3 Website Mistakes to Avoid

We’ve all come across ancient websites and nearly laughed aloud at the old style of graphics, simplicity of design, and often boring content. With ever-changing expectations for website design, how do you know if you site is making mistakes like these?

Take a look at these key website mistakes to avoid to be sure your website is ready for modern audiences.

1. Out-of-Date Content

Providing website visitors with out-of-date content is one of the worst pitfalls for marketing your company image and value.

For example, if a user clicks your “News” tab and finds that the latest piece of news is from 2013, he or she is going to believe your entire website may not have been updated for years. This calls into question everything about your business  — standards, product usefulness, dedication to the industry, and plain and simple professionalism.

Many websites avoid dating content at all. Others regularly date items such as blog posts, news releases, and more. The important key is to regularly review and edit your site. If you choose to share news articles featuring your company or product, do so regularly. If you don’t have anything fresh to share, maybe it’s best to remove that portion of the site.

2. Lacking Calls to Action

Do you know what feature distinguished Facebook from other social media sites in the early race to domination? It was the “Like” button. Before Facebook introduced the “Like” button in 2009, users had to textually comment to show interaction with a post. The “Like” button is a simple call to action, but gets highly responsive results. One study of the “Like” button suggests that the history of “Liking” goes much deeper than the history of Facebook. This goes to show that a well researched call to action is worth investigating.

Informing website visitors what to do next or providing an interactive way to communicate preferences greatly lowers bounce rates and improves conversions. These next-step suggestions are called “Calls to Action”. Calls to action may be an anchored text link, an image button link with text, or a sentence including a quick link. Examples of each style:

Take a look at each page of your website, are you lacking calls to action? If so, this is one crucial component of your website you’ve got to improve immediately!

Which call to action style should you choose? Actually, the best way to answer this question is through testing. Set-up an A/B split test to present two different calls to actions to your site visitors in equal shares. Monitor which call to action style gets retains more visitors and/or leads to conversions. This will provide the best insight to which strategy, wording, colors, etc. are best for your particular business needs.

3. Inappropriate Font Size and Type

Font size and type play an important role in the emotions a website evokes on its readers. And now is the time to consider making font changes since recent browser support changes have made more font options a reality.

In a study about fonts by Microsoft and MIT researchers, many important findings about font size and type were discovered. More aesthetically pleasing fonts result in a happier mood and greater reading engagement. Secondarily, the happier mood encourages better cognitive abilities post-reading. Essentially, what this means is that it’s important to consider the font on your website if you want to influence your visitors in a particular way.

Different fonts may also evoke certain cultural emotions. For example, Helvetica font is what is used by the US government on tax forms. This association may produce unwanted side effects in mood. On the other hand, scripted fonts produce more romantic feelings, but are not easy to read for large bodies of text. In general, San-serif fonts like Arial and Calibri appear more informal than Serif fonts such as Times New Roman. A knowledgeable website designer should be able to help you consider which font is best for your purposes and audience.

Font size is just as vital as the type. Too small a font may be difficult for many readers and come across as intentionally misleading (as in the case of the “fine print” on giveaways.) For years it has been noted that font size 12pt and above is ideal, however many contemporary websites are moving towards fonts 20pt and larger. One recent study on font size suggests that these large fonts produce positive emotional responses. Again, these positive emotional responses are crucial to the actions of your website visitors.

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