In an era in which everyone heads to Google before making any decision, your website is absolutely critical to the success of your business. Your website is often the first touchpoint for a potential customer and those first few seconds they spend on your website will dictate whether they stick around or hit the back button and move on.
In other words, having a well-designed and well-maintained website is not just something that’s good to have, it’s something you need. A website serves to establish your unique selling point, your brand voice, and the value you have to offer your customer, regardless of the type of work you do.
If you’re wondering if your website is doing everything it should be, you’re in the right place. Read on as we look at five avoidable mistakes you might be making.
5 Common (Yet Preventable!) Web Design Errors
- Not conveying your value above the fold: The first sight a visitor sees when they load up your website is incredibly important, and it’s your first opportunity to tell them that they’re exactly where they need to be. Your website should tell them exactly what they can expect from you the moment it loads, they shouldn’t have to scroll down or click through to another page. Give them a short, snappy statement about what you can do for them with attractive, on-brand graphics.
- Not having a clear CTA: Do visitors know what action you want them to take when they land on your site? You should make it extremely easy for visitors to get in touch, and have one clear action you want them to take. Do you want them to buy, schedule a call, or sign up? Make it clear and put a button in your header so they can do it as soon as they decide they’re ready to contact or buy from you.
- Not branding fonts: As a business owner, you have a lot on your mind, and typeface might not seem like it should be at the top of your list. But lots of different fonts will make you look unorganized and undecided, and visitors are far less likely to stick around if your site features too much information crammed into one page because they need information that’s easy to scan. Make sure all text is legible (not too small!) and stick to a maximum of three fonts.
- Too many popups (especially too early): When it comes to website browsing, very few things are as irritating as being bombarded with invitations to join a mailing list, accept cookies, receive a discount on your first order, and answer a few marketing questions. One pop-up is enough when someone loads onto your site – ideally, you should have a delay on any popups so they only show up after a visitor has shown interest in your site, such as being there for 10 seconds or more.
- Not making your website mobile-friendly: With more people using their phones as their primary devices than ever before, your site must be accessible on mobile. Google favors businesses with mobile-friendly websites on search engine results pages which ranks them better than websites that aren’t mobile-responsive. In other words, a mobile-friendly website will provide visitors with a better experience and help you show up higher in the search results!
Of course, there are plenty of other mistakes people make in terms of web design, and if you’re still unsure how to manage your company’s website, we’re here to help. We can help you with your branding (yes, you need it! Find out why here), website design, copywriting, and everything else that goes into making your online presence one that attracts your ideal customer. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation with our talented design team, click here.
Before you continue, please know that what you read below is just a humorous guide to talking with your designer; or rather, how NOT to talk with your designer. As a designer for many years, trust me, I have heard all of these things from good, kind hearted clients. We know, it can be hard to communicate your needs to a designer. Plus, we complicate things with our special jargon and computer programs you have never heard of. Here are just a few things that will help your designer out on your next project.
#1: Don’t ever say “Ill know what I want when I see it”
Could you possibly give me any less information? As a designer, I have been working on my mind reading skills. BUT, that doesn’t always result in my best work. Instead of being vague, try giving the designer an example of something you like, OR write out your goals for the finished product. This will help your design know what you are looking for.
#2: Don’t say: “We haven’t finished writing the text yet, but we need a proof now!”
Text, or “copy” as us designers would say, is EVERYTHING! A design should be built around the most important content. In-other words, it’s hard to design around nothing. This also tells the designer that you aren’t organized yet… Not a good sign. Next time, get the copy as close to perfect as possible before calling in the designer. Every designer expects changes and edits, but having a close-to-final-draft of the copy will help them get a solid design started.
#3: Don’t say: “Can you put that into Word so I can edit it?”
There is a reason designers don’t use Word. Designers use special computer programs that allow us to have more control over the design elements and create printer friendly files. If you want a DIY option there are many free design programs that will give you more control, Just don’t expect a designer to be able to fix your files once you are finished.
#4: NEVER EVER, EVER say: “Can you use this image I found online?”
Why can’t we use web images? There are a few reasons that this won’t work. 1. For images to be found in a google search they must be owned by someone. without the proper permission to use those images you are essentially stealing from the original owner. 2. Web images are low quality (for faster loading online) and will not print well in your final design. 3. It’s so easy to have quality images! At Pixel Parfait all stock images are included in your design fee. We will even let you browse through our stock image library if you wish. You can also get great stock images from any of these sites….visit https://designschool.canva.com/blog/free-stock-photos/
#5: Don’t be vague and say: “Can you make it POP?”
Again, see #1. Statements like this are so vague and unfortunately most designer haven’t mastered mind reading yet. Other descriptions like, “edgy”, “modern”, “pretty”, or “fancy” are equally as hard to understand what you are looking for. Instead, find examples of designs that you like and show your designer examples of what you are looking for.
#6: Avoid saying: ”Can you just use our logo and photos from our website?”
#7: If you want your designer to remain sane, don’t say: “ Can we go back to your original design (17 proofs ago)?”
After you explain what you need, let your design do their thing! This is what we are good at! Asking for 20 proof options, or changing your mind half way through only adds time (read: MONEY) to your project, and limits the designer’s creative abilities. Don’t waste your designer’s time with countless experiments when the original design is what you were looking for. JUST DON’T DO IT!
#8: Seriously, don’t ever say: “I started this in Paint, can you finish it for me?”
Paint, text editor, and other programs that come on your standard PC or MAC can be great for some things. Graphic design is not one of those things. We have expensive programs for a reason! Its best to let your designer use their professional tools from the beginning – I promise you will be much happier with the final product.
#9: Just don’t do it! Never say: “ I can’t pay for your work, but you will get TONS on exposure!”
Imagine this: You are a home builder. A potential client comes to your office and asks you to build a beautiful new home for him. After you talk about the details and come up with the initial plans, the client turns to you and says “I can’t pay you, but I’ll tell everyone that YOU build my house”. What do you do? If you are thinking, “I would punch the guy in the face”, I would understand. Asking for free work is insulting to any professional. We have pride in our work and value our time. Now, there may be an exception to this rule for Non-Profits and Charity Events…. But don’t assume that a design will work for free. Exposure doesn’t put food on the table….and most designers like to eat.
#10: And finally, avoid saying: “ Just make it beautiful!”
Well DUH! BE SPECIFIC PEOPLE!!!!
Well there you have it! The Moral of the story is: Be specific, value your designer and their work, and don’t expect us to read your mind! As a designer I know that most people have said at least one of these things to a designer, and its OK, we’re used to it! =D