Just about everyone today has a website, from individuals to business owners. However, not everyone knows the unofficial rules to following when building their website. Read on for common mistakes that you should avoid at all costs.
Mistake #1: Opening New Windows
When website creation was still new, the cutting-edge thing to do was have every link open in a new page. Today, having multiple windows open can make a person’s computer run slower. Users who want to open up a window in a new page know how to do so, thanks to tabbed browsing. Everyone else should just be redirected to the link they click on.
Mistake #2: Disabling the Back Button
A long time ago, website builders figured out a way to disable the back button so that visitors would stay on a certain page for longer or be redirected to a new page. The last thing you want to do is annoy your website visitors. Yes, you may keep them where you want them for a few extra seconds, but you’ll also guarantee that they’ll never return to your website again.
Mistake #3: Hiding Contact Information
The number of brick and mortar businesses that neglect to include their address on their website is staggering. How can a business possibly expect to attract customers if nobody knows where to find them? Even if you have a 100% online business, you need to include some contact information, like a phone number and e-mail address. Also important is the placement of this information. It should be easy to find and obvious, like in the footer of each page as well as on the “Contact” page. Don’t make it hard for website visitors to become customers.
Additionally, you should also make sure that your social media links are displayed on the homepage. People who like your brand will want to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms. It’s easier to click a direct link on your website than it is to search for you on the platform itself. If you neglect to include social media links to your website, you’re missing out on connecting with a lot of people on social media.
Mistake #4: Not Worrying About Your Server Time
Professional websites have no excuse for having a slow load time. Even a four second delay can cause a user to search for another website to find what they’re looking for. If your website is taking too long to load, get rid of some of the images, videos or other add-ons.
Mistake #5: Broken Links
It’s hard enough to encourage a website visitor to click on a link, but it’s even worse if they click that link and find that it’s broken. Bad links will either do nothing when clicked or they’ll redirect to an error page. Either way, you’ve missed the opportunity to send the customer where you want them to go and you’ve annoyed them in the process. Every week, you should test your website to make sure that the links are still working. You should also have a way for visitors to contact you in case they find that a link is broken. When you’re alerted to an error, make fixing it a priority.
Mistake #6: Never Updating Information
What good is website creation if you’re going to let an outdated website sit there for months? Update your website on a regular basis to make sure it has current information, including the correct prices and hours of operation. If you have a blog, it’s even more important to keep it well-maintained. Commit to posting at least one blog post a week. If a visitor sees that you haven’t posted in several weeks or months, it’ll look your business isn’t doing well.
Mistake #7: Poorly Written Information
If you’re not a writer yourself, you should absolutely hire a writer to handle your website copy. A misplaced comma, misspelled word or poor grammar can have a seriously negative affect on your business. Professional companies should have 100% perfect copy. If you think you can write it yourself, it’s still a good idea to have someone else look it over.
Mistake #8: Bad Navigation
The main draw of the Internet is speed and if your website can’t get people where they want to go quickly, they’ll be disappointed. Your visitors need to figure out how to get around your website and find the things they’re looking for. People shouldn’t have to go back a few pages just to find what they’re looking for. Have a navigation bar on every page of the site, a footer with a site map, and a search bar.
Mistake #9: Various Fonts and Colors
Nothing says amateur like having a website with multiple fonts and colors. Each page should look professional and unified, whether you run a straight-laced company or you have an edgy brand. You should never have more than three fonts or colors on your website, and even that many can sometimes look unprofessional and low quality. It may seem like fun to pick out cute fonts for your website, but they can be difficult to read, especially on mobile devices. Stick to traditional fonts and save your more creative ideas for your graphics.
Mistake #10: Orphan Pages
An orphan page is a page that doesn’t have a link that directs back to the home page. This can happen if you have certain pages that don’t show up in the website navigation. It’s fine to have certain landing pages that you only send select people to, but they should still always connect back to the main home page.
Want to stand out from the competition? Avoid these problematic design mistakes. Even if you notice that practically every other website opens additional windows or mixes a lot of bright colors, know that they’re making a mistake without even realizing it.