The best laid plans can quickly come apart if your website is turning customers away, as soon as they click through to visit you.
You may not realize it, but there are a lot of things that you can avoid including on your website to help maximize the effectiveness of your marketing materials and help nudge customers further down your conversion funnel.
Even if you have some customer loyalty established in your target market, it may not be enough. For example, Northsail has worked for years consistently completing projects on-time, on-spec, and on-budget, and if our website was poorly optimized, our potential clients may still turn away, despite our reliable reputation.
If you've been experiencing these same types of concerns, it's time to think about ways that your website design process might be increasing your bounce rate. With that in mind, we've got 7 tips for things you should never include on your website.
Before we get to that, let's talk a bit about creating a digital customer experience, and the unintended impacts that website design mistakes can have on your business.
Building a digital customer journey and creating a well-rounded, enjoyable digital experience are two of the most challenging aspects for business owners to achieve when they're creating the responsive design for their next website project.
Forgetting about the digital customer experience is a common website mistake that can cost you conversions and reduce real estate in your target marketplace.
Your website needs to feel like a cohesive structure that is inviting for online visitors, but also gently turns away irrelevant or unwelcome visitors by making your brand's voice, story, and mission statement crystal clear from the moment they arrive.
This means more than just pleasing designs that fit with the tone of your brand. Website best practices is about creating a holistic experience from your initial point of contact, all the way through until they click that all-important 'BUY NOW' button.
The biggest and most noticeable impact of website design mistakes is that you'll notice a low percentage of conversions on your website, compared to a high bounce rate.
However, this isn't the only thing that these common website mistakes can affect.
A poorly optimized website won't index or crawl properly through search engines. This means that you'll see significantly less organic website traffic than you could with a well-optimized site design.
Also, a poorly secured website will raise security concerns not only for your own business, but for the safety of your customers' personal identifiable information (i.e., credit card information, email address, address information, etc.).
Hackers are more likely to target websites that have minimal to no security services, especially those that are lacking in essential security monitoring. We'll talk more about that in a little bit.
If you're trying to create a smooth design experience, which doesn't cause any headaches for your visitors, you need to avoid confusing navigation menus that force them to waste time trying to figure out how to get where they want to go on your site.
Dropdown menus need to be configured to function smoothly, without lag. If you're using a mega menu, it needs to be accessible and fit cleanly into the banner or footer design on your pages.
Most importantly, your mobile menu needs to function well. You can't just optimize your site for desktop use, because in today's world, a substantial portion of your potential customers will be using mobile devices.
A clean, easy-to-use mobile menu will avoid cutting off that portion of your customer base from being able to easily access your site. It will also ensure your site's navigation options are as clear as possible, no matter what channel guided them to your site, (i.e., social media, email marketing, etc.).
Even the most intuitive and responsive web design won't increase consumer engagement the way you're hoping if you're relying on low-quality designs and images.
Creating the perfect balance takes time and effort. You want to keep load times to a minimum, but you absolutely don't want to use low-quality images that appear pixelated or blurry. That can do more damage to your customer engagement than having no images at all.
Including excessive bulleted lists that serve as info dumping grounds only work well if they blend seamlessly into the rest of your site design. It can quickly overwhelm customers with too much information, while simultaneously not engaging them enough to want to retain the information you're providing them.
The best websites start with a quality website builder. If you don't have access to one, you should consider checking out Northsail's newest service - Horizon. Our reliable website builder will give you all the tools you need to quickly and easily manage your website campaigns, while ensuring you always have high-quality design standards.
It's understandable that you may want to include some stock images on your website, especially if your business is a startup, and you haven't had the time or resources to create a lot of your own high-quality images yet.
Because these images are usually well-compressed, they're a useful tool to keep image load times down on your site.
However, excessively using stock images is a great way for your business to stand out as a novice, which in turn, can create the feeling that your brand is inexperienced or that your design standard is lower than your competitors’.
Worse yet, if you're linking out to a stock image that may not be in that same location indefinitely, you could end up with broken image sources, which ends up making your site feel unfinished and unprofessional.
The key to using stock images is balance. And when you can, switch over to your own resources as soon as possible. It helps your brand stand out as a unique, self-sufficient entity with its own strong brand image.
As we mentioned before, the level of security on your website is extremely important. You may want to consider getting a security suite software that can provide automatic security patches for you, if you and your team don't have a lot of time and energy to spend monitoring your website security services.
However, in terms of security, you may want to consider using some of the resources available through the National Cyber Security Center to get you started.
They have plenty of security tips and a wealth of guides that you can use for your own website to avoid unnecessary security issues, as well as some tips on security basics you and your team can adopt to improve your overall knowledge and awareness on the subject.
Trust us, it's definitely worth spending some time brushing up on security basics, especially if you aren't going to be bringing in a security expert to manage your site's protection.
We've talked before about the importance of choosing the right colors to represent your brand on your site.
However, getting overzealous and using an excess of base colors on your site can start to make the whole site feel cluttered, messy, or amateurish.
Try to use no more than 2-3 base colors as part of your website best practices color palette. This will help minimize overwhelming your audience with too many colors at once, and potentially turning them away from your site before they reach the end of your conversion funnel.
Also, keep complementary base colors in mind when you're creating a color palette for your site. This will help all the elements of your landing pages feel like part of a single, cohesive unit, while simultaneously keeping the design visually appealing.
This may seem like common sense, but you might be surprised by how often businesses include irrelevant blog posts as part of their content marketing strategy.
Often, this is because they believe that they can stuff blog posts full of trending keywords that will draw in more organic traffic from search engines.
The truth, however, is that this just makes your entire content strategy feel clumsy and poorly designed. It adds a lot of irrelevant content to your site, which in many cases, can impact your Google ranking as well - and not in the positive ways you're hoping for.
Worse yet, when companies start including irrelevant content, your whole brand voice becomes muddled and unclear. In turn, this can cost you customer loyalty and make it unclear which target demographics you're actually trying to reach.
Without direction, your content strategy can't get on the path to success.
Of course, every business wants a quality website hosting provider to host their site, but it's important to spend some time ensuring that these providers have anti-spam software built into their hosting, so that your customers aren't bombarded with malware or spyware when they visit you.
If the provider you're looking at isn't providing access to anti-malware software, be sure to talk to them about why, because missing out on these protections can have a serious impact on your digital customer experience. And if they are, ask to make sure they've got their system set up for automatic software updates, as well.
No one wants to deal with pop-ups, and if it becomes an issue for your site, you're sure to lose some of your potential consumers to these annoying, intrusive irritants.
One of the most frustrating things that a visitor can come across on your site are broken links of any kind. It doesn't matter whether they're broken links to your blog posts, contact us page, or product pages.
It won't matter to the customer, because as soon as they stumble upon a broken link, they will automatically begin to assume that there are other broken links on your site, even if they never see them.
This common website mistake can turn people away immediately, since most won't have the patience to go back and try to find an alternative link to what they were looking for. In most cases, they'll switch over and start considering a competitor's page, which isn't having these types of problems.
Avoid this misstep, and you can present yourself as the alternative, the next time one of your competitors makes this mistake.
Probably one of the biggest common website mistakes you'll find, spammy or malicious links are a great way to dissuade customers from wanting to purchase products or services through your website.
Why, you may ask? Think about the precedent that you're setting by allowing these types of spammy links to exist on your site.
You're telling customers that your services are just as tacky and unreliable as those they'll find on the other side of a malicious link. You may think that burying these revenue generators at the bottom of a page will help minimize this issue, but most of the time, these partnerships will only pay off for each visitor that clicks through the link.
Each click may generate a small amount of revenue for you through the partnership, but it could also represent the last time that the visitor will ever take a chance on your site again.
If customer loyalty and brand affinity are your goals, avoid this common website design mistake at all costs.
Now that you know a handful of things that you should avoid including in your next website project, are you ready to take your website project to the next level, without the need for a developer's oversight?
You can with 'Horizon', Northsail's newest service. Apart from quickly and easily creating high-performance landing pages, Horizon gives you the freedom to build custom customer data forms, widgets, as well as oversee all your campaigns from a single, intuitive dashboard.
Best of all, Horizon is completely free to try for the first 30 days. No obligation or credit card required. We're so sure that you'll love Horizon, we won't even take your payment information until after your trial is completed.
So, if you're ready to take back control of your website projects without relying on an expensive developer, what are you waiting for?
We’ll send you important updates about the early access program and your free invite when we are ready.
Your contact information will only be used for the early access program, not for future sales and marketing.