13 Website Design Mistakes We Wish All Businesses Knew

Your website is a reflection of your business. It should look professional, explain your products and services, and be easy to use. It’s a platform for your company to demonstrate its industry knowledge and experience.

These basic website standards can be challenging to meet because you’re an expert in your field, not in web design. As an experienced web design and online marketing agency, we see countless website design mistakes that prevent businesses from getting new customers and improving their sales. Here are just 13 of the mistakes that we wish all businesses knew.

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1. The Site’s Design Isn’t Mobile-Friendly

Mobile use is ubiquitous. More than half of all Web traffic and Google searches occur on smartphones and tablets. Responsive, mobile-friendly web design help mobile users read and use your company’s website. Without a mobile-friendly design, Google will drop your website in its search rankings and customers will be less inclined to buy your services online.

2. Content on the Website Is Disorganized

To maximize your site’s overall digestibility, you want a web page to feature a clean layout (i.e., not cluttered) and you want your content to be clearly scannable.

Your content should have a bold, catchy headline at the top of the page and smaller but nonetheless eye-catching subheads that break up the text below it. The page’s call to action (CTA) should be easy to find at the bottom of the page, and include either a link to your contact form or your phone number.

Lastly, amateur writing shows. It makes websites look less professional and, therefore, less trustworthy. Instead of using free or cheap content, hire a professional copywriter.

3. Web Pages Are Too Cluttered

You’ll often hear people describe less-than-fantastic websites as being too “busy.” This web industry colloquialism describes how cluttered a particular web page is.

Many businesses, in an effort to fit additional information, headlines, graphics, and images onto a page, overlook whether or not this information is easily digestible by their audience. The more cluttered a page is, the less your audience is going to absorb.

4. The Content Isn’t Optimized for Conversion

It’s great to drive traffic. It’s better to drive conversions. Click-bait content does the former, but not the latter. Your site should use high-quality, trust-building, authority-establishing content to inform your audience. Without it, many people may visit your website and never buy anything.

5. Contact Information Is Hard to Find

Many companies hesitate to publish their contact information because they don’t want to get spammed or get telemarketing phone calls. However, without easy-to-find contact information, prospective customers don’t have a point person to ask service-related questions, request an estimate, or make an appointment.

In addition to a dedicated Contact Page, your website should feature your business phone number, email address and/or contact form on the home page’s footer. It should be included, if possible, in each web page’s CTA.

6. The Website Lacks Personality

Ideally, your website’s design and content show your company’s personality. Often we see business websites that are very sterile. The company invested in an initial, basic website and used a simple template without much style.

While that worked just fine in the early 2000s, it’s a major turnoff for a modern web audience. Now the market offers a plethora of cost-effective, easy-to-use web designs for businesses on a budget. These templates allow your company to express its personality through a new website redesign.

It’s equally important for your content to have a voice that matches your business’ personality. If you run a fun-loving, online sports retail company, then it’s alright for the tone of your content to be more conversational. Conversely, if you operate a credit union, then it’s more appropriate to use an informative, professional tone.

7. It Doesn’t Feature Social Proof or a Portfolio of Your Work

Customers want to hire a credible, trustworthy professional. That said, how can you effectively communicate that your business employs a staff of reputable experts who customers can depend on to provide a great service on time?

The answer is twofold. First, your website should include client testimonials, which leverages your visitors’ unspoken for desire social proof. This psychological effect signifies that your prospective customers are more likely to believe you’ll provide a fantastic product if they see what appears to be large groups of people lauding your services. They fundamentally will assume that your previous customers are complimenting you because you’re a trustworthy business.

Second, your website should have a carefully selected portfolio with examples of your best work. This way, prospective clients can see actual proof of the work you’ve done and, preferably, read a short piece of text about how you help the client featured in each example.

8. The Website Loads Pages and Processes Information Too Slowly

Your company website should load immediately, preferably under 2 seconds. If your site takes 3 seconds (or longer), 40% of people will simply close your website, according to Search Engine Journal.

To prevent this from happening, invest in excellent web hosting, use caching, and utilize a content delivery network.

9. Colors and Images That Don’t Match the Business

Whether you’ve actively developed it or not, your company has a brand. Your website is one of the essential ways you communicate that brand, including the colors, graphics, photos, logos, and fonts you choose to put on it.

It’s important to pick a color scheme for your website that matches your brand and how you want it to be portrayed. Colors communicate emotions. For example, Apple's iconic graphic, a basic, grayish-silver apple, expresses a calm neutrality. This expression is ideal for a computer company that’s obsessed with building efficient, forward-thinking products.

Once you’ve decided which hues your website should have, carefully select each image you’re going to place on each page. Consider getting a company logo that your web designer can place at the top of your site and you can use for emails and business cards.

10. It Doesn’t Have a Search Box

Let’s say you have a sought-after service that’s not prominently featured on your home page. A prospective customer opens up your website and starts searching for information about said service. The visitor, unable to find pertinent information, closes your site, looks up the service on Google, and possibly books it with your competitor.

You can avoid this mishap by installing a custom search box for your website. Typically on the top right corner of the homepage, custom search boxes let your customers search for a specific service, product, or blog topic.

11. The Company’s Blog Is on a Separate Domain

Some businesses put their blogs on third-party platforms (i.e., WordPress.com and Blogger), instead of keeping it on the same domain as the company’s website.

For example, let’s say a business’ website is HeyLookAtThis.com, but its owners chose a third-party platform to host the company blog. Rather than going to HeyLookAtThis.com/blog (what we’d recommend), its audience has to visit HeyLookAtThis.blogspot.com to find new, relevant posts.

Why is this such an ineffective practice? Business blogs on third-party platforms look unprofessional and prevent the business website from reaping the SEO benefits of the blog's content. Third-party blogging platforms are also constantly changing and upgrading. Some take a dive in popularity and lose significant favor with web audiences.

To protect your website from being handcuffed to a third-party platform, keep your company blog on the same domain as your company website.

12. Email Addresses That Aren’t On the Same Domain as the Website

The email address you post on your website should have the same domain as the website itself. In other words, if your site is HeyLookAtThis.com, then an appropriate business email would [email protected]. Never put Gmail, Hotmail, AOL, and other personal email addresses on your company site.

If possible, avoid putting any email addresses on your website. Use contact forms instead, which prevent spam.

13. It Contains Sliders, Also Known as Carousels

Sliders feature rotating images, and typically appear on the home page. It’s been shown that, statistically, sliders decrease your website’s conversion rate.

Visitors tend to ignore the rotating images because they assume they're ads. Or they can’t read the content on the moving images fast enough. Or, worse, they can and get distracted from more important content on your home page.

Instead of using sliders on your website, we recommend one static image combined with text that clearly communicates one specific message. We also suggest, if you prefer something more visually complex than a static image, that you embed a single, relevant video or install a static photo gallery.

For more reasons your website should avoid sliders and alternatives, read this article.

Transform Your Website with Our Web Design Services

Website design blunders prevent your business from attracting customers and tapping into new markets. Review our collection of website design mistakes and learn where your site could be improved.

To discover how our web design team can transform your site, contact OptimWise today. We also encourage you to visit our Portfolio for great examples of websites we’ve designed and optimized.

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12 comments on “13 Website Design Mistakes We Wish All Businesses Knew”

  1. It's interesting that the color choice of the website and pictures can misrepresent a business. I didn't realize that the colors used in a website can determine what a customer might expect from the company. Having a website professionally designed and built could be helpful for any person or business because it would ensure the website represents the service effectively so customers won't be turned away just because of some colors.

    1. Yes, Tyler, the visuals on a website influence the visitor's perception of the business. You're right that it's important to have a website professionally designed, because a designer will take this into account. When a business tries to design their own website, they often use their favorite colors or photos, without considering what would appeal to their target audience or prospect.

      P.S., I lived in Michigan for most of my life, in Zeeland and Holland (not far from Grand Rapids).

  2. Thanks for sharing this informative blog post about 13 website design mistakes we wish all businesses knew. I was looking for some tips and finally found on your blog. Thanks!

  3. I have gone through most of these mistakes but it is a natural process people keep on learning as they get experienced. I believe reading and watching tutorials about the things which you learn by reading outstanding blogs such as yours where you have quite clearly elaborated major mistakes even I did not know of some mistakes myself such as keeping email ids same as of domain.

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