Common mistakes in Web Design happens to most of us. The point is to try to avoid them as much as possible. This post was crafted from my 13 years of experience building websites.
I spent most of my adult life building website (since 15 yo). These mistakes are common especially those who are new to website, whether developer, designer, marketer and even CMOs.
Mistake in Website – Sales & Marketing Tool
1. If You Build, They will come
No. They will not come.
I have seen customers who optimistically spends a fortune on website but get very little return. They were investing in a web app. Most of the money they raised were spent on development. There was almost no investment made in promotion.
Since this was for a bank, this project was a pocket change.
Once you build a website whether its for application, information or to get online customers, be sure allocate some budget to promotion.
2. A Website is Self Promoted
This is almost similar to first point. A website does not have AI to promote itself. Instead you should force Google and other search engine to crawl on your website.
Think of it as moving to new shop.
Nobody will know you exist if don’t promote it.
You can do SEO for your website (which takes about 6 months to see results) or you can spend on Google Ads or Facebook Ads to drive traffic to your website.
Google Ads – Use to drive intentions to the website. E.g. Looking for the “back pain strap”.
Facebook Ads – Create awareness to your target audience (focus on demographic). “back pain strap” would appeal to post labour mothers, athletes in mid 30s or elderly.
3. Get Sales Immediately
A website works differently than a shop.
Once a shop puts an “Open” sign, prospects would go in and window shop. If you’re a pastry maker, you’d see instant purchase.
Unfortunately a website doesn’t work that way.
You need to nurture your target audience. Let’s breakdown to 4 group of visitors.
Suspect – These are first time visitors to your website. Naturally, if you’re looking for a product online, you won’t immediately make the purchase. It’s more like, “Ahaaa, Now I know where to get it”. Try as much as possible to do retargeting marketing to these group
Prospect – These are visitors who already know you, but have not paid you. At this stage it is common to compare with other products.
Customers – These are visitors who has paid you. Whether returning or one-time purchase. It’s easier to upsell a new product to your existing customers.
Advocate – These are your true believers. They’ll where your name proudly and more to all their family, friends and peers. You definitely want to keep this group happy.
When recently launch your website, do not expect to close sale immediately. It will take time and patience.
However there are cases where we built a website and got sales from day 1. They moved from Facebook sales to an ecommerce website and never look back.
The Website Design and Experience
4. Visitors Don’t Like to Scroll
No scroll? Yes that can be built.
However you will most likely cram every possible detail in a single view. That’s not going to be very pretty. Visitor gets tired easily and leaves the website. You will have high exit rate.
No scroll website is very common for Government and large corporate.
Here’s some example that doesn’t work.
Here’s an example that works.
Google may be the only website that has a no scroll page but, only for the landing page. Once you perform a search, you’d have to scroll to see the results.
One of my customer insisted to build a website with no-scroll. When asked, he believes that no one scrolls. I managed to convince him to 2 scroll design base.
Chartbeat, a data analytics provider, analysed data from 2 billion visits and found that “66% of attention on a normal media page is spent below the fold.”
What this means, is that 66% visitors focus on content after the first scroll.
On mobile, half of the users start scrolling within 10 seconds and 90% within 14 seconds.
Thumb, move up. We all do that.
It’s liberating to scroll down, despite being told not to.
In a usability study, the participants were told not to scroll down. 100% scrolled down. Scrolling down is instinctive (maybe addictive too). So as designers, we are obligate to give what the world wants, a scrolling page.
What really matters here is the hierarchy of information that you are feeding your visitors.
Headline goes first, then hero image.
When you scroll down, you’ll see other gibberish that not many people will care about.
The formula is simple. Give what people want.
5. Users Like Flash Intro
No. Please no.
It was cool in the late 90’s, but not by today’s standard.
Here are the reason.
a. Speed. During the dial up days, a flash site could take up to 2 minutes to download a 2 Mb page. It’ll be an instant today. However fast it may be, users will still have to bypass the ‘gate’ and this slows down the experience.
b. Support. Apple (iOS) no longer support Flash. Almost 20% of internet users, uses iOS device (iPhone and iPad).
c. Buffer. Flash creates a buffer zone, similar to point, a gate. Ideally you do not want to block info to your visitors.
d. Technology. While Adobe are still selling Flash software, they will put an End of Life (EOL) for Flash player in 2020.
e. Giants are not using it. No giant company are using it and you shouldn’t too. Unlike us, giant companies has money to burn in Marketing Research and they found out its best to stay away from it, we should too.
6. Anyone Can Build a Website
Yes. Truly anyone can. You can also build your own car, but do think it’ll work on the road? There are many elements that makes a good car, so does a website. A website is a combination of art, design, marketing and technical. It requires experience, business acumen and sense of design. While DIY website is cheaper, it’s also costly if you don’t generate any sales from it.
7. The Design Should “POP”
Nobody truly understand what this means. Making a website attractive and beautiful is subjective. While you may have an eye on design, but that doesn’t mean it’ll work. A seasoned website designer can tell you what works, what doesn’t. So you best get advice before deciding on a design or art.
8. Empty Space is Bad
Have you ever opened a website packed with content? Does it strain your eyes? Whitespace (or empty spaces) are there to help you scan the entire page and process the information quicker. It can also be used to emphasize on certain information.
9. We Know What Our Customer Wants To See
Yes, you definitely know what your customer’s preference when it comes to your products and services. But when it comes to website design, it’s always a good idea to let your website designer have a look or have a go at it creatively.
10. Just Google the Images
Misconption about webiste design
A big NO. Creative industry are protected by copyright. The last thing you want is to pay fines for using others’ work. Also it lacks originality. Try to arrange for a photoshoot and make your own stock photos.
11. Show Everything On the Website
The last thing you want is to confuse your prospects. The best approach is to segmentize the information according to its categories. You can also offer downloads in PDF. This helps you build an email list and qualify the prospects better.
12. Just Copy Competitor Website
I’d like to believe every business is unique. It has it’s own voice, it’s own promise, it’s own presence. This is also called a brand. When you copy, you actually downplay the perception towards your own brand. And normally, before making a purchase, end user (your customer) will always compare between sites. If you were caught copying, do you think the customer will trust you?
Commercial Aspect of Website Design
13. Website Lasts a LIFETIME
Trend changes from time to time. Every website has an expiry date. The difference is how well the website was designed and what platform it’s using. A forward thinking design can last longer (4-5 years) and by using a platform (CMS) you can change its theme from time to time.
14. A Website Is Complete
Think of website as a way for you to pitch to your customer. Does your sales pitch changes from time to time? So does your website.
Website needs continuous improvements to keep its relevance. Your visitors would always want to see something new on the website. Search for “Content Marketing” and try to implement it to improve you website.
15. Website Don’t Need Maintenance
If you are using static HTML, yes, your website might not need any maintenance. However, if you are using CMS like WordPress, you need a professional to help you maintain the website. This is to ensure that your investment is protected from security threats and potential exploits.
16. Website Has Unlimited Changes
When you hire a website designer, you normally get 2-3 changes to the overall website design. Otherwise the project will never be completed. You can get unlimited changes if you pay for premium support.
17. A Website is Cheap
When you pay for a low budget website, your get what you pay for. Having said that, high budget doesn’t mean it’s good either. A website cost is determined by your requirements and what the intended use. A good website is not determined by it’s price, it determined by its relevance to the visitor and content.
I hope you learned something from this.