March 24, 2016
Whether you’re just about to get your first business website built, or think that your current site needs a complete redesign to get it up to scratch, there are plenty of dos and don’ts to keep in mind when you’re in the planning stages.
If you want your new site to have the best possible chance of success and achieve all your goals — whether that may be obtaining new customers, getting more repeat business, increasing your database, or selling more goods and services — it’s important not to make the same mistakes that so many other business owners have in the past. Read on for some common design issues that you should avoid.
1. Poor Layout
One of the worst mistakes you can make with your website is to have a layout that is disorganized and difficult for browsers to use. Keep in mind that users want to find what they’re looking for quickly and, if they can’t, they will simply click away to go look for it somewhere else. As a result, it might be time for a site redesign with navigation that leads potential customers through the various pages in a sensible and easy-to-follow fashion.
Each page of the website should have a clear navigation bar that helps to guide visitors to other areas that they may be interested in (such as a “Contact Us” page, “About Us” page, “Frequently Asked Questions” page, or “Newsletter Sign-up” page). This navigation bar should be positioned along either the top or left side of the site so that it is always visible, no matter the screen resolution or what device a browser may be using to surf the Internet. It also pays to put a site map in the footer to give viewers an idea of every page that is on the site and a link to clink through to it.
Helpful websites also incorporate a search box so that people can look for something in particular if they’d like, and find it quickly and easily. You might like to take advantage of the popular Google Custom Search function, or opt for a plug-in or the already-installed device that may be available on your website template.
2. Cluttered Pages
Another big no-no when it comes to websites is having too much clutter on the pages. If you have too many elements of text, graphics, and clashing colors on a page, visitors will find that they get overwhelmed by all the busyness and won’t know where to look for what they do want to read. As a result, they’re much more likely to click away rather than stay browsing on your site. After all, who wants to spend time staring at a screen that makes their eyes hurt when there are so many other websites out there to choose from?
To avoid this potential issue, make sure that every page on your website has a decent amount of white space — that is, empty, or “negative” space; the areas on the page that are left unmarked. (These spots don’t actually have to be white in color, but are generally kept in some sort of soft, neutral shade that is easy on the eyes).
White space is typically found between columns, text, images, margins, graphics and the like, and helps to give a page a simple and elegant look that is easier to read. For an example of a website that uses white space well, look to Google’s home page. This popular destination features lots of blank space, which helps users to simply focus on what they’re on the page to do: that is, conduct a search.
3. Slow Server Times
Another common issue that really annoys Internet browsers when they’re looking for information is sites that take a long time to load. Slow server times are, unfortunately, an all-too-common problem, and something that business owners don’t tend to test often enough.
If your site is loading slowly (multiple studies show that people will tend to click away if a site doesn’t load within four seconds or less), there may be one or more reasons causing the problem that need to be investigated. Often these reasons stem from areas to do with the site’s design.
For example, you may have too many images or videos on the site, or these files may be too large; alternatively, you may also be using a website hosting service that just can’t keep up with the number of viewers and keeps your site running slowly as a result. There might also be other issues such as images without caching information, or content served without any HTTP compression. These are things that you might want to speak with your Web designer or other IT support person about, but know that they can be fixed.
Cher Zavala is a content co-ordinator who assists in contributing quality articles on various topics. In her free time she also enjoys hiking, traveling and getting to know the world around her. Cher has built up many strong relationships over the years within the blogging community and loves sharing her useful tips with others.