Web Design Mistakes to Avoid Making

Your website is your businesses digital shop window. If it isn’t great, you aren’t going to get much business.

Imagine you’re on the high street, wandering along looking at shop fronts and their windows. Which ones make you stop and look? Which ones do you simply walk past? Which ones do you screw your face up at and think ‘I’m never going in there’?

Cluttered, unorganised, untidy and tired looking shop fronts are the ones were more likely to walk past. This doesn’t just happen on the high street. It also happens online.

Visitors will judge your businesses credibility on how your site looks. Around 75% of people judge you and your business on your websites design.

How do you make sure that people stick around and think more positively about your business? Easy. Make sure that you are not making any of these mistakes:


Out of Date Information

Imagine looking through a telephone directory (think Yellow Pages) and you find a business that sells what you’re looking for. You call the number and you hear a message to say the number is no longer working. What would you think? Would you then go and visit the business? Probably not.

If someone calls a number on your site and it doesn’t work, you’ve lost trust. It’s likely they will head straight away from your site.

It’s also wise to make sure that there is always a way to contact you. Whether it be via a phone number or contact form. No method of contact doesn’t instil trust.

If you’re selling via your website in the UK, it’s a legal requirement to have your full business name, address and registered company number must be visible on your website and a method to contact you.

Having information such as this on your website builds visitor trust and confidence.


Cluttered Pages

Cramming too much information onto one page is no good. We hear the term content is king. It helps with SEO. It does, but it’s no excuse for poor layout.

You can have lot’s on information on a page, just make sure it’s readable and logical in its layout.

If you use the Yoast SEO plugin, you’ll find that while the plugin analyses your page content for SEO, it also scores it for readability. It uses a number of factors, including the Flesch Reading Ease test to check how easy your content is for the visitor to read.

Some quick tips on content:

  • Use shorter sentences but still vary the length for interest
  • Don’t use 10 words when one will do
  • Avoid the use of passive voice
  • Use sub-headings to break up big chunks of content
  • Use anchor links to guide people through your content


Poor Images

What’s a poor image? There are a number of things that make an image poor. If it’s pixilated (blurry), unclear, incorrectly cropped or missing.

Images add real value to your website – particularly product images. Images help create and sell your brand and break up text. But, if the image looks bad, so does your website.

If your images are not optimised then can slow down your website. You can optimise your images in a number of ways. You could use a 3rdparty website such as Cloudinary or if you are using WordPress a plugin such as SmushIT or Imagify. If you are using our Premium Hosting Plans you can install the LiteSpeed Cache Plugin and image optimisation is taken care for you.

If you have an image, don’t make it bigger than it is to fit a space. It will become pixilated and just look horrible! Instead, get a better or bigger image or design your content around the image size that you have.

Use quality images. You can use your own that you have taken or grab a really good stock image. Pixabay and 123rf are great places to start (and are really good value for money too).


Too Many Popups

OK, they are great for marketing special offers and capturing email addresses. But remember, they are also very annoying. If you are going to use popups consider the visitor journey.

You’re halfway through reading a paragraph of a very interesting article and bam, a pop up appears asking you to sign up for a newsletter. Annoying right!

If you are using popups you really must consider why. Are you looking for email signups or wanting to raise awareness? Either way, think about the best time for these to trigger – i.e. when the reader gets to the bottom of the page or is leaving the site. Not when they are halfway through reading a page.

Popups are not just those big things that fill your screen. Many chat plugins are also using targeted messages to. Make sure you don’t have too many of these popping up as well.


Your menu is the map of your site. It’s where visitors go to find the information that they want. If the menu isn’t logical or unclear then it’s unlikely visitors will continue looking. They’ll give up and move on.

Menus that are too big may have the same impact too. A simple first level menu with logical, easy to follow submenus are what you should be looking to do.

You may even put your menu in more than one place – the high level menu that is. You may put it at the top of the site but also at the bottom. Or, you may choose to make your menu sticky so it’s always visible as visitors scroll.


Not Optimised for Mobile

With the amount of mobile phones out there and the amount they get used for browsing websites, it’s still interesting to see how may websites are still not optimised for mobile or smaller screens.

You should have 2 versions of your website – a desktop version and a mobile version. If you are using WordPress, many themes are now responsive so they will be already optimised for mobile.

If not, talk to a web designer to look at having a mobile version of your website built. It’s probably fair to say that this is expected from visitors nowadays.


Slow Load Times

If your content takes an age to load, visitors won’t hang around. It can also have a negative impact on SEO. Make sure you have optimised images, you’re harnessing Cache and using a CDN such as Cloudflare or KeyCDN to help make sure your website is loading quickly.

Oh, and use a good host. Our clients are seeing their webpages load faster than ever. We’ve seen page speeds reduce from 7-8 seconds to under 1 second using our Premium Super Fast Web Hosting Packages.

Use a site such as GTMetrix, PageSpeed or Pingdom to measure how fast your site is. Look at the recommendations and act on them. Ideally, you’re looking for something under 2 seconds.


Incohesive Information

Make sure your content is in the same ballpark. If you post about too many different subjects, it can impact on your SEO rankings. Stick to brand. Stick to industry and stick to what your visitors want to see. Don’t just start adding content because to looks good. Consider what it does for your visitors. Does it add value?

Stick to an industry. If you decide to branch out into other areas, it may be wise to make a second site with this new content then link it to your existing.

When messages become mixed, people become confused.


Inconsistent Design

When you begin to build your website you should think about:

  • Colours
  • Font
  • Layout
  • Overall look and feel

Pick a colour palette for your website. Pick colours that compliment each other. A rule of thumb would be to have one or two primary colours then an accent colour. Don’t have too may colours unless you’re sure you can pull it off. For example, if you logo has lots of colours in it then you could pick one or two as your primary colours and the others for accent.

Pick a font that’s easy to read. For web you’re looking for a good sans-serif font.

Now, think about the layout. Where will your menu, images, text and sidebars go?

OK, now we have all of that there’s one word to remember – consistency!

Use the same font or fonts throughout the site. It isn’t uncommon to have one font for your titles, headings or subheadings and another for your content.

Do try to stick to the same sizes though. The same size for headings, subheadings and content. The same should be said for font to.

Try and keep the overall layout of your pages the same. You might think that varying them will generate interest. Truth is, if a visitor sees consistency in the layout of your site they’ll understand it. Once they understand it they are likely to stay engaged.

It pays to have a good plan before you embark on designing and building your website.


No Outbound Links or Social Media Links

Linking to other content both on your own site and on other website is good for SEO. At least it is providing that the links are also pointing to other relevant content.

It’s good to pop a few links into your pages to guide visitors to other parts of your site and by linking out to other sites you may also begin to see them link back to you.

Make sure you have links out to your social media pages and help visitors find you there. This, as in the previous sections shows you are real and if you have relevant and up to date content on your social media websites, this builds trust and credibility. Plus, if they like your page, share a post or retweet something it will drive more traffic to your website.

Hope you find our tips useful.