If you’re planning to design or redesign a website, here are five of the top mistakes to avoid so you can maximise the impact of your online presence.
1. Too busy
Graphics and animations certainly add visual interest for your audience but they can make your site ‘too busy’. This will dilute your key messages and fail to effectively promote your business. Clean, simple design that creates the right look and feel for your target audience is what you need to achieve. This doesn’t mean your website will be dull and uninteresting. Invest in your online brand and business by talking to an agency such as www.4040creative.com.au who can help you build and develop a creative, high-impact and business-driven website.
2. Poor navigation
Navigation is by far the greatest factor that influences how user-friendly a website is. If a site is hard to get around, users will leave quickly and in their droves. To avoid this, start by developing your overall site map that groups content by headings and sub-headings (your menu structure). Be sure to include the basics like “About Us”, “Contact Us”, “FAQs” and “Terms and Conditions” if this applies to your business. Your site map will also identify functional elements such as a shop, payment facility, ticket bookings, gallery, feedback form, calendar etc.
Pretty graphics might make your site visually appealing, but what keeps people there is quality content that is up-to-date, well-written, informative and relevant to your business and your audience. Web copy should be short and concise, utilising dot-points and tables where necessary that will allow you to convey information in an easy-to-read and digestible format.
Other content musts:
• Break up content with relevant images, but strike a good ratio of words to graphics, too little or too much of either or both isn’t a good thing.
• Make sure outdated content is removed, including links that no longer work and redundant documents or tools.
• Use the appropriate ‘tone of voice’ for your target audience(s) and be consistent with your language, terminology and abbreviations. Have people proofread your work to find and fix spelling and grammatical errors.
• Don’t plagiarise and ALWAYS reference external sources you’ve used.
• If you’re going to have a ‘News’ section of your site and offer an email newsletter, you absolutely have to keep this up-to-date. If you can’t manage this, don’t offer it or investigate syndicated content offered by various agencies and freelance copywriters.
Lack of research and testing
If you have the resources and time, undertake some market research first. Use the outcomes of this to inform the development of your website including navigation, content and functionality. Find out what people really want to see on your site and how they want it presented to them.
Before your site launches it should be tested by users to ensure they:
• Can easily navigate your site
• Quickly find what they’re looking for
• Have a pleasurable experience that will make them likely to return.
Too many external links
Linking to other websites is a good thing. As long as the links you provide are working and not ‘broken’, they can help to make your website more current and users will see your site as a ‘go to’ point for information. However, by providing too many external links, users can easily become overwhelmed with information and may lose interest in your site altogether. Make sure your links are to relevant sites and where possible, seek a reciprocal arrangement to generate a two-way flow of traffic.
With the plethora of websites now available it’s really easy to get lost in the online noise. To avoid getting lost in the digital crowd, avoid some of the common pitfalls when designing your website. By following of the tips outlined in this article, you’ll build a better online brand and achieve greater business success.