The Site Slinger Blog

Web Development, Design, and everything PSD to HTML
By Jeremy H.

Top 5 Web Design Mistakes of Modern Websites

In 2013 U.S. internet users spent nearly 70 hours online per month, and U.K.  users spent 43 hours online per month. We are so tied to the internet that many of us would rather lose a toe then our modem. Consequently, to some extent, we have all become web experts — or at least, very good at knowing how to find what we want.

These days, when we stumble upon a website that doesn’t grab our attention or immediately meet our needs, we surf away faster then you can say “HTML.” So how do new sites grab and keep a user’s attention? One of the first steps in creating a compelling and useful website is by avoiding the 5 remarkably common web design mistakes detailed below.

Web design mistakes

1. The site is outdated

While webpages don’t need to be trendy, they do need to be current, both in terms of aesthetics and information. A webpage is the public face of your company. If it looks outdated, consumers may assume that you no longer offer the services you claim to offer, or worse, that you are no longer in business. Unless you’re going intentionally retro, you don’t want images of flip phones or clunky computers. Use bright, contemporary images and design.  And be sure, of course, to keep your information up-to-date.

2. The site has no clear call-to-action

The call-to-action accomplishes two things:

  • It encourages users to further engage with your business.
  • It allows you to capture leads.

Place the call-to-action on your landing page. Often, the call-to-action is a form where users can leave email and request further information. But if a form is too complicated, at least be sure to encourage users to contact you. And be sure to make your contact information very accessible.

3. The site has no social media component

Facebook now has over 1 billion active monthly users. Twitter and Instagram are undeniable forces, along with Pinterest and LinkedIn. With the rise of social media, traditional disruptive marketing has been further replaced with the concept of content marketing: attracting customers by creating and curating useful and relevant content. You may do this by creating a deep library of texts and tools in your field for your customer; this, however,  is not an immediate requirement. What is essential is that you begin to create a community around your field­ — a community in which you are the experts. Social media is the best tool available for this project.

Responsive Web Design

4. Your site has a non-responsive web design

See our earlier post, “Why Responsive Web Design? Here’s 3 Reasons.” Non-responsive web design limits SEO, discourages on-the-go users, and can cost unnecessary time and money. Moreover, non-responsive web design is outmoded — users have come to expect, and need, responsive websites!

5. Bad UX: Your site is cluttered, incoherent and/or inconsistent

It amazes me how many websites still throw up incomprehensible walls of text. Or they use difficult-to-read fonts. Or they ignore the value of empty space. You want your information to pop, and usually, it will do so with the help of good graphic design. But unfortunately, good graphics don’t solve all of your design problems. Sites may look gorgeous, but because they are inconsistent in their use of font, color and general tone, they become unreadable. Moreover, if they lack good web-sense — that is, interactivity and smart layout — they can become just another pretty picture to surf past.

Remember that by the time you have collated all of your website’s content, organized it in a useful manner, and thrown in some nice graphics, your eyes have become tired. Ask for help. New eyes will see typos and inconsistencies. Moreover, outside experts can bring in new ideas that just may solve intractable communication issues you didn’t even know you had. There are several services you can use to test your site, such as Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, UserTesting, and TaskRabbit. We here at The Site Slinger also help out designers all the time with courtesy design or development feedback for a project you’re prepping. Want us to review something? Just let us know.

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