10 mistakes that can negatively influence a website

20 Jan, 2016

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It doesn’t matter if you want to start a new project or work on an existing website, we would like to let you know about some aspects you should keep in mind so that you don’t end up hurting your website in the end.

Missing concept or no clear goal

One of the biggest mistakes that is made at the beginning of a project is a failure to clearly state your goals or concept. If you are starting a website, it would be best to pay attention to the following points when making the goal of your website:

-       Why do you want to make this website?

-       What purpose do you want your website to offer?

-       What is the theme?

-       Who is your target group?

-       What type of website will it be (Online shop, Informational website, business website, portfolio,                etc.)?

Have you developed a fairly good concept for your website? Then try taking a pencil and try drawing the design of your website on a piece of paper. Try to keep the most important theme(s) in mind when doing so, and how those themes work together, or how they don’t. Pay attention to how your theme works with your website in a way that makes a logical structure for visitors.

If you have an online shop, you should pay attention to the resources that you can offer to your visitors, such as interesting descriptions and pictures, so that they successfully purchase something.

If you have an informational website with a specific theme, your goal should still be to structure the information in a way so that visitors can quickly and easily find the information they are looking for.

If you’re a smaller, local business, and you want new customers or to better inform current customers, you need to consider what information about your products is interesting for your customers. Think about showing contact information so that they can easily inquire and/or come straight to your store. 

Too “exclusive” of a design

After you have decided what exactly you plan to offer to your visitors, you need to find or create a fitting design to go along with it. The design should go along with your concept, and it should aid your visitors in navigating your website. If you’re a local business, then your visitors would likely be interested in how to get to your business, and complex 3D pictures wouldn’t help them that much. On the other hand, pictures play a much more important role on online shops and portfolio websites.

Designing a website that is too “cutting-edge” can confuse the visitor, and could possibly not be friendly for search engines as well. Your design should speak to your visitors, and it should be as simple as possible, but also contain as much as necessary.

Confusing structure and bad navigation

You should pay attention to both of these points from the beginning. Don’t make your website too complicated for your visitors so that they don’t get lost on your page and then leave.

Poor navigation is usually due to not adhering to typical design elements that visitors have gotten used to over time, such as licking on the logo in the tel-left in order to go back to the homepage or finding the shipping basket in the top-right corner.

It is also important to make sure that your menu navigation is logical, and that all of the main pages one would typically need to find can be easily found in the main navigation.

Confusing font, backgrounds, or unnecessary sound effects

This goes hand-in-hand with the design of a website. Text that is hard to read due to the font or color in combination with the background can push visitors away. It is important to also have text that is big enough to read, doubly so if you plan to have people with poor eyesight visiting your website. 

Annoying sound effects or music, especially if they default to being on and/or can’t be turned off, can really annoy a lot of people and they might leave your site on that count alone.

Lots of pictures and no text

Try to avoid using animated graphics or too many pictures, unless your focus for your website is on pictures. 

A lot of websites for small businesses focus on putting up pictures, but they don’t include any text explaining the pictures. The content and usability of the website play a central role and having a pretty, but useless site won’t help your visitors. It is important to keep in mind that most visitors won’t know what each picture means. It is additionally important to remember that search engines are still “picture blind”, and they can’t “read” the content of pictures, and search engines like google require text for it to evaluate your website.

Visitors and search engines like Google require text in order to get more information about your services or product.

Lots of text and no pictures

The other extreme is one that will push visitors away from your site. Think about your theme and your target group. Pictures play an important role, even websites like Wikipedia, other information blogs, news portals, tutorials, and a myriad of other websites. The pictures break up the text and give more context for the reader. Try to avoid senseless and unnecessary pictures that don’t help them, but still provide enough for them to be aided in understanding the message you want to get across. It is doubly important to not overload your website with text. By creating a "wall of text" you dissuade impatient readers from going through it and finding the important information that they are looking for.

Meaningless text

It doesn’t matter what sort of website you have, you should always have the most informative text on your website as possible. Avoid including phrases and words just because you think that search engines “need that text”. Both search engines and visitors to your website don’t need that there.

Search engines have developed enough to the point that the simple frequency of keywords no longer is the deciding factor with how you rank for said keyword.

It is even more important to have informative text on your website in order to influence your visitor’s decisions. Saying things like “Welcome to our website” being no value to search engines or the visitor.

No direct contact or invitation to action

-Contact information (e.g. a phone number) as a picture and not ac actual text (this is especially important for mobile users because if you list your phone number as a picture, then they need to write the phone number down elsewhere before they can type into their phone because it’s another hindrance to them calling you.)

These 2 points are more important for local businesses or owners of online shops.

It isn’t too rare to see a website that offers products or services and therefore has some form of a shopping basket but no way to easily lead them to their destination, such as the purchase of said goods. What is the point in listing your products if there’s no simple way for people to actually purchase them?

Similarly, local businesses can have the same issue if they wish to have direct contact with their customers, but then don’t offer a simple way to get in contact. 

It can also be a hindrance if you have buried your contact information in a very deep and illogical place on your website. This is particularly bad for mobile users who won’t want to spend the time on their tiny screens looking for your contact information.

Contact possibilities that disappear in a black hole

A common mistake among many small business websites is offering contact mediums that are never used, such as an Email address where nobody checks the inbox.

If you have a local business, it can be assumed that people will go to your website. If you offer an Email address but never check it, it doesn’t help you or your visitors. Unanswered emails could possibly cause people to never go to your website again, and possibly your business. the same can be said about social media, and unanswered inquiries on Facebook or Twitter can lead people to dismiss your business.

Technical issues that negatively influence the customer

Technical issues are not any less critical than the previously mentioned mistakes. It is even more important to make sure that your website is error-free in the event of people buying products or being encouraged to contact you.

Technical issues with a contact form can make your website look amateurish and prevent feedback or questions. Online shops need to be sure to not contain any errors, especially during the purchasing process, otherwise, you could lose the sale out of lack of trust.

Those were some of the more important things that you should pay attention to when creating or working on your website. Try not to overload with information or pictures, but also don’t put too little! Look for that happy compromise.

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