When you’re a new business heading out in the incredibly competitive online world, you want to hit the ground running to give yourself every chance of success. Website design is one of the biggest initial outlays a new business will make, and as the visible ‘face’ of your business online, it’s essential you get it right.
In this article we’re going to take a look at 5 web design mistakes new online businesses commonly make. By drawing your attention to these frequent faux pas, the hope is you’ll be able to avoid any blunders and put your best foot forward online.
1. Confusing Navigation
When it comes to navigating your website, simplicity really is key. Usability is the most important factor in the success of your website. If browsers can’t find their way around your website, they’ll leave – and who can blame them? Menus are typically found along the top of a webpage. The reason for this is because it works. Studies have shown that browsers first read horizontally, along the top of the page. Therefore, the most logical place to have your navigational menu bar is at the top of the page, using a simple structure that lists the most important pages prominently, with sub-category pages underneath.
2. Showing Off
The temptation as an online startup is to try to stand out and make your mark on the marketplace, and in theory, that’s all well and good. The trouble comes when this approach spills over into your website design. Having lots of different design elements, striking colours and fonts is not good design. Less is more, and you’re much more likely to make a good first impression with a minimalist design that leaves plenty of white space. As a rule, to avoid confusing consumers you should use no more than two or three colours and font styles on each page.
3. Forgetting About Mobile
The smartphone is now the most popular way to browse the internet. So, if you design a website without a second thought for how it will appear on mobile devices, quite frankly you’re daft. That’s half your market gone already. Designing a website that looks great on mobile and desktop devices does not necessarily need to cost more. Most designers nowadays understand just how important mobile devices are and incorporate responsive design as standard.
4. Trying To Be Different
There are certain rules web designers should stick to; they are tried and tested, and they work. Clicking on the company logo should take you back to the homepage. Why? It just should. Once a link has been clicked, it should change colour as it shows browsers where they already been. Contact information should also be displayed on a ‘contact’ page as it makes it easy to find. ‘About’ pages are important because people have an innate interest in other people. People like familiarity, so give them what they want.
5. Information Overload
You can deny it as much as you want, but when it comes to browsing online, you’re lazy. We all are. We only properly read content online if we absolutely have to. If we’re browsing online, we prefer to scan. Unfortunately, a huge number of online businesses are so preoccupied with telling their story and communicating their message, they overlook the importance of presenting the information in the right way. When it comes to displaying content on a web page, less really is more.
Lengthy pieces of information should be split into small digestible blocks of text of no more than a few lines. Titles and subtitles should be used throughout a webpage so users can find the information they need quickly; and plenty of white space should be left to naturally break up the text.
And there you have it – 5 web design mistakes new online businesses make that you’d be wise to avoid!