By simply avoiding the big screwups, you can make a great website. By focusing on what not to do, you can create something beautiful and easy to use, that will make your clients so happy that they refer their friends to you.
So here we’ll go over some basics mistakes you want to avoid.
1. Picking A Cheap Content Management System
Don’t build you client’s website on a weak foundation. This is so important. You don’t want to use any of the weaker CMS’s out there. This means do not build any sites on Wix, Weebly, or Squarespace. Don’t use any of this garbage.
These are Do It Yourself CMS, they are not for professional web designers. If you are a pro, then you need to be building on better platforms. Now, if you do offer websites on these platforms, just offer simple templates that don’t require much effort.
But, if you really care about your work, do not build or sell anything on these terrible systems.
2. Avoid Poor Readability
Don’t over think this one. You do not want to use fancy fonts or fancy colors. Keep it simple.
In general, the vast majority of websites are focused on written content, so you want to follow some basic guidelines.
Use text that is easy to read. Don’t use too many images and videos that distract or overwhelm the message that is contained in the text.
And remember, shorter is better. Whether you get most of your web traffic from mobile or desktop, it remains the same (basically build like you are getting most of your traffic from mobile devices), no more than three sentences to a paragraph.
Actually that is not true. No more than three lines to a paragraph. Keep paragraphs short and keep never go over three lines. If you do go over three lines just assume that none of that text is going to be read by the visitor.
If you are a veteran in this industry like Still Web Designer, you should know this.
3. Confusing Navigation
Have you ever been on a page and you can’t figure out how to get around a website? Believe or not, there are still websites out there that have floating pages. They might even be indexed in Google, so they can be found, but they are very useful to the visitor.
You want to keep all your pages in your navigation and you want to keep them as close to the homepage as possible.
Don’t bury them in a bunch of child pages https://www.jezweb.info/child-pages/.
Also, a simple technique to make your site easy to navigate is to have your Mom use your site before you publish it. If Mom can find her way around with ease, then you have done a good job. If Mom is struggling to find basic information on your site, then you know that you have work to do.
4. Weak Call To Action
The whole reason for creating a website is to have a visitor read the page and then take action. You can have your call to action as Heading Text, or a button, or even simple plain text. But no matter what you do, make it clear what you want the reader to do.
There is a reason that buttons say “Click Here Now” instead of “Click Here”. Another good example is Sign Up Today.
When do you want the visitor to click the button to sign up? Today. Be clear, it will help with conversions.
Also, you will need to put these CTA’s in multiple places, not just at the end of an article. Consider placing a CTA just after the title of an article, in the middle of the article, and at the end.
You might also want to test placing the CTA at the top right of the screen, once the reader has started to scroll down the article.
Hubspot made a good article about CTA’s that you should read.
5. Inconsistent Design
You have to keep the look consistent. Think about it from a branding point of view. What if Coke started using different colors and different fonts. Would that work? Of course not. Everyone knows the Coke logo is in cursive with a red background and white letters.
Think like Coke.
This means that you want to create a unique look for your site. And you want to stick with it. Think about Facebook’s login page. They’ve had the same look for over a decade. The homepage is even in a bunch of Casey Neistat videos because he has a picture of it in his office.
Consistency equals branding.
6. Misuse of Video and Images
Most of the time, you don’t want to use video or animations on your site. Well, most designers want to, but it’s not the right thing to do. It’s cluttered and it distracts the visitor. And, most of the time the animations are terrible and they actually give the website visitor a headache.
Stop it with the animations.
Not only this, but animations usually bog down the speed of the webpage. Just avoid animations. All you need to do is link to a video or YouTube or Vimeo or link to a gif or something. Just don’t put it on your webpage.
And with images, remember, you don’t need a super high quality image. Again this will bog down a webpage. If you have ever built a website for a photographer you know what I’m talking about. They want to use their beautiful images on their website.
The problem is, those images are designed to look great printed out on a glossy piece of paper. They just contain way to much data in their files.
So, compress images. You can usually minimize an image quite a bit, before it starts to lose any resolutions on the screen.
These are just some of the common mistakes that designers make. You can get far in life and in design, by sticking to what works and avoiding the commonly known errors