The right design and layout are necessary for the success of your website. Too many companies look for cutting-edge, “unique” designs that might look cool on the surface but end up performing poorly when it comes to attracting and converting visitors.
If your website isn’t getting the conversions you want, take a look at this list to see if it’s committing one (or more) of these 8 deadly web design mistakes.
1. Using colors that make it difficult to read—You’d think this is common sense, but so many web designers seem to get it wrong. You want to use background and text colors that make your content easy to read for new visitors. Don’t throw yellow text on a blue background. Or worse yet, don’t place text on top of a patterned background. Stick with the basics (black text on white background or something similar) to make it as easy on the eyes as possible. Otherwise, your visitors will never know what you’re saying.
2. Using generic stock photos—We’ve all seen websites commit this deadly sin. Throwing in a stock photo of a bunch of guys in suits huddled around a conference table is more than likely a waste of space, and just as importantly, it doesn’t contribute to your brand or add anything to the user experience. Compelling graphics are an integral part of effective web design, but never throw in a subpar image just for the sake of having one.
3. Using entry pages and Flash intros—If I land on your homepage and see either “Click here to enter” or a 30 second Flash intro, you can bet I’ll click the back button on my browser every single time. Remember, new visitors typically give your website 8 seconds to capture their attention. Don’t waste it.
4. Making links difficult to see—Users have come to expect certain things when browsing the web. One of these things is that unclicked hyperlinks are blue and clicked links are purple. Don’t change things up on them; it’ll only confuse your visitors.
5. Navigation you have to think about—Again, users expect certain things online. This applies to navigation also. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel with your website navigation. There’s nothing worse than landing on some Flash-based site where you have to drag the mouse around all over the screen just to find the “cleverly” hidden navigation. Also, don’t use strange names for your text links. Your visitors should instantly be able to determine what each page is about by looking at the navigation.
6. Overuse of Flash—Not only is this bad for SEO, but it’s also just annoying. Flash sites are typically nothing more than the designer patting himself on the back. When it comes to being user-friendly and converting visitors, most Flash sites fail miserably.
7. Auto-play videos or music—When a new visitor lands on your site, they don’t want to hear someone babbling about your company or some useless background music. Whenever I come across a website that does this, I usually: 1) Get startled, 2) Mute my speakers, and 3) Leave the website.
8. Ignoring white space—When it comes to web design, sometimes it’s what you don’t put on your site that makes all the difference in the world. Don’t clutter your pages with meaningless text, graphics, advertisements, widgets, and other wastes of space. Keep your design as clean and focused as possible. Your visitors’ eyes need to be immediately drawn to the important parts of the page (i.e. the call to action). If someone lands on your page and doesn’t know what they should be looking at, you’re in trouble.
Which web design mistakes annoy you the most? Share your pet peeves in the replies!