Have you ever wondered, what is so great about searching on Google that the company name has now become the verb equivalent for searching on the web? Well, I can tell you one thing for sure about it, that it gives me exactly what I want without wasting my time.
It is not a new experience when I land up on a website and can hardly find the information that I am looking for. Again, there are some other websites which have annoying graphics and background sounds that are so infuriating that my first reaction is to close the website. You perhaps may be echoing with these experiences which are just some examples of what are known as poorly designed websites and unfortunately, with the rapid growth of the internet, there is no dearth of these.
A well-designed website not only makes your company look professional and trustworthy, but it also plays a major role in bringing business. No matter how good you are at the business or how professional your company is, if you have a website with a bad design or a website which is not maintained well, then it could cost you more than you can think.
Your website is the first thing that any customer checks and is responsible for forming their first impressions about your company. Studies have shown that a website visitor can form an opinion about your company within 50 milliseconds, solely based on the website design. While the visitor is on your website, if during this period he does not get the information that he is looking for, or if the design of your website is so bad that he is driven away from it, then it would not only cost you your customers but it could also hurt your company brand. While large organizations understand the importance of a well-designed website, small or medium sized businesses more often tend to neglect this significance.
The website is a vital instrument for marketing and branding efforts of any business, and it is precisely the reason why it is so important when it comes to the company’s image on the web. Since no organization would want to lose out on the business just because of a bad website design, let us take a look at common mistakes that must be avoided when you are setting up your company website.
#1. Color, Contrast, and Font
Unfortunately, color and contrast are hardly ever on the priority list when creating a website, especially for small businessmen. When the color and contrast do not complement, it can create problems for people to read the content, particularly people with poor vision. If that gets combined with an illegible font, then it can be a nightmare for the reader. Apart from readability, colors are known to have influences over our visual experiences. There have been many types of research showing that people make subconscious judgments about almost everything depending on its color. So a logical step for any business would be to chose colors that can integrate well with the company’s brand. Take some time to research websites which use color and contrast to their advantage and accordingly experiment with the colors. Use a font that is easy to read with a consistent size, so that reading does not become a painful activity.
#2. Bad Navigation
If you don’t want any potential visitor to have a frustrating experience on your website, then it is important to make sure that the navigation within your website is seamless. There is no standard for navigation, but it is necessary to make sure that users can find their way easily around the website. Anyone visiting your website must be able to find the content that they are looking for without several clicks, because if they don’t then they are likely to go elsewhere. Navigation should not be like a puzzle where the visitor must figure out where the hyperlinks are, but it should be easy and natural.
While you look after the navigation part, it is also important to have the right kind of layout. You wouldn’t want the visitor to press the back button just because the content on your website was overwhelming. Don’t cram up all your content together, and make sure there is enough white space thus, making it easy for the user to read and comprehend. The more inessential items are on a web page, the more it is confusing and distracting to the visitors. The website loses its professional look if the users are not able to read through the information.
If there is a lot of text that you must put on your website, then add hyperlinks to it rather than stuffing everything on a single page. Also, make sure that every block of text has proper headings, sub-headings, bullets, paragraphs, etc. so that the content on your page makes sense altogether.
Since there are different kinds of browsers, platforms, and devices from which websites can be accessed, it is important that your website is well responsive when it is being viewed on mobile phones, tablets or any other wireless device. If your website does not resize automatically to work on all kinds of devices, browsers, and platforms, you may probably lose out a significant number of customers. An easy way to do this is, ensuring your website is validated. World Wide Web Consortium or W3C has set international standards that ensure a website is cross-browser compatible and accessible for all, including those with disabilities. If your website is compliant, then it will aid in proper rendering across devices and browsers.
#5. Sub-par Functionality
It can be a huge disappointment for users arriving on a web page, where the hyperlinks don’t work, graphics don’t display or videos won’t play. Also, if a user experiences frequent errors on the website, then it would reflect badly on your company’s professionalism. It is necessary to have all the links, videos, and graphics up and running smoothly all the time. There can be stretches when there are technical issues, but if you can provide appropriate information to the user as to why something is not working, and also resolve the problem proactively, then that would surely play in your favor.
#6. No clear call to action
Now that the user has found your website, what do you want them to do next? Should they be buying your products, or do you want them to subscribe to your services, or simply contact you? It is necessary to tell your visitors what they must do once they are on your website, and the answer should be within the content of your website. When you visit amazon you know you are there to buy something or when you are visiting IMDb you know you can look up for details of movies and tv shows. While you may be efficient in driving traffic to your website, but if the user has to spend time thinking about his next action, then he will surely leave your website.
#7. Search Box
If your website is like an archive of information, then it is going to need a search box. Every website needs a search box, whether it is a corporate one or simply your blog. When the user needs to find something particular, it is the search box that will come to the rescue.
One of the simplest and easiest ways to do this is by embedding Google Custom Search in your website. You need to copy the HTML code onto your website, and just like that, you have a search function for your website.
#8. Unscrupulous use of Images, Animations, and Sound
A website with too many images, combined with unwanted animations, and disturbing background music is a perfect example of a bad website.
Images must be used to grab the user’s attention and provide illustrations to guide the user better. But when images are used generously over the page, it can result in unnecessary distraction as well as frustration. Same goes for animation, which is a powerful medium to convey information only when used appropriately. You don’t want to test the user’s patience, nor waste any time or resources by adding unneeded animation. Also, if you wouldn’t want your website to have an annoying aspect, then get rid of that background music. Most users don’t care about the music that plays on the websites and if there is no way to turn it off, then it is the biggest turn off for the users.
#9. Web Hosting
Reliable web hosting is an important part of building a website. A web hosting company is the major step in how your website is delivered to customer. Your customers want the ability to access every aspect of your website any time of the day or night. Consider why web hosting is one of the most imperative website decisions you will make. I recommend Media Temple.
So, while the website is often the first experience for your customers with your brand, follow the KISS principle of Keep It Simple, Stupid. As you do your research, you will realize that all great websites keep their content and website simple and clean, so that user can work around it with ease and thus getting a satisfying user experience.
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