Why is it so important to fix common website mistakes if your customers have never complained about them?
Websites offer visitors a look into how your business operates. Would you allow an outdated website that isn’t optimized for smartphones to represent your business? If so, what else might your business be lacking?
You must ensure that your business is represented in a professional manner. This goes far beyond just updating its design.
We are going to go through some of the most common website mistakes made by businesses. It is essential that you get these fixed immediately if your website is victim to any of these mistakes.
1. Having an outdated website design
Websites offer visitors a look into your business. And websites with outdated designs that look like they haven’t been touched in 10 years will influence how your business is perceived.
But what makes a website look outdated?
I am going to use this mockup design I created for a fictional business called Joe’s Dentistry.
As you can probably tell, this site design is very outdated. We are going to go through each and every problem associated with the design of this site. But before we get into the specific problems, can you spot all of them on your own?
Problem #1: Keeping all content in a box
The biggest giveaway that your website might be outdated is having all of your content in a box with a generic background behind it.
Below, you’ll see that our dentistry site including our logo, navigation menu, and all of the page content is contained by a box. This used to be the standard of websites due to the limited ways that we were able to style sites. However, this type of design is far past its time.
Modern websites use all of the available screen space to spread out content and show large, eye-catching images.
Problem #2: Using generic fonts
Generic fonts, such as the script font used in our example, make your website seem like a middle school student trying to spice up their school project.
Skip the “fancy” fonts and go for something with a more modern subtle style.
Problem #3: Using undescriptive links instead of buttons
Links are one of the most important parts of your website. They allow visitors to travel throughout your site.
Generic links like the one in our example are anything but attractive.
An ideal link or button will attract your visitors to view other pages.
Problem #4: Including images in your navigation menu
Navigation menus are designed to be simple for users. Adding unnecessary images to them will just clutter a menu. And truthfully, it makes a menu look pretty terrible.
Will getting rid of these four problems really improve the look of your website? You can be the judge of that. Below you will see a revision of our mockup site.
Now, this revised design is far from perfect. But you can see that with just those few simple changes we have drastically improved the look of our site.
Your website needs to reflect the professionalism of your business. If you think your site might be outdated and in need of a redesign, contact a web designer to help you.
2. Lacking organization between pages
Let’s imagine that your website is a nonfiction book about the history of potatoes. Bear with me here, I’m going somewhere with this.
Your book title is, “Through the Ages: A History of Potatoes”. Sounds pretty boring to me but it works in this case.
But then, you go to open the book and start reading when you realize something… There are no chapters. There aren’t even paragraphs! The book skips over an inner title page, copyright information, and table of contents.
Instead, the entire book is one long paragraph with nothing to break up the text except where one page ends and another begins.
If you thought reading a book on potatoes was boring before, how does it sound now? Websites with little to no organization are similar to our potato book.
Your website needs to make sense not only to your visitors but also to search engine bots that analyze your site.
How do you organize a website?
The easiest way to make sure your site is organized is by putting related content into subfolders on your site.
What is a subfolder? A subfolder allows you to group similar pages together by putting them into a folder within your site.
For example, let’s say that your website is www.awesomeclown.com. And you offer two services: clowns for events and clown classes. Because we all know the market for clown classes is booming, right?
An unorganized website would put these pages directly at the root of their site. These two page URLs would look something like this.
These pages may make some sense to us. But what if I want to see all of your services? Where do I go for that? Right now, there isn’t a “parent page” created for that.
Let’s put these into a subfolder called “services”. Calling it services makes sense because these are both services we offer. And anyone wanting to see all of our services could go to the subfolder. The URLs would now look like this.
Now imagine you are the Google bot traversing millions of websites every day. Then you come upon our clown website. Do you think you’d have trouble figuring out how our two pages are related? Probably not anymore as we have made it fairly obvious that “clowns for events” and “clown classes” are services we offer.
But services aren’t the only instance where this is important.
Blog posts should all be in a subfolder titled “blog”.
Products should all be in a subfolder titled “products”. And any specific product categories (such as pants, shirts, shoes, etc.) should be in yet another subfolder. This site URL would look something like www.supercoolstore.com/products/shirts.
Categorizing pages into subfolders will drastically improve the readability of your site and it will help visitors understand how your pages relate to each other.
3. Not being optimized for mobile phones
Did you know that more than 50% of internet traffic in 2020 was from mobile devices?
Optimizing your website for mobile isn’t an option.
You should expect a large percentage of your traffic to be looking at your site from a smartphone or tablet. These visitors are likely to leave before they even get a chance to look into your business if your site isn’t configured for their devices.
Check out this tool directly from Google to determine if your site is equipped to handle mobile users.
But mobile optimization is a general term. And some “optimized” sites are far from being truly optimized. Google does its best to assess your site from a technical perspective. But you need to backup their assessment with real-life tests.
Pick up your smartphone, if you aren’t already on it, and go to your website. Scroll down and see if anything catches your eye as being out of place. Click each button. Open and close the navigation menu. Do anything you can think of to find hidden problems that users may encounter.
Then, once you have checked your site on your phone, send your website link to friends and family. Have them check it on their phones and tablets. What do they have to say?
Being diligent in testing your site across a wide range of devices will ensure that all users have an enjoyable, problem-free experience on your site.
4. Having broken or incorrect links
Links are the bridges between each page of your website. And you should not assume that when someone clicks on a broken link (a link that goes to a nonexistent page) that they’ll try to find another way to their intended page.
Website users are some of the most impatient people in the world. They expect a smooth experience from the time they enter your website until they leave. And even one broken link could mean the end of their time on your site.
Check out Ahrefs Broken Link Checker to see if you have any on your site.
But broken links aren’t your only problem. I’ve been on websites where I click on a link to a service page and I somehow end up on their about page. Again, even something as simple as this can interrupt the smooth experience expected by visitors. Don’t give your visitors any reason to abruptly leave. Check each and every link on your site.
5. Squeezing too much information into one section
The biggest difference between print and digital media is the amount of text you will see on one page.
With print media, we have become comfortable with seeing multiple paragraphs squeezed onto one page such as in a magazine. Advertisers pay for the page, not the amount of text they use. So, they try to squeeze as much information into their paid section as they can.
However, digital media, such as websites, don’t have any sort of restriction on how much space can be taken up. You pay for the website hosting and that gives you free reign to use the site as you’d like.
Website users have become accustom to seeing small chunks of text broken up by images, videos, and animations. Long chunks of text more than a few sentences bring flashbacks of their time in school being forced to write 10-page essays.
One of the easiest ways to break up text and make a page more readable is by adding white space. White space is simply the absence of any content. This will give your website room to breathe.
Take a look at the example below, which side is easier to read?
Be sure to add both whitespace and visual elements such as high-quality pictures and videos to your page. This will make your website easier to read and increase the amount of time visitors spend looking at your content.
You might be turning away potential customers before they even get a chance to contact you if your website is currently making any of the mistakes mentioned above.
Do your business a favor and offer website visitors the best experience possible.
If you are currently in need of a professional web designer, contact us today to get your website to a point where it accurately represents your business.