Web design mistakes you need to correct today.

It takes a visitor to your website less than one second to form an opinion on your business based on your website. 94% of those first impressions are going to be related to your design. Something like 85% of consumers use the web to research businesses before buying from them. That means that your audience is searching for you online to scope you out before they buy from you or visit your location.

There are about a billion websites out there telling you what strategies to use for SEO, content creation and structure. I want to focus on just five things NOT to do when building a website and give you some solutions that a free website audit can help fix.

  1. Not Optimized for Mobile

    Over half of the entire world population uses a mobile device to access the internet and that number will continue to grow. As people spend less time browsing the web on a desktop we need to look at how our websites display and perform on mobile devices. Even search engines are prioritizing websites optimized for mobile devices first. Last year Google implemented it’s “mobile first” criteria and indexes sites optimized for mobile before those that aren’t so, this effects your SEO as well.

    On a user level, if I click through to a business website on my phone that website had better load quickly (within a second or two) and it had better be easy to consume it’s content. I don’t want to scroll through loads of images or wait for scripts to load. Fonts should be an appropriate size and not require a lot of scrolling or pinching to zoom. I want to find the navigation and the info I want so that I can take an action. If something doesn’t work correctly or the site isn’t designed for a mobile device, I’m going to get frustrated and leave.
    Resolution: Have a web design professional perform a website audit for responsiveness and mobile design of your website. They should provide you  with actionable solutions and a new design concept that includes desktop and mobile layouts.

  2. No Face to the Business

    If I am researching a business online and I can’t find a physical location or at least some face or even an individuals name, I’m looking for the exit. I get that not every business wants to feature staff photos or list employee names. What you need to consider is that you are a person who is selling to other people. If I can’t visit you at a physical location then I would at least like to know who I’m contacting or ordering from online. A faceless business appears shady and unprofessional.

    Resolution: Create an “About Us” page that goes into your story just enough. Make it about how you plan to solve your customer’s problems and not just about you. Add a photo of the owners or staff where appropriate. List your physical address if you serve customers there. If not, an approximate location or service area should be listed.

  3. Bad Images

    By bad images I mean poor quality or dated images. Whether these are custom images taken by an amateur or stock photos originally licensed in the early 2000’s. You should audit your website for imagery as well as content and structure on a regular basis. What do the images on your website say about your business? Do they actually say anything at all? Or are they just generalized stock graphics that don’t tell consumers anything about your business.

    Resolution: Get a professional designer to help you perform a website audit. Look at your imagery and ask yourself “what does this say about my business?” Then, either have your designer choose new stock photos that will speak to your audience or hire a  photographer to come to your location and capture images of your products, location and staff.

  4. Poor Structure

    Poor structure could be as simple as badly organized navigation or as complicated as a website who’s users can’t even find what they’re looking for. In reality, it’s very rare that a small business’s website would need more than 5-10 pages. That’s probably even heavy for most of my clients. If I get to a website and I can’t find what I want within a second or two I’ve moved on. Sometimes it’s because there are dozens of drop-down menus or too many items in the main navigation. Sometimes it’s because there aren’t enough menu items or they’re badly labeled. It’s especially frustrating when there isn’t even a search function to help me find what I am looking for.

    Resolution: Perform a website audit and streamline your structure. Decide what can be condensed, finessed and deleted all together. Most times you’ll find that you can combine several pages into one and greatly improve your user experience.

  5. No SSL Certificate

    This last one isn’t as much design, but has become more and more important. If you’re collecting any sort of data, even just email addresses, you should have an SSL certificate installed to ensure you’re potential customer’s aren’t seeing a security warning in their browser. Check out this infographic from Blue Corona if you want some idea of why HTTPS sites are better.

8 things to know about https

Resolution: Contact your host provider and find out whether they offer an SSL certificate. Many of them offer a free certificate. Sometimes you can have an SSL certificate and still get a warning due to things like images not being served from the secure URL. If your host isn’t willing to help you resolve these issues, I would recommend switching providers.

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