Designing a website can be intimidating, but it doesn't have to be. There are lots of challenges you will face when designing your site that you may not even know about! If you want to improve the design of your site and avoid some common mistakes, then this blog post is for you. We'll go over 8 mistakes that many people make when they're designing websites, and give some tips on how to avoid them in the future.
#1 Not optimizing your site's speed for mobile devices
If the mobile revolution has achieved anything then it's the use of smartphones as computers. According to recent statistics, approximately half of the web traffic worldwide is through mobile devices. Do the math. If your website is not optimized for smart phones in terms of speed, and display, you are already losing 50% of site visitors.
A common mistake that many web designers make in this respect is to optimize for speed after the website has been completely designed. This is a wrong approach because speed optimization is not a band-aid solution, it should be considered at the time when the website design is conceptualized.
#2 Using too many fonts
Fonts can be a lot of fun and really add to the design but at the same time, too many fonts can really take away from the main purpose of the website. Yep, that means fonts can become nothing more than a distraction.
You want to find that balance between having the right number of fonts and using them in an appropriate manner for your website's design. Having one main font and one supporting fonts for smaller headers and other areas can be a good balance.
Not sure which fonts go together? Here are some good resources to help you:
#3 Not spending an equal amount of time on copy
Design and copy work hand-in-hand. Yet a website's copy is what does the selling so if you're designing websites without considering copy, the website just isn't going to be as effective as it could be.
If copywriting isn't your skill, you don't want to study copy or hire an expensive copywriter, you can use an AI powered copywriting tool like Conversion.ai to write copy that sells for you.
#4 Not using enough whitespace on webpages
Websites need whitespace (also called negative space) around text, images and call-to-actions in order to be effective. White space makes your design feel modern, spacious and inviting. Whitespace, gives a website the much needed minimalistic clean look. It gives a calming effect and makes the content more appealing to the users. Remember, if the user experience is pleasing, they're going to visit again. So use the whitespace element diligently while designing websites.
#5 No clear call to action for your visitors
Attracting visitors on your website is just one part of the story, if you do not motivate them to engage with your website, then you're losing out on leads, traffic and revenue. So it is very important that every webpage should have a clear purpose that guides website visitors to the next action step the business wants them to take. It's how you would convert a visitor into a lead and possibly a paying customer.
Make sure to design compelling CTAs on your webpage and place them strategically for your website visitors to take action.
#6 Over-designing giving users too much info / too many things to do
Every webpage should have a clear purpose that guides website visitors to the next action step the business wants them to take. A simple principle to remember in UX is that, less is more. Presenting too much information can leave the users confused and a confused lead is not going to convert. You want your message to be simple, visible and to the point.
#7 No Backups
Most people think that not having a backup is the number one mistake you can make for your website. In reality, it's just as bad if not worse than forgetting to pay hosting bill or servers crashing because without backups, worst case scenarios like rebuilding entire sites from scratch are inevitable and time consuming.
Not only should backups be taken on a regular basis depending on how often the website is updated, backups should also always be taken before running updates on a site.
#8 Not using a child theme
You have to be careful when you update a website's parent theme because the updates can overwrite any custom code that was added. With this in mind, it is important for designers and developers of websites with specific design requirements to use child themes instead so they are not pushing their changes into oblivion every time an update happens.
You can update your website's theme without worrying about losing any custom code by using a child theme. Whenever the parent themes needs an upgrade, you'll be able to do so with no worries that anything will get overwritten or lost since all of your changes are within this one particular type of template instead.
#9 Using 'admin' as username
The unfortunate reality of today's world is that bots are committing the majority of WordPress hacks. The default username "admin" has been commonly used by web owners, but it inadvertently leaves an opening for hackers to gain access and wreak havoc on a site with brute-force hacking as they try passwords at random until one works. It may seem like a small detail in many cases, but this could result in major data breaches or malware infections if not taken care of sooner rather than later.
Recently, WordFence has blocked over 8 billion attacks in the last 30 days. These bots are unable to find your login page for brute force attack because of a change you can make to WP-admin's path. Changing this will provide an extra layer of protection and security against everything from spam comments, email requests with malicious attachments or links, broken plugins that need updating - even man-in-the middle cyberattacks on WordPress sites!
#10 Overdepenence/user of plugins
The WP community offers an incredible amount of plugin options which allow each individual experience on the website be customized--but these customizations come at a cost: thousands of theme/plugin combos exist simultaneously, leading many unique performance problems not experienced otherwise.
It's very easy to become overly dependent on using plugins, however, these can lead to slow loading time, a poor user experience and development problems when plugins don't play nicely together.
#11 Not paying attention to website performance
Performance is more important than ever, and it's not just about loading pages quickly. Google has updated their search engine algorithm to take into account the performance of your website in regards to Core Web Vitals such as load time and mobile speed.
There are many elements that contribute towards a fast-loading site, from:
- optimization techniques for images on all devices
- CSS stylesheets compressed
- and even leveraging browser caching
Performance audits are a great way to really get into the nitty gritty of your website, and find out what is slowing you down. You can take actionable steps by using Google's PageSpeed Insights or GTMetrix as they provide detailed reports that will not only show red flags but also rank them in order of importance so you know where to start first!
#12 Not testing for accessibility on your website
Designing a site that is accessible to all visitors ensures you are following best practices in web design. You can learn more about how to make websites accessible at WebAIM (webaim.org).
As you can see, there are many ways to design a website that will leave users frustrated. We’ve outlined the most common mistakes below so you know what to look out for and how to avoid them on your own site. What other mistakes have people made when designing their websites? Let us know in the comments!