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12 Simple Mistakes You Might Be Making on Your Website

Written by Taylor Hawes

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

business meeting When creating a website, it’s quite easy to get swept up in the trap of putting creativity before the end user’s needs. Practicality can be understandably boring. However, an unusable website is about as much good as a car with no engine. See if you’re making any of these common website mistakes, then go fix them!

 

Unscannable Content

The average person comes online to find what they want, and find it quickly. If your content isn’t easily scannable, it will lose you readers and fast.

The fix: Use headings, bullet lists, and numbered lists whenever possible. You should also use images to break up the monotony of a long read.

 

No Search Box

This is especially important if you have a large website with lots of content. The internet is a big place, and people have come to depend on search engines to find what they need.

The fix: Add a search box to the top right corner of your website, since that’s where people are used to finding the search option.

 

Not Using Analytics

Analytics is the tool that keeps your finger on the pulse of your website. If you don’t know what people are doing on your site, then you can’t truly know how it is performing, or what is working for your company.

The fix: Stop putting it off. Go to Google Webmaster Tools and install Google Analytics on your website for free. If you need help, visit Google Analytics Getting Started page.

 

Cluttered Pages

Cluttered websites are universally unappealing. When faced with sidebars stuffed with ads, an abundance of images, and unorganized text, most people will simply leave the website.

The fix: Simplify the layout of your website by getting rid of what you don’t really need. Be sure you’re utilizing the space above the fold with your header, sign up form, and the welcome text of your page.

 

No Clear Direction

Every page of your website should work toward a common goal. Is the purpose of your website to promote your product? To showcase your talents? To raise money for an organization?

The fix: Establish the aim of your website, and make sure all of your content is in alignment with that aim.

 

Poor Readability

Text that is too large, too small, or made up of difficult-to-read fonts and glaring colors can easily put off your visitors.

The fix: For the body of your text, use 12-point font, and colors that contrast with the background. Also, stick with fonts you can read easily yourself. It helps to have a second pair of eyes. 12-simple-mistakes-2

Hard to Navigate

Your navigation is the window to the rest of your website. If it’s difficult to find, ambiguous, or gives no cues to the user, then they could easily get frustrated.

The fix: Put your navigation bar in a visible place on your website. Use simple, easily recognizable words like “About,” “Services,” and “Contact.” The navigation should also give the user cues as to which page they’re on, such as the color of the current page turning color.

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Bad Screen Resolution

Your users shouldn’t have to scroll horizontally to see the full contents of your website. That was okay back in 1996, but not anymore.

The fix: You can fix this problem by using relative width to make the page fit any screen. Use the <body> tag in your HTML to set relative width, or use the body{width:100%;}tag in the style sheet.

 

Non-Cohesive Pages

If your layout, color scheme, and overall theme vary from one page to another, it makes your website seem disjointed.

The fix: Treat your website like a book. The pages should look like they’re all somehow related.

 

Music or Video Loads with Page

Video that automatically plays on page load can be annoying and even startling. Music that loads with the page is just as bad.

The fix: Disable the automatic play feature for all of your site’s content. Give your visitors a choice as to what they want to watch or listen to.

 

Browser and Device Incompatibility

This is one simple yet important aspect of web design that too often gets overlooked. Just because your website looks flawless in Firefox doesn’t mean it also looks great in Safari.

The fix: Test your website across all browsers and devices. Mobile emulators are good for testing, but use the actual device whenever you can.

 

No List

A huge mistake a lot of website owners make is not having a way to keep in touch with the people who visit their website.

The fix: Sign up for an email list service like Mail Chimp or Aweber, then add a simple sign up form to your website. An even more effective approach is to offer an incentive for signing up, such as a free ebook or report.

 

Every website has something it can improve on. A user friendly website is a great asset to an organization, so be sure that yours is as mistake-free as possible.

Posted in

Web and Hosting Tips
Comments

3 Responses to 12 Simple Mistakes You Might Be Making on Your Website

  1. Landis says:

    some good points.
    would be helpful if you gave reference links eg, search box, where to ‘get one’

  2. Oma Beate says:

    Very helpful. Will implement every suggestion. However I do not understand bad screen resolution and how to fix that.

  3. Aaron J. Angel says:

    Search is a crutch for poor design. Unless I am sifting through highly structured data, such as a library catalog or labor statistics, I will not run a query to find what I seek.

    It is not rocket science. If you do not link to the desired content in a place where it can be found, the desired content will not be found.

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