Building an effective online presence is a difficult prospect. There are so many pitfalls, mistakes and hidden algorithms that your website needs to conform to that it can be dizzying trying to ensure you create something effective and efficient. In this post we spin through 5 common website design mistakes – avoid these and watch your business grow!
Contact email address
The first common website design mistake comes in the form of the email address that is used on a website. And this one comes down to a matter of trust.
Maybe you’ve had an agency build your site, or you have your own WordPress design skills, and you have a beautiful website. Why would you spoil that by giving your contact email address as a Hotmail, Outlook or Gmail address?
You may wonder why this is an issue, these email address types are so common that you’d guess that 9 out of 10 people have an email address with at least one of them right? Well, yes that is probably true (Hotmail and Outlook have a combined 760 million users, and 1.5 billion Gmail accounts – so, there’s undoubtedly a lot of people with them) but why on earth would you use your personal address or what LOOKS like a personal address as your business contact email?
Look, it’s not a hard equation. Your web hosting will typically include the option to create email addresses based on your new domain. So instead of having an email like firstname.lastname@example.org you can have the far more professional email@example.com
Not only does this common website design mistake look unprofessional on a business page, people are being trained not to trust email addresses linked to businesses that look like a personal email address – which is exactly what a Hotmail, Gmail or Outlook address looks like. Anyone can set up an Outlook address using a business’ name. In fact, for the purposes of this I’ve just setup CocaCola1919151915@outlook.com – it’s a genuine Coca Cola email address, promise.
If you want to have your sales inquiries arrive in your personal email address so you can be super responsive that’s fine, just avoid this simple common website design mistake by using a redirect from your business inbox.
Information Overload – Part 1
This is really important.
People Don’t Like to Read Too Much.
According to statistics, the average amount of time spent on a website is 54 seconds. And the average reading time is under 240 words per minute. What does that mean? People will not read very much on your website before they make decisions about it, you and your service.
A common website design mistake is trying to cram absolutely every single product or service onto your website. We’ve written about bounce rate before but to say it simply it’s a measure of users choosing to interact with your website or deciding immediately (within 10 seconds) that it’s not right for them. Bounce rate is a measure of how good or bad your site is. In this case, throwing too much at the user to read is off-putting and will result in more bounce than a basketball game.
Unless you are trying to create a catalogue website with many many pages there is no need to get every single one of your services onto your website.
For example, a carpet cleaning company may offer services both personal and commercial. In doing so they may clean rugs, carpets, area rugs, bathroom rugs, doormats, blah, office carpets, corridor runners, factory carpeting, reception carpets, red carpets, pub carpets, blah, rental home carpets, nursing home carpets, blah, nursery school carpets. And they may include furniture cleaning like sofa cleaning, curtain cleaning, pillow cleaning AND MORE.
Now how boring was that last paragraph? You probably didn’t read it, or maybe only skimmed it. You probably didn’t notice that it included the word blah three times did you? And boring means bounce so avoid this common website design mistake.
Think more carefully about what your potential clients need to see in order to get in touch with you. If you’re a carpet cleaning company, realistically they need to know you clean carpets and furniture, that you do personal or business work and perhaps keywords around professionalism and safety etc. Or perhaps you ay have a specialism that will set you apart – perhaps your company offers re-dyeing of carpets?
Information Overload – Part 2
OK, so your website doesn’t need to include absolutely every single product or service you offer unless you have a catalogue site that is selling them directly to the user. Similarly though, a common website design mistake comes in the form of putting too much on a single page of your site.
When you are working to design your website, you simply can’t ‘save money’ by reducing the number of pages on your site and combining items randomly on the fewer pages. It doesn’t work.
Not only will you likely be throwing on too much reading for your users, you will also be giving a mixed message about what it is that you do. Now this is bad for your users, that’s true. It’s worse for Google.
No one apart from Google knows too much about their mysterious search ranking algorithms. What we DO know is that Google likes its pages clearly defined and accurate. They want to know that if they are sending users to a page to find out about Shropshire Strawberries, then that page is about strawberries and not a horrifying Frankenstein’s monster of strawberries, peat logs and petting farm tickets.
This is an unforgivable sin when it comes to common website design mistakes. Orphan pages are those pages which are not linked into the overall site structure. This means none of the other pages on your site feature any links to it and it doesn’t include any links to the rest of your site.
Google really doesn’t like these pages, so much so that the crawlers will actually ignore the page. But not before they have effectively marked you down for featuring unnecessary material.
Come on, at the very least every page of your website should be featuring a call to action – specifically, a call to contact you! It’s relatively easy to avoid this common website design mistake, and a call to action is a get method. Speaking of which…
Action Action Action – Call To Actions
Let’s face it, your business website is not a vanity project for you. It is a very real and very valuable method of scoring new business (the vanity project is your Instagram stream of Sunday morning lie-in selfies, amirite?).
You’ve got a great looking website. You’ve ensured that the information is clear, concise and well-structured. You know what though? And this is one of the most common of the common website design mistakes. Potential clients have no idea what to do next.
We recently worked with a client who had a previous website. And whilst their site had plenty of information on it, at no point did it have a single button or form requesting users get it touch. Nor did it even include a prominent telephone number. So, what is the point of the site?
Again, going back to the average time spent on a website, you have to be quick. Users want the information they need quickly. Users may even come to your website with the express intention of getting in touch with you because they have made the decision that they want to begin the process of becoming clients. You must clearly signpost their path to contacting you.
So there you have it, 5 common website design mistakes to avoid if you want to be turning clicks into contacts.
If you are looking to build a better website or even have an expert eye being cast over your site get in touch!