Even with so many beautifully designed websites out there, there are still many that don’t turn out to be quite as user-friendly. Whether it’s a site that looks awful on a mobile device, shoddy navigation menus, broken links, or spelling errors, a poorly designed website can hurt a business far more than it can help it. After all, it’s not a matter of having a website just because you “need” one – you also need to ensure that you’re not making mistakes that turn visitors away before they have the chance to browse.
Here are three common problems that come up when new websites are being designed, and why you should avoid them:
1. Text: Poor Formatting, Bad Size, Spelling Errors
The basis of your entire website should be its content, but if you’ve got text on the site anywhere, you might run into a few pitfalls. For one, having what’s known as a “wall of text” – an unbroken block of words with few line breaks and no images – can lead to site visitors either skimming the text or simply not reading the content altogether.
Another factor that can impact the user experience is the size of font; too small and it’ll be unreadable, but too large and it’ll look overwhelming. Text size should adjust based on browser size and should be easy to read, but not too large. It’s also entirely worth it to run a spellcheck, or invest in a proofreader to make sure that there are no spelling errors or punctuation mistakes. Nothing screams “unprofessional” more than egregiously misspelled words.
2. Sitemap Issues
If you’ve ever been to a website for the first time and had no clue where to find anything, then you’ve encountered poor navigation design. By not clearly naming and marking specific sections of a website, you risk your visitors becoming lost and quickly clicking away. The navigation bar should be at the top of your website, and it is often most effective if it is horizontal across the top of your page. The order of a navigation bar is significant – experts recommend that the most important items should be placed at the beginning of navigation, and the contact section should be the last. Use the middle of the navigation for the least important sections.
A deeper issue with poor navigation lies with SEO. The sitemap will tell search engines how your website is structured. If it is inaccurate or incorrect, it will negatively impact your search rankings. When you build your new sitemap, be sure to submit it to Google, and more importantly keep it updated so Google indexes the website correctly. This includes maintaining updates if your domain changes protocol as well – the URL in the sitemap needs to stay consistent with the HTTP or HTTPS of your website, or else search engines may incorrectly crawl the site.
3. Ignoring Mobile Optimization
As more and more transactions move to mobile – not to mention cross-channel marketing efforts – it’s necessary to optimize your new website for mobile browsing, so it looks and operates as well on a smartphone or tablet as it does on a computer. Mobile optimization is often ignored when scoping out website design, which could mean a loss in business, and in rankings.
The changes in Google’s algorithm that resulted in “mobilegeddon” should be enough reason for you to implement mobile design when creating a new website. If that’s not enough proof, you should also keep in mind that studies show that 60% of online traffic is on mobile devices, and 52% of all PPC clicks are made on mobile devices as well. The bottom line is that if you ignore mobile in your design, you are missing out on communicating with a majority of your audience.
Build Better Browsing
There’s nothing more frustrating to look at than a website that just doesn’t have optimal design. A third-party professional should be able to scope a solid build, but even if you’re putting it together yourself, there’s no need for shortcuts or to skimp on testing. Instead, avoid the most common mistakes as soon as you make the design, so you can save yourself any headaches in the long run. Keep checking your own website, running QA testing, and ensuring that anyone who visits gets the best possible browsing experience.
In your opinion, what is the biggest flaw a website’s design can have? Tell us in the comments.
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