There are plenty of web design mistakes that are infamous at this point for alienating site visitors and killing conversion rates. Yet they’re still fairly common. And a lot of them don’t just get in the way of new sales; they actually create a negative impression of the brand by making it look outdated and unconcerned with their customer experience.
If your website just isn’t working as the lead- and sales-generating tool you thought it would be, review the following list of common web design mistakes and look over your website to see if it’s guilty of any of them.
Detrimental Web Design Mistakes
- Not mobile responsive – This is undoubtedly the biggest web design mistake you can make now. There’s just no excuse for not having a mobile-friendly website anymore. Odds are, the majority of traffic that arrives at your site is viewing it on a mobile device. If the user can’t see things properly, or if certain functionality isn’t working right, they quickly leave.
- Not optimizing page titles and meta descriptions – Every page on your website should have a unique, focused, descriptive page title and meta description that contains the page’s primary keyword phrase. It’s important for SEO purposes and for drawing in traffic. Titles should be 50 to 70 characters and meta descriptions should be 130 to 160 characters. Read more about optimizing page titles and meta descriptions.
- Not writing alt text for images – This is another important field to fill out for better SEO, and it’s essential to creating an accessible website. Optimized alt text can bring in traffic through image searches, and it’s read by assistive devices for the visually impaired.
- Not having an accessible website – Speaking of accessibility, it’s a big deal. Your site should be usable for people with various disabilities, and it makes your brand accessible to them. Accessibility is becoming increasingly mandated by law, too. Here are the basics for designing an accessible website.
- Keyword stuffing – Keyword stuffing is the practice of writing your target keywords over an over again on a page in the hopes of ranking highly for it in search results. While this sometimes worked back in the early days of search, it doesn’t work anymore. In face, it will get your website penalized by Google and other search engines. And it’s super annoying to everyone reading the page and makes your site seem spammy.
- Having slow-loading pages – Users simply don’t want to wait more than a few seconds—4 seconds is the average maximum time they wait—for a website page to load. Slow-loading pages is one of the leading causes of a high website bounce rate. Large and/or multiple images, excessive use of plugins, and insufficient hosting are common reasons a page takes too long to load. Check your page load speed with a free tool like Pingdom.
- Not having a secure site – Consumers take website security seriously these days—especially on e-commerce sites. If your URL starts with http:// and not https://, you won’t instill confidence in your visitors. Several major browsers, including Chrome and Firefox, even give users a little warning in the URL bar if they’re on an unsecured site. Install an SSL (secure sockets layer) certificate, which can be purchased from your domain provider.
- Long web forms – Web forms are a must for generating leads on your website. But users like short, quick forms that only ask for the information that’s totally necessary. Keep them to a maximum of three to five fields. If more are truly necessary, find a sensible way to break it up into more than one form. When you’d like more information but don’t need it, keep the required fields to a minimum and ask for the other stuff in optional fields.
- Not having calls to action (CTAs) – CTAs are how you get your site visitors to do anything you want them to do. There should be one on every page of your website, geared toward accomplishing a specific goal, whether it’s buying something, joining a mailing list, requesting a free estimate, making an appointment, downloading more information, going to another page on your website as a logical next step, or something else.
- Hard-to-find contact information – Often, your site visitors will want to contact you. And you want them to contact you. But they’re not likely to spend much time trying to find out how to do so. Your site should have a dedicated Contact page that’s easily found in the top-level navigation. Include a phone number, email address, and contact web form, as well as your physical address if applicable. Also, put your phone number, email address, and address in the footer on every page.