For most people, the first contact they have with a brand and its products and services is through a website. This is the reason why every business needs a well-designed, conversion-friendly site. Such sites can help them stand out from crowd and prove to be revenue boosters.
Quite a few people think a successful website is one that looks visually appealing, but a website that looks nice is only a part of the equation. There are many other factors and design elements essential to make an effective website.
Haven’t we all come across a site that is gorgeously designed but lacks a thing or two? At the same time, we do come across some sites that are just plain looking but attract huge amounts of traffic because of their flow, content quality, loading speed and the way they are organized. This goes to show visuals are not everything.
To design an effective website, there are some truly basic things that every designer should know. There are tons of articles on the Internet that can help even an amateur designer create an effective website. Most of these articles put great stress on certain important design elements; unfortunately many designers forget about these elements or make mistakes while implementing them.
Let us look at things that are generally ignored by web designers while designing a site:
1. Web Design That Doesn’t Fit Business Objective or Target Audience
Every business website is designed to achieve some specific goal. It is crucial that a website is designed in such a way that it support’s a company’s business and marketing objectives. The design should not be distracting and the content should deliver the right message to your customers. A web designer must design a site that caters to the needs of the client as well as the target audience.
2. Burying Contact Information
This is one of the critical web design mistakes. Some web designers have a misconception that rather than directly offering a business’s contact information on the website, it is better to let visitors fill out a form to get in touch with the business.
The truth, however, is exactly the opposite.
Visitors find the process of filling out a form highly annoying if they want to get in touch with a business without wasting any time. So, instead of burying contact information, web designers should make all contact information like email address, phone number, office address, etc. readily available for the visitors.
3. Using the Wrong Typography
Typography is an important design element often taken for granted by web designers. Web designers at times choose a particular typography as it is the latest trend in the design world, but this should not be the only criteria for selecting typography.
Web designers should consider factors such as brand personality, kind of message the site delivers and target audience before finalizing the typography of a site.
To tell you the truth, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for typography. For an eCommerce store, sans serif fonts will promote readability whereas for a website that is designed for children serif typeface will give a sense of playfulness and fun.
4. Ignoring Mobile Audience
This is a really fatal web design mistake that can badly affect a business’s conversions. Experts predict that local mobile searches (85.9 billion) are expected to exceed desktop searches (84 billion) by 2015. This proves that if a website is not responsive across multiple devices, the business will miss out on a growing population of users.
Web designers should incorporate a responsive layout to ensure the site is viewed seamlessly across all screen sizes. A web designer can perform the test of website’s mobile friendliness using Google’s GoMo.
5. Failing to Provide Social Integration
Every business knows the power social media holds in today’s times. Companies are therefore leveraging this digital marketing tool to grow their business. However, there is no point in a company having an active presence on social channels like Facebook, Twitter or Google+ if their business website does not point to it.
Businesses need to incorporate social media buttons on their sites to drive transactions and make connections with customers. Web designers must ensure that social media icons are prominently featured on all the pages of a site.
6. Not Embedding Google Maps
This is the most common web design mistake often made by web designers. Most people today use Google Maps to look for directions to a location they want to visit, especially when they are on mobile. This makes embedding a map with directions to your office mandatory for your website.
Embedding Google Maps on your website guides users to your business’s physical location and also make them trust your business. Moreover, incorporating maps in website will also help the business rank well in Google+ Local business listings.
7. Navigation Is Not User-Friendly
At times designers only focus on the looks of a website at the cost of ignoring another very important aspect of design – navigation. This is one of the cardinal sins of the web design process. There are high chances visitors will abandon a site that is difficult to navigate even if it is aesthetically appealing and contains highly relevant content. Studies show that poor navigation is one of the primary reasons why a website loses customers.
To create a great user-experience, a web designer should ensure that website has well-constructed, easy-to-use and intuitive navigation. Also web designers should keep in mind that providing consistent navigation for every page delivers an optimal browsing experience to visitors.
8. No Clear Calls to Action
One of the most common errors committed by web designers is the lack of clear calls to action. Calls to actions are buttons that drive website visitors to take specific action (subscribe to newsletters or contact the business) or convert into customers (buy products or subscribe to service).
The design of a call to action button depends on 5 essential elements – size, color, position, shape and the text. Web designers must design CTAs with larger fonts and a contrasting color from the rest of the page. Good CTAs incorporate text that creates urgency and are placed in such a way that they appear as the most prominent feature on the web page.
9. Not Incorporating Elements That Help Build Trust
This is another mistake that web designers commonly make. The design of a website plays an important role in making a business look trustworthy. As per reports:
- – For 48% of people, the number one factor in deciding the credibility of a business is a website’s design.
- – 94% of the people mistrusted or rejected a website because of its design.
To build trust, a designer should ensure that the logo of the business is prominently displayed on the homepage. Another way a designer can make a business look professional is by displaying customer testimonials somewhere on the site.
10. Designing a Website That Loads at a Snail’s Pace
One of the worst mistakes a web designer can commit in the web design process is to design a site that takes too long to load. The NYT reports that a majority of people will abandon a website if it doesn’t load in 3 seconds. To make a site visually appealing, web designers, at times, include heavy images or flash based graphics and animations, but these elements increases a site’s load time. So, a designer should include such elements only if they are essential for the site design. Moreover, faster load times help boost search engine rankings. A web designer must avoid the aforementioned gaffes to design an effective website for a business.
Author Bio: Michael Georgiou is a dynamic business professional and entrepreneurial guru associated with Imaginovation – proven his success in creative strategy, online branding, project management, and communication projects in both the public and private sectors.