Everyday new clients ask us what they are doing wrong and how they can improve their websites to generate more leads. Oftentimes, we see the same mistakes over and over again due to companies trying to do too much with their websites. Keep in mind that a website is not created to show off the skills of a web designer or to appeal to the website owner but rather designed to solve specific problems that the website’s target market faces. Here, we will outline the most common web design mistakes and ways to avoid them to convert more of your visitors into customers.
Rotating Homepage Carousel
Even though the majority of websites these days have carousels, they actually disengage your users. In fact, they are poor for SEO since the content is not indexed. Less than 1% of visitors click on these banners because they subconsciously ignore ad-like information, which is also known as banner blindness. The carousel came about because marketing folks could not decide which content was most important so they wanted to put everything on the homepage with a slider. Resist the urge to implement another carousel and instead opt for a hero layout, which is a static image with an engaging headline or a product video, which is 144% more effective according to KissMetrics.
Calls to action tell your user what you want them to do after reading your content. Some common calls-to-action include “sign up,” “contact us” and “learn more.” Formatting the call-to-action more prominent than the body copy and having plenty of white space around it increases clickthroughs.
Stock Photography or Video
Stock photography or video look cliché and should be only used as a last resort. We recently had a client who paid a videographer a hefty sum to stitch together some stock videos for his homepage which turned out to be a huge waste. Custom photography and video look authentic and can be used to demonstrate your product, provide testimonials and showcase your business, all of which are not possible when you opt for stock.
No one reads websites anymore which means paragraphs that go on forever are not helping with conversion. Instead, make your content more scannable by with shorter paragraphs, subheadings, bulleted lists, and images. Your mobile users will thank you.
No Content Hierarchy
A content hierarchy refers to how different chunks of content are emphasized with design. A lack of content hierarchy is like someone giving a motivational speech in monotone. Varying font sizes and weights or using contrasting colors can add more or less visual impact to your website design. Position and alignment with a grid system help create order and helps guide your users through your website. Use less white space when content is supposed to relate to each other. Use more white space when you need to break up sections.
With all this talk about content hierarchy, you might think that consistency is bad but some consistency is required to create a cohesive look and feel. Headers, footers, fonts, body copy, headings, image and / or icon styles should remain consistent throughout the website.
Slow Loading Time
According to KissMetrics, the majority of web users expect a website to load in two seconds or less and most would abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load. Here are some ways to reduce your website loading time:
- Ask your web host to use GZIP compression
- Use the “save for web” option in Photoshop to optimize your images to the exact size that you need them; Don’t use HMTL or WordPress to resize
- Install a WordPress caching plugin like W3 Total Cache
Every second you shave off of your loading time helps boost customer confidence and drive sales.
Obsessively tweaking your meta data or overloading your content with keywords might help you with SEO but it definitely won’t help you with conversion. Your content, after all, should be catered to your target market and not Googlebots. Writing only for search engines will make you sound robotic and awkward. Ensure that your keywords are incorporated in a natural sounding way and not overdone.
Lack of White Space
White space is the fundamental building block of web design. It is the negative space between design elements. A lack of white space creates a cluttered and chaotic layout, which hurts conversion. White space can increase legibility and comprehension, increases interaction, emphasizes call-to-actions, creates balance and separates content to improve your visual layout.
Having a non-standard navigation or too many dropdowns not only affects conversion but SEO as well. Here are some awesome tips to improve your navigation:
- Users expect your navigation to be down the left or across the top. If you place your navigation somewhere else, chances are, people are leaving your website out of frustration.
- Don’t use generic labels like “Who we are” or “What we do”. Instead, incorporate keywords into your navigation to indicate your relevance to search engines.
- Avoid drop downs, not only because they are difficult for mobile users but also because they encourage users to skip important top-level pages. Giving your users too much to chose from often means that they will choose nothing at all.
- Reduce menu items so that users are less likely to gloss over the important items. The more concise your menu is, it is more likely that its authority will be passed on to the interior pages, making them more likely to rank.
Unless you are a D.J. or singer, there is no reason you need background music on your website. Streaming a full song requires a lot of bandwidth, can be choppy with slower connections, and increases loading time. If you chose to loop a few seconds of a song, it could drive people crazy who stay longer on your website. Everyone has different taste in music and likely they are streaming something from their iPhone or Pandora already so it will only annoy them once your music starts playing.
Giving it all Away on your Homepage
Your homepage is supposed to entice and engage users to browse the rest of your website. Just like you would not give it all away on a first date, don’t give it all away on your homepage.
We’ve said it many times before: go mobile or go home. With Google burying mobile-unfriendly sites in search results and the majority of people accessing websites via mobile devices these days, having a responsive website is crucial to the long-term success of your business. Research shows that 40% of users will go to the competitor after a bad mobile experience, yet an astounding 84% have experienced difficulty completing a mobile transaction. That is an extremely high number, and it shows that there is an excellent opportunity for businesses to increase conversion just by creating mobile responsive and user-friendly websites.
If you need help resolving any of the above-mentioned issues on your website, please contact our web design team to improve your conversion rate. Please tweet us at @kwokdesign if you have more web design blunders to add to our list.