31 Crucial Web Design Mistakes You Must Avoid
Why Visitors Might Hate Your Website Design
Almost every business has a website, but not every website is getting traffic. You need a professionally designed website to attract and engage a targeted audience and make an impact online. Unfortunately, many business websites contain crucial web design mistakes and fail to provide an acceptable user experience.
Any business with a website or online store must provide the best user experience to visitors on their website. That is generally the deal-breaker on whether that visitor sticks around or goes to another website.
Website visitors spend no more than a few seconds judging a website. To be precise, most people take about 50 milliseconds (0.05 seconds) to decide whether they like your website or not.
If you can’t leave an impression within those few seconds, they’ll simply leave and never return. So as a growing brand, you must make sure that you don’t mess up your online presence with crucial web design mistakes.
Online consumers have the attention span of a goldfish, and mobile users have seen a massive 88% drop in their attention span every year. Unfortunately, that’s not good news for businesses looking to turn online visitors into buyers.
Even if the visitor decides to stay on the website for some reason, around 40% of people won’t engage with the website if they find the layout unattractive and the content is poor.
That puts severe pressure on businesses when designing their website. They need to strike the right balance between all the main elements of good web design. For example, suppose your business is struggling to attract visitors to your website. And the ones who are visiting are not converting. In that case, you should start thinking about revamping your web design because it might be damaging your chances of success.
In today’s post, I’ll discuss some crucial web design mistakes that we frequently see to help you avoid them and provide a better user experience.
31 Crucial Web Design Mistakes
1. Not Being Mobile-Friendly
Not being mobile-friendly is one of the worst web design mistakes. It will hurt your business, and you must avoid it at all costs. The first impression of your website design depends on how it appears on a mobile device. Therefore, mobile-first web design is essential if you want to engage and convert modern consumers.
These days, most visitors browse the net on their mobile devices instead of desktops. We all know that internet consumption is now much higher on smartphones, tablets, PS4s, and other mobile devices than on desktops and laptops. A bad mobile experience will make your visitors leave the site immediately and move to another site that offers a better user experience.
As a result, visitors are less likely to use your website again if it is not mobile-friendly, even if they like your business. Therefore, they will neither use nor buy from your website and recommend your company to other consumers.
Suppose your website layout, images, and web copy don’t scale to different mobile screen sizes. The navigation menu options are too small, don’t appear in appropriate spaces, or aren’t touch-friendly. Act now and fix these problems ASAP. Create a lasting impression with an effective mobile-friendly design so your competitors can’t get an advantage over you.
2. Slow Page Load Speed
Visitors are more impatient online than before, and they don’t like to wait. Therefore, the probability of visitor bounce increases with more page loading time.
Besides responsive and mobile-friendly designs, Google now prefers to rank websites that load fast. So if you want to rank higher on Google’s search results page, you can’t afford to have a slow website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
Check if you have any internal issues such as coding, video content, or images impacting page loading time and fix them accordingly. If the problem is with the hosting server, get technical support, or run updates immediately.
3. Automatically Playing Audio or Video
Your visitors are not walking into a party; they are looking for information. If you auto-play sounds and videos, you will annoy visitors even before they get a chance to look at your website. People find it irritating, and depending upon where the person is, it could be embarrassing. In addition, loading multimedia content takes time and bandwidth, which also increases page load time. If you must auto-play videos, keep them small and start them muted.
4. Poor Slider Implementation
Sliders are a common cause of web design mistakes. Use a slider only when it adds value to your site. If you include a slider, implement it correctly. Reloading the page every time the image changes slows down the page and confuses visitors.
Instead, the image size should be as small as possible, and each slide should give a complete message. Don’t expect readers to click through all the slides or wait for them to load. You should provide the same information as a written copy on the page.
5. Website without SSL Certificate
Warning signals like ‘The site you are trying to reach is not secure’ are sent out to website visitors by browsers if it is not hosted securely. If your webpage still has URLs starting with HTTP instead of HTTPS, then check your SSL certificate.
SSL wasn’t a big issue a few years ago. But now, having an SSL Certificate is essential. Google and other search engines push you further down in the search results to limit your visibility if your site is not secure. Having a website that is not secure is a red flag for both visitors and search engines. So, make sure to fix all your site security issues to avoid missing out on SEO ranking factors.
Have you ever been to a website, and you just weren’t sure where to find something? Maybe the menu was in a weird place, or it had a thousand sub-menus that made you feel trapped in a labyrinth doomed to eternal wandering! Yea, we’ve all been there when it just isn’t apparent how to get where you want to go, and you feel lost.
Please keep it simple. Ensure the menu is in a prominent location in the header with clear, concise titles and sub-menus, keeping the sub-menus to a minimum and straightforward with those.
Be sure to provide alternate navigation methods, at least in the footer and possibly in the sidebar or on certain pages, in the form of a call to action.
If you must sit down and show your prospect how to navigate your site, you are doing it wrong! It should be easy and fast to navigate your site. Don’t let confusing navigation ruin an otherwise great website.
7. Few and Bland Calls-to-Action
Without having clear calls-to-action or CTA that can convince your visitors to take some action on your website, you can’t create conversions. Therefore, you should design CTAs appropriately to be prominently visible, easily understandable, and promote interaction.
Whether registering on the website, signing up for a newsletter, subscribing to a mailing list, or making a purchase, the calls-to-action should be placed strategically on the pages with a persuasive command. The content that you use for your CTAs should tell users what to do to have a clear idea of what will happen in the next step.
8. Too Many Calls-to-Action
“Buy Now!” Who hasn’t been to a website and seen this on every single button on the page? While I must commend those websites by sticking hard and fast to the “one-thing” principle of web design, it’s simply too much.
Calls to action should be helpful. Buttons should be strategically placed where it’s logical for the user to dive further into the site.
An overabundance of buttons will only deter the user from clicking on them. It feels gimmicky and pushy. No one likes a pushy salesperson — but is your website the pushiest salesperson of them all? (Be honest.)
9. Font Sizes that are Not Reader-Friendly
This one is a typical website design mistake. Some web designers often use the default font and skip the importance of customizing it. Yes, users want to see modern typography. But that should be easy to read and not so tiny that it starts giving them a headache. Likewise, body text should be ideally 16px so that it is reader-friendly across different types of devices.
Also, make sure that you don’t select a font that is difficult to read, such as hand-drawn scripts or cursive fonts. Using too many font styles and types together is also a big web design mistake. They act as a visual distraction and make it challenging to convey your message effectively.
Check the details of the space used between two characters (kerning), words and phrases (tracking), and between the lines or sentences (leading). The main idea is to focus on clarity.
10. Painful Color Combinations
Another one of the most crucial web design mistakes is using too many colors. You only need about five to six colors for a good design. Well-designed sites usually use two or three hues and their shade variations for 90% of the page. Use the other colors sparingly. Besides being uncomfortable to the eyes, too many colors may confuse the brain.
The text should be readable. Low-contrast text, for example, yellow text on a white background, is hard to read. Similarly, too much contrast, like white on black, is also uncomfortable. Avoid dark backgrounds because more people prefer light backgrounds, and more websites use them. In addition, switching between dark and light backgrounds causes eye discomfort.
11. Random Color and Contrast
Picking incompetent color and contrast is also one of the worst web design mistakes that can reject even the best designs. Instead, it would help if you always focused on creating a complementary synergy. For example, if you’re using a white background and light grey text together, it will make your design ineffective.
Although both colors provide a modern and minimal look, they can’t be used together in this case because the text becomes hard to read. Make sure that the font color and background color you are using on the website have sufficient contrast.
12. Too Minimalist for the Sake of Creativity
Web designers need to be creative but excessive creativity isn’t acceptable when it comes to user experience. While you should not distract users with overly flashy and too many elements, you should also not design a page with too little information.
Minimalist designs are unique and trending, but you need to understand what works and what doesn’t for users. For example, having a page design with too few menu options, few or one-word text can hurt your business.
13. Poor Visual Content
While you need to be careful with futuristic designs going wrong, you should also check your existing visual content’s quality significantly when redesigning a website. Visitors will skip your site if they find outdated content, styling, low-quality images, graphics and videos, and mismatched typography. Poor and obsolete visual content can hurt the reputation of a business.
14. Bad Brand Messaging
Faulty brand messaging is one website design mistake that should not be underrated. It is going to be one of the highest priorities in 2022. Users form an opinion about your business within 0.5 seconds once your page loads. Suppose you are not presenting them the right brand message which conveys what your company does and why they should choose you. In that case, they will immediately leave and move to a competitor’s website.
So, you can stay ahead of your competitors if you fix this right away. Make sure that your website content addresses the targeted audience’s needs and not just promotes your agenda. You must base your brand message on the value you provide to your potential customers and build trust to influence their decision-making process. Be sure to make your products and services, testimonials, affiliates, and awards stand out on the page.
15. Bad or No 404 Pages
Missing or boring 404 pages is another example of common web design mistakes. A 404 page is a web page that no longer exists. So, when a user clicks on such a link or types the URL of such a page on the browser, they will see the page indicating “Page Not Found.” Suppose you don’t offer anything other than an apology on such pages. In that case, visitors will hit the back button and leave your website.
Put a simple link to your homepage or add some thoughtful content to entertain or inform your users which they can find helpful on these pages to create a bridge to the essential areas of your website
16. Heavy Graphics, Images, and Multimedia
Large images, graphics, and multimedia take a lot of time to load. In the process, they tend to slow down page loading times which, in turn, can not only hurt your site rankings but also cause visitors to bounce.
Use standard file formats and optimize them for the dimensions that devices will use. Ensure that the visual elements you use on the website are easy and fast to load on any device.
17. Contact Info that’s Hard to Find
A fair percentage of visitors look for your contact information on your website. If they can’t find a way to contact you quickly, they will move ahead to get in touch with a competitor.
Make sure that your contact information such as phone number, email address, and store or business address is clear and visible in the header and footer and on a dedicated contact page in the main navigation to avoid losing potential customers.
18. Missing Header Tags
Headline elements like H1 headings and H2 subheadings, and so on help make your content easily scannable. Users scan through the content quickly, and if the headlines match their search intent, they will continue to stay on your page.
Header tags also act as a markup for bots to read and understand the purpose of the page. So, having appropriate header tags is crucial for search engines to find and rank your content on the search results page.
19. No Schema Markup
Schema markup is a code framework that you should add to your website. It provides added context on your web page to the search engines. It helps to offer more information to the users when they search for solutions and bring in more visitors to your website.
20. Bad Placement of Search Box
Another common web design mistake is to place the search box at the bottom of the page or behind other elements. Users expect to quickly find the search box to search for and retrieve the required information. Make sure that they don’t have to hunt or scroll down pages to find the search box.
21. Pages with Horizontal Scrolling
Horizontal scrolling is one of the worst web design choices as it mostly tends to annoy users. It splits content sideways, whether written or visual, which goes against the standard vision pattern. Also, it isn’t compatible with mobile devices from the point of view of usability and user experience.
22. Not Understanding Your Target Audience
Marketing 101 demands that you have a clear profile of your target audience. By understanding them, you can tailor information that is relevant to them. The same will have an impact on the look and feel of your website.
If you’re, for example, targeting teenagers, a professional-looking website would be a turn-off to them. You will, however, win big if you use catchy, high-resolution pictures of what they like. The use of celebrity endorsements will also work because they tend to be followers of trends.
23. Misleading Page Titles
You won’t like it if you click on a promising link and land on a long boring sales page. Likewise, you will annoy your visitors if you use misleading titles to attract them to your site. Usually, this results in a high bounce rate and a resulting loss in search rankings. Engaging titles work well only when the content is relevant and well-written. Suppose visitors are constantly leaving your website as soon as they get there. In that case, it signals to Google that your website is of low quality.
24. Generic Copy
“We provide a wide array of products and services perfect for a variety of needs from the very specific to the overly broad.” There, I just wrote the boilerplate for a thousand websites. But your website visitors deserve better! Generic copy is one of the most common web design mistakes.
When visitors arrive on your website, they are just starting their journey of conversion. You are ready to sell, but consumers are not prepared to buy at this stage. It is your job to guide them along the way. Here are a few questions you must answer:
- Why are you better?
- What’s in it for me?
- Who exactly do you serve?
- Why do I want this?
- What are the benefits of your product or service?
Your website copy takes the place of a helpful store or business owner. Your website content must speak for you since you can’t describe your service or product offerings in person. Instead, imagine you are talking to a potential client or customer. Then write that down to use on your website.
25. Having Too Much or Too Little Information
Poorly designed websites tend to have too much information. It could be too much text or too many images, which, quite honestly, no one has time to read. Your visitors should get a general idea of what you’re about with a simple glance.
The reverse is also true; don’t be too minimalistic in the content. No web visitor has the time to fill in the ‘blanks’ because of what you leave out. It may give the impression that you are lazy and don’t want to bother with details.
Websites are dynamic, and you can update the information when the need arises.
26. Haphazard Content Placement
Have you ever come to a website, only to be completely overwhelmed and confused? First, there is the haphazard placement of colors, images, themes, text, among others. Nothing fits together. The website does not present a cohesive design and seems to be a mishmash of ideas.
If you don’t want to hire a professional web designer, many professionally designed templates are available online. Choose and stick to one theme, logo, and typeface, and apply it throughout your website pages.
27. Poor Use of White Space
You should use white space because it improves the readability and comprehension of your website content and attracts more attention from the visitors. But you must use white or empty space strategically and purposefully to direct users’ attention to what you want them to focus on the most. A common web design mistake is to have too much empty space on your site.
28. Social Media Icons at the Top
A lot of websites have their social media icons on the top of the page. The main problem with this placement is that it distracts users as soon as they visit your site. Chances are higher that they will immediately jump into your social media pages and may never return to your website again. To avoid this distraction, place the icons in the sidebar, in the middle of the page, or the footer.
29. Ignoring the Importance of SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) is an effective marketing tool. Web designs for small businesses must incorporate the use of the content on their websites. There are tools you can use to check keyword rankings to increase your SERPs. The proper use of the content will allow you to talk about your business in detail.
The use of long-tail keywords will help with ranking, which will result in better leads. It also gives you a platform to become an authority in your field while helping you create awareness of your company. Make sure that you post fresh content regularly.
Visitors to your website don’t want to keep finding the same information every time they visit your site. So you can never exhaust possible topics to write about, especially if you have a pulse on what your customers want.
Don’t forget to link your social media pages to your website for additional traffic. Not only will you get a higher ranking on the search engines, but you can also actively engage with your audience.
30. Keyword Stuffing
Yes, I know, I should not have to mention this. But keyword stuffing is still a common practice. Stop doing this already!
Keyword stuffing makes your text hard to read besides undermining your credibility. A keyword-stuffed text will also lower your rankings because it’s considered search-engine spam. So use keywords sparingly and naturally.
For example, if you offer plumbing services in Seattle, it’s OK to mention it a couple of times. You don’t have to remind the reader in every paragraph. Google has gotten a lot smarter concerning context. If your website speaks about a specific plumbing issue, it will understand your business is about plumbing services.
If you use WordPress, you can use RankMath to check your content.
31. Not Using Analytics Tools
Suppose you are not tracking crucial data regarding the usage and performance of your website. In that case, you are making a critical web design mistake. Your website is an investment, and you should be measuring its success and analyzing its progress.
Make sure that you use a metrics tool like Google Analytics or similar to get valuable information about your website visitors and set goals to track conversions. Then, you can improve your pages based on available data and increase conversions.
“I Made Some of These Web Design Mistakes. What Do I Do Now?”
Uh oh, did I hit a couple of sore spots? Don’t worry. It’s going to be OK. Everything on this list is entirely fixable, and you can resolve most of it without a lot of heavy lifting.
If you’re still skeptical, I understand. Changing your approach or strategy can be hard to do. But do me a favor and make sure these decisions are holding up with your users.
If you have one (or more) of these examples on your site right now, the best thing you can do to prove or disprove their efficacy is to do some user testing.
Create some experiments around these elements. For example, maybe you want to see if users engage with a specific section, or perhaps you want to know if it is driving conversions. Whatever the case, write down what it is and determine how long you want to test it.
Then, define a parameter for success. What does “Hey, this actually works!” look like in your case? Is it X number of conversions? Is it a particular bounce rate? A heat map score? Whatever it is, write it down.
Now, utilize your tools! You can easily use the data gathered by tools like Google Analytics, Hot Jar, or Lucky Orange for these tests. Accurate data is the only way you will completely understand what most appeals to your user.
Run the experiment, read the data, and make changes accordingly.
The more you can experiment with your website, the more data you collect to help you make informed changes based on user needs and behavior.
Time to Build a Great Website
I have shared some of the worst website design mistakes you need to avoid. However, there are many templates that you can use to your advantage. You can also visit our website for great tools and tips which will take your website to the next level.
By avoiding these website design mistakes, you can build credibility for your brand, gain new customers, and foster client relationships. Hire a professional web design agency with a proven track record of success in working for various companies from different industries. Read testimonials and reviews of previous clients and check case studies before hiring.
Even if you decide to do most of the website design work on your own, I recommend that you get an expert to look at it. You may spend some money, but a good website is an investment worth making.
At PixoLabo, we help our clients create websites and mobile apps that give high performance and help build brand identity. We focus on creating an impressive user experience and frame brand strategies based on the industry and extensive market research.
There is a large market out there, and small businesses cannot afford not to tap into it. Good web design will draw in people, and the right strategy will turn web visitors into lifelong customers. We are here to help!
Do You Need Help with Your Business Website?
Here at PixoLabo, we offer a full range of WordPress website consulting and design services for businesses and product brands, including custom web design and development, e-commerce solutions, search engine optimization, and WordPress optimization.
And if you are still not sure how to avoid the worst web design mistakes, let’s talk! Our professional WordPress design team can help you identify website mistakes to avoid and fix errors on your website or online store.
Did You Make Any of These Web Design Mistakes?
Did you identify any of these web design mistakes on your website? How did you fix them? If not, what challenges are you facing? Please feel free to comment below so our audience can benefit and grab our feed so you don’t miss our next post! And feel free to share our post with your audience!
Thank you! We appreciate your help to end bad business websites, one pixel at a time!
By Gregor Saita
Co-Founder / CXO