Designing a website can’t be that hard, can it? The truth is you could be making design errors without realising it. And the harsh reality is, they could be stopping your website from being a runaway success. What are these errors and how do you correct them?
No Above-the-Fold information
When a potential customer or client lands on your home page, it needs to be immediately obvious what you do.
A common mistake businesses make is assuming that people will know who they are and what they do before they arrive on their site. The above-the-fold information – your business name and tagline that summarises what you do – is one of the most important design snippets on your site.
How people access information on the web varies between the screen of a PC, a smartphone and tablet. Just think about how you access the web most often.
If your website design is not optimised for PC, tablet and phones, you are not only committing a design faux pas but damaging your search results with search engines too. If customers do find you and website content is mangled on their smartphone screen, they’ll navigate away.
Not optimising your site for load time
We are not patient. We expect websites to load in the blink of an eye. When they don’t, customers navigate away.
It seems almost impossible but if your page is not before the eyes of your customer within two to five seconds, they’re gone.
A web design agency will understand the finer nuances of page loading speeds and what these means from an SEO perspective. Graphics, including video which is common on many websites, must be optimised so that loading is streamlined and quick.
We all know what we like and what we don’t like. However, this isn’t about your own personal preferences but that of your customers.
There is a ‘thing’ called design intuition. It is slightly mysterious and yet, without it, the finish website design can be flat and one-dimensional in all the wrong places.
Does the design look, feel and act the right way? You can follow all the design rules that you want but rules are meant to broken or flexed, at least. And a designer will know just how to that and when they should and shouldn’t. Do you?
You know what you need to say. But are you saying it?
Website content is a different copywriting beast to that of a blog post or ad copy. It needs to entice and encourage, it needs to sell without falling into sales speak, it needs to tell people what to do without giving them orders and it needs to inform without preaching.
Web page content needs to be subtle but deliver an obvious and powerful message.
Too wordy and people stop reading.
Too many big, unnecessary words, and people stop reading.
Stuffed with keywords, content looks unnatural and people stop reading.
Content that says nothing is useless both to your consumer and for search engines. Poor content is hurting your website.
If you are not well-versed in design ‘rules’, you may be making a small, simple mistake in the overall finish of your website. And yet, it is hard to spot and even harder to rectify.
Design cleanliness is when unnecessary fluff is removed. But what is ‘unnecessary fluff’?
A designer will spot it straight away but to your customers, it won’t look right. Pages will look cluttered. There’s an overload of graphics and content. It comes across a frantic and unrelentless.
White space is a design term for space on a page that is visible and ‘clean’. It helps the eye makes sense of the shape of the page content. It gives the eye somewhere to rest as it sorts through the mass of information before it.
Get it right and it works without people even realising it is there because white space brings elegance and refinement to a design.
Not including the finer functions
Web design is only excellent if consumers and visitors can use it. And that means some of the finer functions in the background need to be optimised.
Have you included a search function, for example? If so, how are you populating this?
Customer expectations are that a professional business will have a professional web site design with the functions that they need to be able to navigate around easily.
Website design has changed over the years. Flashing images and moving carton graphics were once all the rage but sadly, they are no more.
And then came flat, one-dimensional design that oozed elegance. But it too has had its day.
Bright primary colours are synonymous with some industries, but not with others.
Website design needs to fit with who you are and what you do but it also needs to be timely. This doesn’t mean on-trend but it does mean sitting with current design ideas so that when customers find you, they come across a business that ‘feels’ right.
Pop ups are, for some, the bane of their life on the web. Just as they start to read or get to where they want, they have at least three pop ups cloud their screen and stagnate their journey. No, they don’t always want to join your mailing and no, they don’t need to be asked a second time or, worst still, told that by not doing so they are missing out on millions of pounds worth of savings.
The solution to poor website design – hire a professional web design agency
It is not a plug but a fact – a professional web design agency with their finger on the web design pulse will produce a design that is worthy of your business and what you offer.
Professional web design shouldn’t be overly expensive either but it should deliver. And that means thinking through the whole design and what it needs to achieve. Did you do that when you designed your own website?