You’ve spent months perfecting your business plan, sourcing suppliers, hiring staff, and promoting your brand. Your website is a crucial part of your success, so you want it to make a great first impression. Unfortunately, too many businesses fall flat due to bad website design.
Your website serves as the face of your enterprise. It’s not just a virtual storefront; it’s a representation of your brand, values, and professionalism.
Imagine this scenario: a potential customer lands on your website, eager to explore your products or services. But within seconds, they’re frustrated, confused, and clicking away.
What went wrong?
The culprit is likely bad website design—a pitfall that even the most well-intentioned business owners can stumble into.
If you’re a business owner, this article is tailor-made for you. In today’s fast-paced digital world, where attention spans are fleeting and user experience is paramount, steering clear of common website design blunders is essential.
Why does this matter, you might ask?
Well, your website is your 24/7 sales representative, catering to potential customers even when your physical office is closed. A well-designed website can captivate visitors, encourage them to explore, and ultimately convert them into loyal patrons.
On the flip side, a poorly designed website can drive them away, straight into the arms of your competitors.
In this article, we’ll dissect the prevalent mistakes businesses make in website design. We’ll shed light on issues like cluttered layouts, confusing navigation, slow loading times, lack of mobile responsiveness, uninspiring content, poor color choices, and neglecting security. By understanding these pitfalls and learning how to avoid them, you can transform your website into a magnet for visitors, keeping them engaged, satisfied, and eager to do business with you.
So, whether you’re launching a new website or giving your existing one a makeover, join us as we unravel the intricacies of effective web design. Let’s ensure that in the next year, your online presence not only meets but exceeds the expectations of your valuable customers. Get ready to revolutionize your digital storefront and leave a lasting, positive impression on every visitor who graces your site.
So with 2024 just around the corner, you need to make sure you avoid these eight bad website design mistakes:
Outdated Design and Layout
If your website looks like it’s stuck in the early 2000s, it’s time for an upgrade. Outdated designs and layouts turn visitors away and hurt your credibility.
Cluttered and disorganized
A cluttered site with no visual hierarchy is frustrating to navigate. Prioritize content, use white space, and group related elements. A clean, minimal design helps people find what they need.
Tiny text and generic fonts
Tiny text requires extra effort to read and generic fonts are boring. Choose easy-to-read fonts in sizes from 16 to 22 pixels. For headers, use sizes 28 pixels and up. Fonts like Helvetica, Arial, or Verdana are clean and readable.
Skip the flashy introductions and auto-play media. They’re distracting and annoying. Get to the point and highlight your key message upfront.
Too many colors and images
Don’t go overboard with colors and images. Stick to a simple color palette and only include high-quality images that are relevant to your content. Too many colors and random images make a site look unprofessional.
If your site isn’t optimized for mobile, you’re missing out on a huge portion of web traffic. A responsive design flexibly adjusts to any screen size, providing a seamless user experience on all devices. Make sure content is easy to read and navigate, with large tap targets for touchscreens. More information about this will be discussed deeper.
Clear navigation is key. Use simple and consistent menus that make sense for your site structure. Repeat the primary navigation on each page so visitors can easily jump between sections.
Security is non-negotiable. Use SSL encryption and an HTTPS URL to protect visitors’ information. An insecure site will turn people away and hurt your search ranking.
With some updates to design, content, and functionality, you can transform an outdated website into a modern, user-friendly experience. Focus on clean layouts, strong visuals, simplified navigation, and mobile-first responsive design. Your visitors and search engines will appreciate it.
A poorly designed navigation system is frustrating for visitors and bad for business. If people can’t find what they’re looking for on your site, they won’t stick around long.
Lack of Navigation Menu
Not having a menu at all is a big no-no. Visitors rely on menus to explore your site and find important pages like ‘About Us’ or ‘Contact’. Without navigation, people will quickly leave your site in confusion.
Too Many Options
While you want to give visitors options, too many links in your main menu can be overwhelming. Keep your top-level menu concise by grouping less important pages into drop-down submenus. Focus on primary categories and your most popular content.
Choose a navigation style and stick with it. Don’t switch between vertical menus, horizontal menus, and breadcrumbs. Pick a format that suits your site and brand, and use it consistently on every page. Changing styles confuses visitors and makes your site feel disorganized.
Buried Important Links
Make sure your most important links like ‘Contact’ are prominently featured in your main navigation menu. Don’t bury essential pages in submenus where visitors might miss them.
Poor Link Labels
Use clear, concise link labels that match what visitors are looking for. ‘Click Here’ and ‘More’ are not helpful. Labels should be specific while using common terms visitors understand.
By avoiding these bad website design mistakes, you’ll give visitors a smooth experience and keep them engaged with your site. Simple, consistent navigation with well-organized content is the foundation of good web design and a key to online success.
Slow Load Times
Slow website load times are one of the biggest mistakes you can make today. In 2024, visitors will have even less patience for sites that take forever to load.
Speed it up!
A few seconds delay in page load time can cause a major drop in traffic and sales. According to research, 40% of people will abandon a site that takes more than 3 seconds to load. For e-commerce sites, every additional second of load time can cost you 7% of your conversions.
Here are some tips for improving your website’s speed:
- Optimize images. Compress images and make sure they’re properly sized. Giant images are one of the biggest culprits of slow load times.
- Minimize redirects. Too many redirects, like sending visitors from HTTP to HTTPS, slow things down.
- Reduce server response time. Make sure you have a fast, reliable web host and server. Outdated equipment and overloaded servers lead to lag.
- Minimize plugins and widgets. While they add functionality, too many plugins and widgets can bog down your site. Only use what you absolutely need.
- Enable caching. Caching stores a cached version of your website so it can load faster on return visits. It’s one of the most effective ways to speed up your site.
- Compress and minimize CSS and JS. Compacting CSS and JS files removes unnecessary spaces and characters, allowing the files to load faster.
Optimizing your website for speed may require technical skills, so don’t hesitate to hire an expert web developer or designer to help. Fast load times should be a top priority for any website, especially as visitors become increasingly impatient. Make sure your site runs as efficiently as possible so visitors stay engaged and convert into customers.
Lack of Mobile Optimization
Without a mobile-friendly website, you’re losing out on a vast pool of potential customers. According to recent surveys, over 50% of all web traffic now comes from mobile phones and tablets. People expect to be able to access information quickly and easily on the go. If your site is clunky or hard to navigate on a small screen, visitors won’t stick around.
To avoid this bad website design mistake in 2024, make mobile optimization a priority. Some key things you should do:
- Implement responsive design to ensure your website automatically adapts to any screen size. Content should resize and rearrange itself to be easy to read and navigate on both mobile and desktop. Responsive design is a must.
- Big buttons, minimal scrolling, and a simple menu are essential for mobile. Drop-down menus don’t work well on small touchscreens. Keep your site navigation clean and clutter-free.
Fast load times
- Optimize your images and videos to load quickly on mobile data and Wi-Fi. No one will wait around for your content to load. Compress files and choose web-friendly formats.
- Make forms, contact pages, and checkout simple to complete on mobile. Use large input fields, minimize typing, and avoid complicated multi-page forms when possible.
Valuable, scannable content
- Write content that provides value quickly and is easy to scan on a small screen. Use an inviting and readable font, short paragraphs, numbered or bulleted lists, and bold subheadings. Get to the point fast.
Mobile payment options
- If you have an e-commerce site, offer popular mobile payment gateways like Apple Pay and Google Pay in addition to traditional payment methods. Make the checkout experience seamless across devices.
Following these best practices for mobile optimization will ensure your website is ready to meet the demands of users in 2024 and beyond. A stellar mobile experience is the key to success in today’s digital world. Don’t get left behind!
A weak call-to-action (CTA) is one of the biggest mistakes you can make with your website design in 2024. As a business owner, your website is one of your most powerful marketing tools, so you need to guide visitors to take action. The CTA is what prompts your readers to do something after engaging with your content, like signing up for your newsletter, booking a consultation, or making a purchase.
To avoid a weak CTA, you need to:
Make it obvious.
Place your CTA prominently on the page, like at the top right, so visitors see it as soon as they land. Use an eye-catching button or link that stands out from the rest of the text. The CTA should be one of the most visually compelling parts of the page.
Clearly communicate the benefits of clicking on your call to action. Rather than a generic “Click Here” or “Learn More”, use a specific phrase like “Sign Up Now for 10% Off” or “Book Your Free Consultation”. This helps establish a clear next step in their mind.
Keep it above the fold.
Position your CTA high on the page so visitors see it right away without having to scroll. The area above the fold gets the most attention, so you want your key messages and calls to action to be immediately visible.
Make it actionable.
Use an imperative verb that elicits action, such as “sign up”, “book now”, “get started”, or “shop now”. These kinds of verbs inspire people to do something rather than just think about it.
Match your page goal.
The CTA should directly match what you want visitors to do on that specific page. For example, on a product page the CTA may be “Buy Now”, while on a service page, it may be “Book a Consultation”. Make sure your CTA actually achieves your conversion goal.
Weak CTAs do little to inspire or motivate your visitors to take action. By following these tips, you can transform a weak CTA into a powerful one that drives more conversions and gets people engaging with your business. Strong calls to action, along with a well-optimized user experience, are essential for good website design in 2024 and beyond.
Poor Content Quality
Content is king when it comes to your website. If your content is poor quality, it will reflect poorly on your business and damage your credibility. Here are some mistakes to avoid in 2024 regarding your website’s content:
Repurposing Outdated Content
Don’t reuse old content from years past without updating it. Information goes stale quickly on the web, and reusing outdated content will make your site seem irrelevant. Review and refresh any content over 6-12 months old.
Thin or Fluffy Content
Make sure you have enough depth and substance to your content. Aim for at least 300-500 words for most pages. Fluffy, thin content lacks value for readers and search engines—flesh out topics with examples, stories, statistics, facts, and more.
While optimizing for search is important, please don’t overdo it. Natural language and readability should come before keyword density. Only use keywords and related terms in a natural, conversational way. Forced, unnatural use of keywords will turn off readers and get you penalized by search engines.
Never copy content from other sources. Always write 100% original content or properly cite and reference other work. Plagiarism will damage your reputation, get you banned from search, and could even result in legal trouble.
Lack of Visuals
Use visuals like photos, graphics, charts, illustrations, and video to enhance your content. Visuals enhance the engagement of content and aid in the digestion of dense text. They also tend to get more shares on social media.
Poor Grammar and Spelling
Careless grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors make a bad impression and damage your credibility. Proofread and edit your content carefully before publishing, or consider hiring an editor to review it.
Lack of Search Optimization
Optimize your content for search engines by including keywords in page titles, URLs, headings, and throughout the content. Make use of related phrases and synonyms as well. Well-optimized content will rank higher in search and drive more traffic to your site.
In 2024, if your website isn’t accessible, you’ll be missing out on a huge portion of users. An accessible website is designed and built so people with disabilities can use it. This includes individuals who are blind, color blind, have low vision, have cognitive or mobility impairments, or are deaf.
As reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 61 million individuals in the United States live with a disability. If your site isn’t accessible, you’re excluding all of them.
Here are some of the major accessibility mistakes to avoid:
Not having alternate text for images
Screen readers can’t interpret images, so you need to provide alt text, a written description of the image content, and context. Without it, visually impaired users have no idea what information the image is meant to convey.
Confusing link text
Links should clearly convey where the user will go or what content they’ll find after clicking. “Click here” or “more” are useless. Screen readers also read link text aloud to users, so it needs to make sense out of context.
Dependent on color alone
Don’t use color as the only way to convey meaning or prompt action. People who are color blind won’t be able to interpret the message. Use additional cues like text, icons, or patterns.
Keyboard navigation issues
Ensure that all interactive elements like links, buttons, and form fields can be accessed and controlled using only a keyboard. Not all users can use a mouse, so your site needs to be keyboard-friendly.
Seizure risks from animations
If your site has animations, especially those with flashy patterns, be aware of the risks of seizures in users with epilepsy or other seizure disorders. Provide warnings and options to opt out of animations.
Never have audio or video that starts playing automatically when a page loads. Users should be in control of the media on your site and able to start, stop, rewind, or mute at will.
Lack of captions on media
Captions allow deaf or hard-of-hearing users to understand audio content. Add accurate captions and transcripts to all audio and video media on your site.
Following accessibility best practices may require more effort, but it will allow you to reach more users and avoid legal consequences.
In 2024 and beyond, website accessibility and being ADA-compliant should be top priorities. Focus on inclusiveness, and your site will be optimized for all.
Not Having HTTPS Encryption
When designing a website in 2024, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is not using HTTPS encryption. HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. It encrypts the data exchanged between a website and the user, providing an extra layer of security and privacy.
In 2024, Google will label all HTTP websites as “not secure” in the Chrome browser address bar. This can damage user trust in your site and hurt your search rankings.
To enable HTTPS on your site, you’ll need to purchase an SSL/TLS certificate. These digital certificates verify your website’s identity and encrypt data. Once purchased, you’ll need to install the certificate on your web server.
Many web hosts offer Let’s Encrypt, a free, automated certificate authority. They can install a certificate for you with just a few clicks. If you manage your own server, you may need help from your hosting provider or a developer to properly install the certificate.
After installation, test your site to ensure the certificate is working properly and you see “HTTPS” in the URL, then you’re all set. Existing links to your site will automatically redirect to the HTTPS version, so no need to update links on your site or elsewhere.
Why it Matters
Aside from security and search benefits, HTTPS also builds trust with your visitors. Studies show that users prefer HTTPS websites and consider them more credible. In e-commerce, HTTPS can even increase conversion rates.
As web technology advances, so do new threats to security and privacy. Using HTTPS to encrypt your website data is a simple way to help keep visitors’ information protected. For any business with an online presence, it’s really a must-have in 2024 and beyond.
If you haven’t already, make enabling HTTPS encryption a top priority for your website. Enhanced user experience and improved search engine rankings await!
So there you have it, 8 website design mistakes you absolutely must avoid if you want your business to succeed online in 2024 and beyond.
Follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way to creating an awesome user experience, building trust, and converting more visitors. Your competition is only going to get stiffer, so take action now to ensure you’re ahead of the curve.
Treat your website as an integral part of your business strategy and stay on top of the latest trends. If you get complacent, you risk losing customers and revenue.
But if you make the effort to continuously improve your website, the sky’s the limit for how much you can achieve.
The future is here – are you ready?
Avoid bad website design with Waterfront Graphic Design
We at Waterfront Graphic Design, are committed to providing our clients with the highest quality services and are always up-to-date on the latest trends in web design.
If you are looking for a web design company that can help you create a website that is both beautiful and effective, then we are the perfect choice for you.
Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you create a website that will make a lasting impression.