Building a website has become easier than ever with the introduction of user-friendly website building tools and CMS platforms. But building a sound website that will perform well with search engines while giving your audience exactly what they want is far from simple. There are many variables that you have to be aware of, and one simple mistake could make a huge difference in how well your site performs. Here are some of the most common mistakes you should avoid at all costs when building your website.
1. Not Having a Plan
This is probably the biggest mistake anyone can commit. Before you start building your site, make sure that you understand your unique selling proposition, target audience, how your site will be promoted, and further growth plan as well.
2. Not Making it Responsive
Mobile is taking over PC searches, and it is taking over fast. As a matter of fact, the majority of web searches in the UK are now done on mobile devices. What this means is that the PC first approach to web design is dead and you have to build your sites with all users in mind.
Mobile versions are a thing of the past too. Google promotes sites that adapt themselves to multiple platforms, not completely different stripped-down versions for mobile only.
If your users are struggling with your mobile site, not only will they bounce out, but you might never see them again. So, make sure that your site looks great on all platforms before you launch.
3. Not Considering Readability
Readability is an essential part of user experience and your site needs to be free of clutter and easy to read. If you want to make sure that your audience won’t be turned off by your website’s design, here are a few rules you have to follow:
- Consistency with Font Sizes – Your site should only be using a handful of font sizes. Use large fonts to attract attention and smaller ones when it comes to in-depth information.
- Choose the Right Fonts – When it comes to fonts, no need to go wild there. There are a select few fonts that you will see on most websites. Think twice about using unusual fonts when it comes to text; this could actually make your site less readable and look amateurish.
- Don’t be Afraid of White Space – White space is actually a great way to drive attention to your main text. Don’t think that you have to fill the area around the text with snazzy graphics and images. Users love white space, and when used properly, it can actually increase your retention rates.
4. No Search Box
This is another common mistake a lot of people make. People want to be able to access information on your site, and there’s nothing more frustrating than a malfunctioning or absent search box. And adding a search box is pretty simple; it’s usually just a matter of going to your control panel and copying a snippet of code, so don’t neglect that part.
5. Bad Navigation
This ties in with our previous point. A site that is hard to navigate will automatically turn off your readers and is one of the main reasons why users bounce out once they reach a page. If you want to improve your site’s navigation you need to:
- Keep it consistent across the site
- Make every navigational element clickable
- Divide categories clearly
- Make sure the navigation titles are accurate
- Make sure clickable images also have alt-text in case the image doesn’t load
This will allow your users to access information quickly and will also decrease your bounce rates, which will have a direct effect on user experience and search engine metrics.
6. Wrong Domain Name
Your domain name is just about as important as your site itself, so choose wisely. Your domain should be easy to remember, formatted clearly, and be consistent with your business. Alternative suffixes are usually a no-no and extra characters like hyphens might confuse your audience. Do your research and look for a domain name that is easy to read, represents your business, and will stick with your audience.
7. Choosing the Wrong Hosting
Web hosting is now more important than ever when it comes to web design. While it was always important from a performance standpoint, site speed is now a ranking factor for search engines. So, poor hosting could not only ruin your user experience but affect your site’s visibility with search engines as well.
Here are some of the things you should be looking for when choosing a web host:
- Good server responsiveness, uptime and reliability
- Server upgrading options
- Multiple add-on domains
- User-friendly control panel
- E-commerce features
- Essential features (one-click installer, FTP/SFTP access, .htaccess file access, and more)
You also have to assess your needs as well. If you don’t expect too much traffic and are just testing the waters, you may not need a dedicated server yet. But if you want to be able to scale and are expecting a lot of traffic, then you may want to look at something like cloud hosting, VPS hosting or a dedicated server. Or even something app specific such as hosting for ASP or PHP.
8. Using Text Content Only
While text content does have its place and is still the main type of content you’ll find online, you also have to switch it up if you want to engage your users. Video is particularly efficient; you should find a way to include some video content into your website’s design if you can. In a recent study, over 50% of marketing professionals cited video content as the form of content with the highest ROI, so you can’t afford to ignore it when building your site.
9. Going Overboard with the Widgets
If you’re building on WordPress, then you may get overwhelmed with all the widgets the platform offers. While some widgets can be useful, try to keep them to a minimum. Using too many widgets could end up bloating your site’s code, which will have a direct influence on the site’s performance.
10. Forgetting the Call to Action
You probably have a clear idea of what you want your users to do once they reach your website. Maybe you want them to ask for a quote or get a free estimate. Or you want them to sign up for your list. Whether you want them to buy, share, sign up or follow, make sure that you make it clear on your website. Make sure your call to action buttons are an integral part of your website, not an afterthought.
These few mistakes could set your site back and eventually hurt your brand and visibility. So, if you want to get the most out of your website, make sure that you steer away from these mistakes and work with a solid team if you feel you need some extra help.