Designing a website for your business involves making many decisions. In website design, the devil is in the details, and if visitors don’t like it they can easily find a different company with a better site online. These are 5 common mistakes that everyone has encountered in their online browsing which make for a negative experience:
1. No easy way to find information
It doesn't matter how much information your website has if it can’t be found. A simple sidebar or menu at the top of the homepage that links to all of your site’s pages will suffice for most businesses. If you have a lot of pages that visitors would need to sift through to find what they’re looking for, consider adding a search bar to simplify things. Some of the best designed homepages use both, to allow visitors seeking something specific to find it using the search bar and others who are just browsing can use the menu to learn more about your company.
2. Mixing too many colours or fonts
Your website should be eye-catching, but making it a dazzling rainbow of colours or using a different font in every category will send visitors running. A good rule of thumb is to limit yourself to three colours or fonts, and make sure they don’t clash with each other. There are many sites with colour wheels to help you find colours that complement each other, and mixing serif and sans serif fonts is a risky game. (Most people find it easier to read sans serif fonts online, though prefer serif for printed documents). When you have designed the site the way you like, have someone else look at it for a second opinion. After a few hours of web page designing it is easy to convince yourself that Comic Sans looks great, but unless your business is child or unicorn related it probably isn't the best choice.
It is important to fill your website with information, but don’t approach your site design with the same technique used to pack a suitcase that is too small. Blank space is important, so make use of margins and don’t feel the need to fill every little corner. There is a fine line between giving your website the feel of an overcrowded party and an empty warehouse, so try different layouts until you find a happy medium between the two. Many web design services have templates that can help with this, or consider hiring site designers.
4. Background music
This is a sin of web design. Background music is rarely, if ever, needed. It will often confuse most visitors as they try to determine the source of the music, or go unnoticed by visitors with their speakers muted. If you must use background music, add in controls so visitors can pause it, but most of the time the music will simply diminish the efficiency and professionalism of your site.
5. Not getting the message across
The most important thing is simplicity. If a visitor lands on your homepage and can’t figure out what your company does in a matter of seconds, they will leave. It can be the best looking website ever, but won’t work if it doesn't clearly promote your brand. If your business name, slogan, and an image on the home page can’t get the message across, consider changing at least one of them. The goal of your site is to advertise the services your business provides, so keep it simple.