Even the best of designers sometimes make web design mistakes that can impact the overall user experience. You spend a lot of time and effort to drive traffic to your website. The last thing you want to do is lose that traffic once it arrives because of errors that you could easily fix.
Here are some common and some unusual web design mistakes you will want to watch for to make sure your site looks and perform as well as possible at all times.
1. 404 Pages
No matter how careful you try to be, at some point, a visitor is going to stumble on a 404 page error. Perhaps they type in the address wrong, or you have to unpublish an article because you discover controversy regarding it. Whatever the case may be, having a solid 404 page is vital for handling these errors.
The best way to handle a 404 error is to create a specific page for 404 landings. This page has to grab the site visitor’s attention and also help them get to the area they most need on your site. One idea is to create your 404 page more as a sales funnel where you guide the visitor from that landing page through your conversion process. You also could simply direct 404s to a navigation page so that the visitor can find what he or she wants.
2. No Call to Action
Using anchor text CTAs can increase conversions by 121% or more. A call to action offers some direction to your site visitor, so they know where to go next and what you’d like them to do. Leaving out a CTA can create a vacuum where the reader isn’t sure where to go next. She might just decide to go ahead and bounce away from your site.
Keep in mind that different wording, button colors and even placement works best on different sites. Try out various models, do some A/B testing and choose the combination that works best for you.
3. Ignoring Analytics
About 75% of small businesses completely ignore website analytics. If you aren’t paying attention to your analytics, you are missing out on a lot of valuable information that can help you improve your site and how it works for your visitors. Even a simple look at where people are landing, how long they are staying there and when they are leaving can help you see what changes you need to make.
4. Contact Form Errors
One fundamental way to convert site visitors into customers is through your contact form. However, if your contact form has errors that prevent it from sending or keep the site visitor from completing it, then you risk losing that lead. One mistake that some contact forms make is not letting the user know the form was successfully submitted. This can also result in the same information being input multiple times as the user keeps hitting the submit button. An easy way to fix this is a simple thank you message or follow-up email.
5. Not Hooking the Reader
Most site visitors only stay on a page and read about 25% of the content unless you manage to hook them into reading more. Many elements come into play here, but one key ingredient is a strong headline that grabs the attention and an opening line that not only tells what the post is about but also draws the reader in. The best way to learn this skill is to study other writers and how they hook their readers.
6. Missing Contact Details
Putting your contact information on your page adds a level of reliability to your site and helps site visitors trust you. Would you want to do business with someone who had no way for you to contact them if there were a problem? Site visitors don’t want that either. In fact, it is smart to offer multiple ways or customers and potential customers to contact you.
7. Responsive Designs
Have you ever been browsing a website on your mobile device and you had to stop and use your fingers to zoom in on some text or an image? It is aggravating, isn’t it? Try to make your website as responsive as possible. Some researchers estimate that as much as 60% of website traffic is now mobile. You’re missing out on a big chunk of the browsing audience if your site doesn’t respond to a smaller screen.
8. Music and Videos
There is nothing worse than commuting on the train home when suddenly a video begins blaring from your smartphone because you didn’t know it was going to play. Or, even worse, you have headphones in, and your eardrums almost burst from the loudness. There is no reason to force visitors to watch a video or listen to music when they land on your site.
Automatically playing music and videos can be a real turn-off to visitors and may cause them to bounce away from your site and never return. Add a video if it provides value but let the user choose whether or not to play that video.
9. Imbalance of White Space
Balancing positive and negative space on your page is crucial. Too little white space and things look cluttered. Too much and the page feels incomplete. Stick to proven design elements and spacing to create just the right balance between the two. One of the best ways to fix this issue is to do some A/B testing to see which balance your site visitors respond best to.
Web design mistakes happen all the time. Web design is complex, so there is a lot of room for error. Focus on fixing a few at a time until your site is the absolute best it can be. Although it will never be perfect, with a little time, a little A/B testing and a lot of effort, your site design will be successful.