Unlike the pranks you planned with your friends or the no-bake recipe you tried, but single-handedly failed to execute, you can’t erase the memories of having a poor website design. The effects of your failed attempt at fixing yours or your clients’ website lead to low conversions and sales, few page visits and even lack of trust from your audience. It becomes difficult to establish a connection with consumers and potential customers when you aren’t effective in guiding them towards your goal or vision.
If you don’t want to suffer from the consequences, you should check if the website you’re working on shows the signs of being an epic failure. Though 100% success isn’t always a guarantee in web design and development in the Philippines and other local website development arenas, you should at least aim for an output that meets your or your clients’ requirements. If not, then the site ends up with an F minus — where the lowest of the lows dwells.
If you wish to opt out of the scenario, then here are a few things you should look out for when designing a website. These are the telltale signs that show your site is proof of your failed attempt in web development.
1. No clear indications on what are the products and services of the company
Remember that the website is your online identity. It is also your method of communication to your audiences and customers. If your layout and design don’t point towards an action or the goals you want to accomplish, then you end up confusing the users. You fail to send your message across while ending up scaring users with confusing navigation, loopholes, and other features they probably don’t need and don’t want to see.
Pro Tip: Instead of filling the fold with beautiful photos and links to pages that won’t produce leads, you should lead visitors of your site to what you want them to do. If you offer a product or service, you can feature a CTA button above the fold. You should also make the menu easy to access for desktop websites. If you’re an eCommerce site, you should have a landing page for each product and a dedicated listing page for all the items in your inventory.
2. Lack of responsive web design
Responsive web design makes it possible for users to access your website using different devices. Since devices have different screen sizes, you must ensure your site is fluid and flexible to appear on the device. There must not be oversized or hard-to-read texts, large photo dimensions, and other features that might interfere users from what they intend to do. Most of all, all the features of the site are properly working when users access the page whether on mobile, tablet, and other devices with a browser and Internet connection.
Pro Tip: You should always think about how users access your site. Most mobile users use touchscreen devices. Hence, you should also think about how your users can access the buttons and links on the page. The buttons, sliders, and CTAs must be larger than usual to make them easy to tap and recognize. You must also think of how images come across different screens. You have to decide if you will remove them or feature them in their full size.
3. Slow loading times
Fast loading website makes people happy. As time goes by, people are becoming impatient. If you regularly check the website’s analytics, you’ll discover that most sessions last for only a minute or two. That means you have a short window to impress a visitor. The fastest way to convince them to stay is by showing that your site loads fast. If you can’t ensure that your site is up to speed, then you lose almost half of the market to a competitor whose site loads almost as fast as the blink of an eye.
Pro Tip: Check your current desktop and mobile loading times. If both generate less than stellar performance, then you should read the tips on how to improve site speed.
4. Having links that open a new browser window
If you think that opening a new window prevents users from abandoning your site, you should think again. You’re only throwing people off the loop. Most people want to return to information they were dealing with and to do that, they have to click the ‘Back’ button. When you put a new tab in the picture, you prevent users from returning to what they were doing or previously viewing. Making it difficult to go back to what the previous tab or window can leave users confused or frustrated thereby pushing them to abandon your site altogether.
Pro Tip: Go with the flow. Allow your anchor texts and links on your site to direct your users to the page where they should be. If users wish to view the contents of the link on a different page, they can always right click or hold-tap the link for a long time to prompt the browser options on touchscreen browsers. Also, let your users freely use the ‘Back’ button. They are better off staying on the page and hitting the button than switching to a blank page that hackers can copy and collect your visitor’s login details.
5. Encouraging distractions
The website you create must have one goal — pushing website visitors towards what you want them to do. It doesn’t matter if it’s making a sale, filling out a form, or signing up for the brand’s newsletter. The elements of your site must lead the users towards this action to fulfill it successfully. Having several distractions on the site won’t help you achieve that. A full navigation bar, social media buttons above the fold, multiple font types, high contrast colors, and flashy background design and texture are few of the distractions that prevent users from fulfilling what you want them to do.
Pro Tip: Help users focus on achieving the goal. As much as possible, the site’s landing pages must be clutter-free. The CTA button and form fields must be in a prominent spot on the page. It can be in the left, right or the middle as long as it stays above the fold. The navigation bar must only have the essentials. You can make your navigation lean by paying attention to your IA. Don’t forget to keep users hooked on your page. Don’t introduce any outbound links on the top of the page.
6. Forgetting H1 and H2 headings
Headings are not only essential for informing people what the website contains. It also organizes information, makes it appear neat and valuable for SEO. The Heading 1 or H1 summarizes what you are discussing on the website. The H1 is also the title of t6. Forgetting H1 and H2 headings6. Forgetting H1 and H2 headingshe site which makes it an important element. Most SEOs understands its importance for search engines. Thus, they place often insert their keyword in this heading. Other headings support the information provided by H1 and relays rundown from the text that follows it. You can also add the main keyword and relevant search terms in H2, H3, and so on to help your content or website rank in SERPs.
Pro Tip: Stick to the sequence of the headings to help the content of the pages on your site retains their structure. Under no circumstances should you skip levels. You can use several H1, H2 or H3 on a page but you can’t jump from H1 to H3. You can use the same keyword on the headings several times. However, keep in mind that search engines might penalize you for using the same search terms several times. Instead of keyword stuffing, you should use similar or partial match long-tail keywords, generic terms, and phrases.
7. Neglecting contact information
A lot of websites lose the opportunity of connecting and getting in touch with their clients. Besides the sites’ poor email outreach, they don’t place the companies’ contact details in a prominent spot. Users can’t find the phone number, email address, and store location. There’s no link to the contact form on the navigation. Worse, no dedicated page enables users to leave a message for the company.
Pro Tip: Make it easy for site visitors to initiate contact. Your ‘Contact Us’ page must be seductive enough to encourage people to connect with you. The copy must be appealing and enticing. Whether it’s a voice of a passionate lover or the endearing friend, you must embody these personas when making your copy. You must also think of how to serve people effectively. Ensure them that you value the relationship you build with customers. Of course, you must also be transparent and available. Your contact details must be easy to locate. Most sites display them at the end of their page. Another trick is adding the envelope and phone icons that link to the site’s contact form or a direct call feature.
8. Unsecured website
As a web developer (and if you’re also responsible for SEO), you must know how vital security is for a site. Four years passed since Google announced that security is a ranking signal. Your site must be an HTTPS site by now. If not, then you are placing your users and site ranking at risk. An unsecured site is vulnerable to third-party entities that can tamper with data stored in your website and acquire the information shared by your users. Users are aware of this threat, so they prefer to browse sites with the ‘Secured’ label. The site’s SERP ranking can suffer if the bounce-rates increase once users see the ‘Not secure’ label.
Pro Tip: You should migrate your site from HTTP to HTTPS. The “S” stands for secured, which your site must be by now. Migration can be simple if you know which factors influence the changes you make on the site. You can create an HTTP to HTTPS migration checklist using this guide.
9. Ill-fitting font, text size, and color
The right font combinations and color contrast affect how website audiences digest information on the page. Nobody wants to suffer from a headache by reading paragraphs with small text, illegible typeface, and high contrast words. It can also be challenging to read crowded texts or lines that are in all caps, bold, or italics. Visitors also won’t stick for long if you underline words that aren’t links or use light font colors on a light background and vice versa. Most of the content on the site are words. Thus, you should always think about how you present them to your audience.
Pro tip: Pair dark background with light text and light background with dark text. The design scheme is on the eyes and helps readers go over the words with ease. Don’t be afraid to use white space. Ensure there’s enough between each word. There must also be separation above and below the sentences. When designing for screens, stick to sans-serif fonts. You can use serif fonts for variety, but you should assign them to the body. Limit using italics, bold and underline if they aren’t necessary.
10. Poor navigation
A website’s navigation affects traffic and conversion. When your site design is easy to use, you attract people to use your site to look for information they need. If not, then it only means you’re making things complicated. You don’t specify what visitors can get from being on your site. You don’t explain what the page is about and you don’t lead your users to specific actions. You also bombard them with a lot of options and make it a challenge to search for information. You even forgot to check if all the links work.
Pro Tip: Don’t make your site an endless pit. Endless scrolling might work for image galleries, but it’s not advisable for sites with a lot of text. Visitors will get tired from all the information. Minimize their efforts for searching for an item or feature by having a search bar and an accessible scroll bar. You should also limit navigation bar choices to seven items or less. That way, they won’t suffer from indecision. You must also ensure all links are active and have assigned landing pages. Lastly, be detailed. Don’t use labels like “Products” and “Services.” Be descriptive as possible, so users don’t end up visiting all the pages on the site.
Epic Fails = Effective Solutions
The beautiful thing about failing is that you have the opportunity to correct your mistakes. After knowing that you committed errors that resulted in ‘almost’ no leads, sales, and traffic, you now have the chance to correct your failures. Use your web development experience to come up with practical solutions that would improve the website for the best. Only then can you bury the evidence of the poor decisions you made.