One WPSecurity & Firewall. (3) And it’s a good idea to have a CAPTCHA option to impede automated attacks too.
17. Dealing with broken links and poorly optimized pages
It’s really bad when someone visits your website and clicks on a link that shows them “Page Not Found”. What’s worse is losing potential conversions on your website when you overlook providing descriptions to your products and services, and fail to provide enough info on pages.
To solve this: Continuously monitor your website and actively look at it to locate and solve such issues.