9 Common Website Design Mistakes and How You Can Avoid Them

The internet has become such an intrinsic part of our lives today that going digital has become the norm. Even for small businesses, the lack of a well designed website can be a huge detriment. If you are a hairdresser, for example, and someone googles hairdressers in your area, they should be able to find a listing for you as well as a way to contact you.

If potential customers can’t find you on the internet, then you end up losing their business. To prevent this from happening, you need a website.

A lot of small business owners want to take a DIY approach to website building which is actually a great idea! With no-code website design services and website builder software, ‘DIY-ing it’ has become a very feasible and convenient option, especially for small business owners who are typically on a budget.

But anyone who is not a professional web designer or UX expert, website design can be a bit of a challenge. In this article we talk about some common website design mistakes that DIYers tend to make and how you can avoid them.

9 Most Common Website Design Mistakes

Here are the common website design mistakes made by everyone and how you can avoid it:

1.Lack of a Design Plan

Planning is intrinsic to the success of any endeavour and website design is no different. When thinking about layouts, color schemes, logos and other website design ideas, it helps to put them down on paper first. All experienced web designers use the pen and paper method to draw out the basic concept of the website before they start the actual work on a computer. It is also a good idea to do your research and look at some resources online on best website design practices. A good design principle is to keep the needs and requirements of the users first and foremost.  You should also take a look at some successful business websites to understand good layout practices, font choices, color schemes and how they improve user experience. 

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Having a plan simplifies the actual process of website designing. Without a plan your website will inevitably end up in a confused mess and this is something that is actually common with amateur websites. Remember that you are aiming for professionalism and for that you must work with a well defined design plan. 

2.Overcrowding Your Website

The worst thing you can do for your website is overcrowding it. An overcrowded, cluttered and confusing website is the very epitome of unprofessional and shoddy work. Remember that you don’t need to infodump everything on to your landing page. It is always better to create categories and separate web pages and menus so that your website looks organized and well thought out. 

One of the best website design skills you can master is the use of white space. It is a mistake to think of white space as ‘empty’. In reality it is a very important visual element that separates and distinguishes the individual components of your web page. White space creates balance in website design and helps your website look clean, modern and professional.

3.Unintuitive Websites 

Customer experience should be your first priority when it comes to website design. A lot of websites out there are good looking but extremely unintuitive and poorly designed in terms of user experience and navigability. When designing a website, oftentimes, one can get carried away with the need to be innovative and unique in everything.

What you need to understand, however, is that your website is not simply a design project or an art piece. At the end of the day it needs to be functional and provide utility to you and your customers. And for this, it needs to be intuitive. 

The best website design practices are those that are rooted in the understanding that there is no need to reinvent the wheel. There are certain elements in website design that you will see everywhere. Why does almost every website have its logo on the left instead of the center?

Why are grids so common in website design? The reason for this is not a lack of innovation or imagination but the simple reason that these design choices work and this has proven to be the case over many years. 

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Additionally, since these design choices and layouts have been the staple of web design for many years now, users are familiar with them. So, when someone clicks on your website they will not have to sit there and figure out how your website works, where the menus are and how to go back to the homepage. It all comes to them intuitively which goes on to improve their user experience. 

Innovation is great but it makes no sense to try and fix what isn’t broken in the first place.

4.Overlooking Grids & Columns

This mistake dovetails with the previous one. Grids and columns are the heart of website design. Most websites to this day use some sort of a grid pattern. This is because grids are an easy and effective way of organizing information on a web page to make it easy for the user to understand and navigate your website. Grids don’t all need to look the same or even be visible but they still form the underlying framework that organizes the different elements of your website. 

You also need to make sure there is a coherent visual hierarchy to your pages. This means that you need to make sure that the web page centers the most important element in the forefront of the page.

For example, think about the Google search homepage. The Google logo and search bar are front and center and the rest is mostly white space. In Gmail on the other hand, the logo is to the side and the email inbox is front and center because that is the most important and useful component of the page. Both these examples use grids, columns and coherent visual hierarchy. 

5.Lack of Mobile Optimization

The digital world has increasingly become dominated by smartphone devices. The number of smartphone users surpasses 6 billion and that number is only set to increase. Any website made today needs to be optimized to be responsive on all possible platforms from desktops to mobile devices.

Taking the easy and old fashioned approach simply doesn’t cut it anymore. Mobiles are also no longer just an alternative to desktop browsing. For the vast majority of people, mobiles are the primary device they use to access the internet. This makes mobile optimization a crucial component of good website design. 

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A lot of website builders these days offer website design templates that you can use as a base for your website. So, if you are working from one of these templates make sure to choose one that works well on both desktop and mobile.

6.Long Loading Times

No one likes a slow loading website, not even Google. If your website takes a long time to load, it can affect your web traffic significantly. This is due to people simply choosing to log off instead of waiting for your site to load. Another lesser known secondary factor is that slow loading websites are ranked poorly by search engine results pages.

What this means is that if someone searches for businesses like you in your area, your business website may not appear in the first page of the search engine results. This makes your website less discoverable and hurts your business. 

There are a lot of reasons why your site may not load well. The primary reason for this tends to be clumsy website code. Another reason can be overcrowded landing pages. If your landing page includes too many elements that are data heavy and time consuming to load, it can affect your site’s overall loading time. Using well designed and coded website templates and reliable website builders are helpful in dealing with this.

7.No Favicon

A favicon is a small icon used for branding your website that appears on the address bar and browser tab.  Favicons are a visual reminder to make sure users can easily find your website even when they have multiple browser tabs open. They also add customization, professionalism, exclusivity and branding to your website.

Neglecting to put in a favicon is losing out on a crucial branding opportunity. Your branding is what sets you apart and distinguishes you from your competitors. Apart from branding and visibility, favicons also make it easier and more likely for your website to be bookmarked by users which will ensure repeated traffic on your website.

8.Neglecting SEO

The internet can be an incredibly competitive place when it comes to marketing. Small businesses often struggle because they don’t know how to increase their visibility in the face of stiff competition. SEO can solve a lot of these issues but a lot of business owners either don’t know about it or do not understand it. 

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SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and it is a set of practices and steps that you can undertake to ensure that your website ranks well on search engine results pages. For example, if you are a dog groomer in Santa Barbara and someone searches for dog grooming services in Santa Barbara, good SEO practices will make sure Google redirects them to you through the search page. This in turn helps you gain more customers. 

The best thing about SEO is it is actually quite cheap to do. It simply takes time, effort and consistency. There are even guides from Google out there to help you optimize your page better for their algorithm. SEO is easier than it looks and is the easiest, most inexpensive way of boosting your visibility and marketing yourself.

9.Lack of a CTA

You may have seen print advertisements that have something like ‘Call us now!’ or ‘Visit our website for more information!’ appended to the bottom of the ad. This is a CTA or a ‘Call to Action’. It encourages the people who see the ad to take some sort of action which may further lead them to buy the products or services being advertised.

A lot of time small businesses that use a storefront as their primary mode of operation, don’t think they need to include a CTA on their website. They think they should simply use their site as a source of information for their customers. Nothing could be more wrong.

A CTA helps convert site visitors into paying customers which is the main reason why you have a website in the first place. CTAs don’t have to be too in your face. A simple contact form or a button encouraging customers to email you for bookings can do wonders. It encourages people to make a decision about buying your product or services now rather than later.

Final Thoughts

Website designing has become a lot easier than it used to be. With intuitive, easy to use website design services on the market, you no longer need to be an expert web developer or designer to create your own website. However, as with any other DIY project, without the right resources and knowledge, you are bound to make some mistakes. This article was our attempt to help you out. With the right tools and knowledge, you can never go wrong.