Your website is your primary means of communication with potential customers – Even if you have a brick-and-mortar shop, chances are people are going to look you up online both before and after they stop by. This is great news for those who know how to turn a website into a magical marketing machine, but can be bad news for those who don’t bother to learn the basics of web design. Even if you don’t think of yourself as technologically oriented or web savvy, here are a few of the biggest web design mistakes, avoiding them will make your site more usable and lucrative.
Making it too busy – How much is happening on your homepage? Is there enough white space? Try to look at your homepage with fresh eyes or get a friend to look at it for you. If there’s so much content that you’re overwhelmed, you need to move some to other pages.
Bad linking – If you embed a link, but it doesn’t look like a link, you are going to lose most of the click-throughs you would have normally gotten. Make sure your links look clickable, open in new pages, and change color once clicked.
Not formatting for the web – An essay that is printed online and in a magazine will be formatted differently in both. Make sure you are formatting your content for the web, and not for print publication. This means keeping paragraphs short, highlighting keywords, and using subheadings. Allow users to change font size. Give users the ability to resize text so that they can see everything clearly.
Content that looks like advertisement – As a person uses the web more and more he instinctively begins to ignore the things he doesn’t find useful, primarily advertising. For example, “banner blindness” refers to the fact that users have started ignoring banners because they think they are ads. They also avoid animation, flashing text, and pop-up windows. Don’t use these design elements if you want people to read them.
Reinventing the design wheel – A lot of designers try to get creative with some basic design conventions and end up hurting their websites instead of making them stand out. Web users are used to certain things and it only behooves you to fall short of those expectations. So put the search bar in the upper-right corner and save the creativity for photos, content, and your color palette.
Going overboard with fonts – It’s so easy to get wooed by some of the very interesting, creative fonts available in the universe, many of them for free. But you need to remember that there’s a reason you’re even using font in the first place: to get users to read what you write. So if you use a complicated font that is barely legible, you’re defeating your original purpose.
The home page has too much content and doesn’t refresh automatically – Make your user’s experience as simple and straightforward as possible. If you put too much information on the homepage, they might miss it if it requires scrolling down. And if the page doesn’t automatically refresh, your user may not see the most recent updates.