Websites are 24/7 marketing hubs. In many instances, they also give prospective clients or supporters a first impression of your company or cause. A great website can play an integral role in helping businesses to cultivate qualified leads and nonprofits to attract donors and volunteers. And, while a great website can be one of your best marketing assets, a poorly designed website can become a marketing liability. Here are some common web design mistakes that can hurt your bottom line:
Your website’s navigation is the roadmap for the user experience. Clear navigation ensures visitors can easily find the information they are looking for on your website. This lays the foundation for visitors to spend more time on your site and to consume more content. When a website’s navigation is confusing – often flagged by multiple, prominent navigation bars and/or subpages being housed under main navigation tabs that are not intuitive to the information they house – visitors become frustrated. That frustration leads to people leaving your site prematurely, without the information they need, and can foster negative perceptions of your brand.
Slow load time
Are you familiar with the adage “a watched pot never boils”? The feeling you have waiting for that pot of water to boil is not dissimilar from the feeling people have when waiting for the videos, images and text on your website to load. Reports also indicate that Google is considering load time when determining how to rank websites in search results so a slow website may also be negatively impacting your organic SEO.
A great design is important – so is great website content. Newsrooms and blogs are powerful tools for demonstrating thought leadership and educating target audiences via your website. They can also help to demonstrate how active your organization is in its industry and community and show that you are up-to-date on the trends and environmental factors that impact your industry and stakeholders. Outdated blogs and newsrooms, however, can lead to people questioning if your company or cause is still in existence. If you don’t have the bandwidth to maintain an active blog (think upwards of two posts per month and, ideally, a minimum of one per week) or newsroom (think monthly), it is better to leave them off of your website than to have them appear outdated.
Too much information
While it is important for your website to be content-rich, one must strike a balance between being educational and overwhelming visitors with too much information.
Before you begin redesigning your website, cull through the copy on your current website to determine what should stay and what should go. Then asses what content needs to be updated and what new information needs to be added. Finally, focus on organizing the content into logical page groupings and laying it out in a way that is visually-appealing to visitors and easy for them to consume.
Too little information
You want your website to be a valuable source of information for visitors. A lack of information can lead to a confusing and frustrating user experience. From an SEO perspective, you also want there to be enough text for Google to crawl to determine how to rank and categorize your website. When developing website content, focus on the information people need to know first and foremost and supplement with the most salient information from the “nice to know” column. And, of course, be sure to clearly identify how people can get more information on a specific program, product or service – email, phone, website form, etc. – to ensure you are capturing the qualified prospects who are visiting your site.
For more information on web design best practices, download our guide to web essentials today. And, to better understand the web design check process, be sure to check out our blog post on what a website build really entails.