When building a website, it’s a great idea to take inspiration from the most successful, user-friendly websites you can find, which is what I do often when helping clients put together their new sites. But it’s also smart to spend some time looking at what doesn’t work, and there are no shortage of examples. The trick isn’t just identifying mistakes, but finding practical ways to avoid them. I’ve compiled a list of ten of the most common web design blunders to avoid when promoting your Calgary business online.
Building a Better Website: Ten Common Web Design Blunders to Avoid
1. Making Information Hard to Find – Most people are visiting your website to find information, and their ability to find what they’re looking for makes all the difference in whether they stick around to learn more. Poorly labeled topics, navigation choices and links can all contribute to high bounce rates. Usability testing goes a long way toward avoiding these common pitfalls.
2. Disorganized Navigation – If the category names on your primary navigation bar are too similar to one another, or not descriptive enough, people simply won’t know where to click. When working on navigation structure and category names, be sure to choose descriptive language that differentiates each navigation choice from the others. When in doubt, test it out.
3. Lack of Internal Links – Your website content should be a major online marketing asset, but it can only do its job if people know where to find it (…noticing a theme?). Otherwise, you end up with “islands of information,” as the usability experts at Nielsen-Norman Group put it. Avoid creating those islands by linking similar content, consolidating information when possible, and creating reliable source content that you can link to when discussing key topics.
4. Unclear Links – Sending a website user to a link is really an act of trust, and with cyber-security constantly in the news users want to feel secure before clicking an unknown link. Help them out by clearly differentiating links from the rest of the text on the page, making sure your source links are reliable, and using descriptive language for linked text.
5. Required Contact Information – Most people really don’t want to give up personal information without a very good reason for doing so. If you wall off basic website and eCommerce functions behind an extensive sign-up form, you’re going to have a hard time achieving results. Make entering contact information optional, and you’ll have much better luck.
6. Poor Usability – This is sort of a catch-all topic, but it’s an important one. The topics that we’ve covered so far all affect the usability of your website, and they’re all related. Usability testing is the best way to root out potential issues during the development stage, and it’s something that nearly any business can do.
7. Ignoring Proper SEO – We’ve talked a lot about finding information within your website, but what about helping people find your website in the first place? That’s where SEO comes in, and effective SEO is one of the keys to attracting quality traffic. You can overhaul your SEO any time, but a website redesign or building a new website are the best opportunities to do so from the ground up.
8. Not Including Calls-to-Action – So you’ve got great content, SEO to help people find your site, and sensible navigation to help them find your content once they get there. You’re almost there! Now you just need some effective calls-to-action to encourage users to take the next step. Forgetting calls-to-action is an easy way to put all of your hard work in jeopardy.
9. Poorly Written Content – Creating effective content requires an eye for detail, and the quality of your content ultimately helps shape the perception of your business. You don’t have to be a bard to create great content, but you might want to have one proofread for you before the job is done. Try to avoid common writing mistakes, and most importantly provide users with relevant, valuable information through your content.
10. Not Taking Advantage of All Online Mediums – There are tons of ways to connect with customers and build relationships online, so it’s a good idea to try various online mediums. Social media is one of the best channels for connecting with your everyday audience, and it’s available to every business.
Want effective web design for your business, without stressing about the details? Our team at Emphasize Design of Calgary has you covered, with full-service web design and pricing options to fit any budget.