For your business to survive in today’s digital world, your website design can make or break you. The internet has come a long way. With how easy and accessible it is, one of the first things customers will do is search for your business online. You may have a physical location that acts as the backbone of your business. But you should not forget about the face of your business also being your website.
Great website designs enhance businesses and leave users with positive impressions. Customers will surely want to do business with you if your website looks professionally made. Conversely, we have all clicked onto a website that was an eyesore and immediately exited. It is obvious that your website holds a lot of weight when it comes to your business’s reputation. We will cover common web design mistakes to avoid as well as elements that make for great website designs.
Importance of Great Website Designs
As we previously mentioned, customers use your website to retrieve information on your business. Regardless of how great your actual storefront may look, all your efforts will be for nothing if customers are deterred from visiting because of your website. Businesses’ website designs matter even more if those are the main ways for customers to contact them or conduct business online.
All businesses should strive for great website designs. But let us take a step back and first discuss what website design is. Web design is the process of strategically delivering information and functionality through an aesthetically pleasing layout. Think about all the different pieces that make up your website.
There are visual components of website designs including fonts, images/videos, color scheme, shaping, and spacing. More so, it would be helpful to have a refresher on the visual design elements and principles. Some of the best designed websites go back to the basics and keep it simple. Do not think that your website has to be elaborately decorated or be the next masterpiece of this century. Visual design should be purposeful and tasteful.
A common belief is that only the visual components matter for well designed websites. However, that could not be further from the truth. Some of the most important aspects of great website designs are the ones that go unnoticed or you do not see at all. Website design also consists of website speed, navigation, SEO, user experience, and responsiveness. To sum it all up, the website’s technical architecture matters just as much as the visual components. As you are optimizing your website, ensure that both the front-end and back-end are in good shape.
Website Design Mistakes to Avoid
Let us dive into what makes for great website designs or rather what does not. Below, we have outlined common mistakes many businesses make with their website designs. The best designed websites know to avoid these and act oppositely. But we will also cover what well designed websites are doing. So consider this a crash course on the dos and don’ts of website design.
Confusing Web Design Layout
First, the biggest mistake most websites encounter is doing too much or too little visually with their web pages. Balance is key and having a web page weighted properly is the first step in laying it all out. Most times, websites fill up the page with too much copy and add a lot of visuals. This can be overwhelming for the user as they are trying to locate the important information. Do not be afraid of a little negative or white space. It can really clean up the layout and create an overall hierarchy for your website. On the other hand, some website designs make the mistake of including too little. Customers then run into the issue of not finding the information they are looking for at all.
Messy Brand Identity
As you are considering what information to include on your web pages, remember that conciseness and consistency are vital. Your website should only contain essential information. Additionally, you want all of your web pages to have a uniform look and feel. Reflect on your brand identity and even create a branding guide so you are consistent with your image. When websites are unsure of their brand, they begin including a variety of different elements that do not go well with each other. Stick to one theme, one to two fonts, and a narrow color palette. Less is more when it comes to fonts and colors.
Another mistake poorly designed websites do is to annoy users with bad calls-to-action. A CTA is a powerful tool for customer engagement but used improperly can cause customers to jump to another website. The CTA should not be so invasive as to disrupt the user’s experience with the website so placement is critical. It should only contain enough information to convey the message and attract the user’s attention. Make sure it is actionable so visitors know exactly what needs to be done next.
Features of Well Designed Websites
Now that we have talked about the don’ts of website design, let us get into what makes for great website designs. Well designed websites may not all look the same but they do share many of the same basic characteristics. Consider your own business’s website when reviewing these recommendations and see if you are already incorporating them. You may just to make only minor adjustments.
If a user has no idea what web page they are on or any clue where to go next, they are not going to be on the website for very long. All the same, if the navigability of the website is intuitive, customers will browse the various web pages. The best designed websites have their navigation menus in prominent locations, usually on the top or sides. Each menu item should be easily understood and lead the user to the desired page. As a helpful tip, place web page titles somewhere on the page as an indicator for users to know where they currently are.
Accessible Contact Info
For most businesses, contact info is the most important information to include on their website, especially if your business relies heavily on foot traffic. It may seem like a no-brainer for great website designs to include their contact info, but placement matters too. Certainly, placing contact info in your footer is the go-to method. But consider the journey your customer will go through. Think about different places that make sense for your contact info to be like on a reservation page for restaurants or location info for in-store pickup. Since your website is essentially the face of your business, make sure customers find it easy to get to you.
What makes for well designed websites is sometimes the elements customers do not notice. And if they do notice, then you are not doing your job right. The technical construction of your website is crucial for great website designs. Similar to website layout, the best designed websites utilize responsive design. Nowadays, customers are on many different devices all varying in screen size. For your website to look good on all of them, incorporate responsiveness into your HTML code. On the same note, users come to your website from different browsers and search engines. Test out your website for compatibility to minimize any potential loss of customers.
A website can look perfect but if it takes a long time to load, customers will be hitting the back button. Users have a certain expectation for speed and retrieving things instantaneously. They may tolerate a slow load speed at the beginning, but that will not last forever, especially if you are trying to keep your customers on for a longer duration. Try compressing your images and avoid using large media files to help your site load faster.
You should also create a 404 page if you have not already. This will not only help with website designs but also your SEO. A 404 page appears when a user clicked on a broken link or a deleted web page. Users trust websites that have 404 pages more than those that do not. Take it a step further and be creative with the page. It can be frustrating for the user when they hit a dead-end like a 404 page, so try to lighten the mood. Great website designs even use 302 or 301 redirects to link to some other page that exists on your website. These keep the users from leaving your website altogether.
Get One of the Best Designed Websites
After talking about the many mistakes and must-haves of website designs, we hope you are feeling more up to the challenge of optimizing your website. The best designed websites utilize analytics to see what is working and not working. Begin incorporating some kind of analytics into your own site and start testing. You will be able to verify whether your changes are effective and have a clearer idea of what improvements still need to be made. Need additional support when it comes to web design and development? SEO Design Chicago can turn your website goals and visions into reality.
- What is website design?
- What are the benefits of great website designs?
- Does the technical design matter for websites?
- What makes for a well designed website?
- What are common mistakes of website design?