Have you ever visited a website and thought, “Wow! Was this designed by a small child, or did the web designer just fall asleep on his keyboard while putting this site together?” A company’s website is often a person’s first impression of that company, and a poorly constructed site can negatively affect your business by giving an unprofessional impression that lacks modernity and implies that your products or services will be of poor quality, as well. Never has it been so important to have an appropriate online presence in the business world as it is now. If you are wondering how you can avoid common web design mistakes and put your best foot forward with your website, simply start by following the suggestions below:
Grammar is important!
Remember when your fifth grade English teacher went on and on about the relevance of commas and correct spelling and blah, blah, blah? Well, she was smarter than you thought! There’s nothing better than a grammatically incorrect website if you are trying to say to your potential clients, “I don’t actually care about my company’s image, nor do I care whether or not people can understand the message I’m trying to convey!” Good grammar and spelling gives the impression of intelligence and professionalism. If English is not your first language, or if grammar isn’t your strong suite, consider hiring an editor to proofread your site before it goes live.
Broken Links = Business Lost
Nothing is more frustrating than trying to give someone your business and feeling like the company has created an obstacle course that you must conquer before being able to make a purchase. Check your site at least once monthly, in order to ensure that all links are in working order and do not lead to blank or incorrect pages. Furthermore, be sure that your site’s information is current, and make necessary changes as soon as possible.
Don’t Play Hard to Get!
Keep in mind that your website is not the star of a frustrating romantic comedy, in which one partner avoids the other at all costs, making him or her work for love and attention. If a consumer wants your l”ove,” make it easy to access, and by “love,” I mean your contact information. When contact information is nonexistent or difficult to locate on a company’s website, consumers tend to feel that the company does not have time for them or is simply not interested in what the consumers have to say. Successful businesses form positive relationships with their consumers. Let the visitors to your site know that you care! Your contact information, including email, telephone number, and mailing address, should all be readily accessible to your site’s visitors via an easy-to-find tab, or located somewhere on the front page. You may also consider inserting a review form, so that your site’s visitors can provide you with helpful feedback and constructive criticism.
Not only should your website’s color scheme be well coordinated, usually implementing more neutral or solid-colored background shades in order to draw more attention to the information you are trying to convey; the color scheme should also be appropriate for your site’s purpose. For instance, a bright red screen with tons of yellow smiley faces probably isn’t the best look for a funeral home’s webpage.In the same way, a plain white background with black text and no images would not likely hold the attention of someone visiting the website of a graphic design company. The goal is for your website to be both professional and creative. It must catch the eye and leave a positive and trustworthy impression.
Breaking the 7X7 Rule
Ever seen the acronym TL;DR? That stands for Too Long; Didn’t Read, and it is a great representation of today’s consumer mindset. Modern consumers want information about products and services to be short, sweet, and to the point. If your website looks like you copied and pasted the pages of a college essay rather than highlighting the main points of the information you are attempting to convey, chances are that visitors to your site are going to completely skip over every word. A good rule of thumb when designing your site is to format each piece of information into seven lines or less, with about seven words per line. Additionally, it is helpful to separate different pieces of information, whether into different text boxes or simply different areas of the screen. By doing so, you make it easier for visitors to your site to focus on a small amount of information at a time and not feel like they need to read a novel in order to understand the product or service you are offering. Summarization, not in-depth explanation, is key to the front page of your website. If you feel that any part of your information does require more in-depth explanation, simply provide a link to a separate page where you may insert an article or other file, which covers all of the details one might need to know if doing more than just surface research on your product or service. It is still advised, however, to not be too lengthy in your explanations, even on these linked pages.
Remember when you were a kid, and your mom fussed at you for hours on end about cleaning your room? Think of your website as your room, and this article as your mom. Instead of being forbidden from going out with your friends, however, the punishment for having a cluttered website is the loss of business. No one wants to have to search through all of your clutter just to find what they want. Your website is a beautiful gem, and clutter is like mud that hides its beauty. One type of clutter can be breaking the 7X7 rule, as discussed in the last point, but another common type of website clutter comes in the form of graphics, both animated and non-animated. While animations and images can work in your favor to capture the viewer’s attention, too many of these can cause that attention to be too focused on your flashy pictures, rather than on the information you are attempting to convey. If your webpage is causing sensory overload, no one is going to be able to focus on the product or service you are offering.
These six pieces of advice are crucial to keep in mind when designing your website. If you find yourself committing any of these common web design mistakes, do yourself a favor, and begin immediately correcting your mistakes. When you do, you will see more returning traffic, better reviews, and greater success of your website, as well as that of your company or business.