There are so many things to think about when it comes to choosing your website design or creating it from scratch. There is a great deal of information out there telling how to design your website but let’s take a look at it from another angle - avoiding website design errors.
It can be easy to forget what your site is all about and what you are trying to convey. You definitely want your site visitors to know who you are and what your name is so make sure that your business name is upfront and immediately visible. You will notice that I use a logo at the top of the page and this is something that you can do. I would recommend including your business name in the file name and alt tag of the image if you do the same and make sure that you also include your business name in the text somewhere to help the search engines to know who you are.
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More searches are carried out on mobile devices than desktop computers these days so your website needs to look great not only on a PC but also on tablets and mobile phones.
We call this making a website responsive. I think that comes from the fact that the website responds to the size of the screen that it is displayed on. I think mobile-friendly is easier to understand.
There are a few different ways to achieve this result. You can have two completely different websites, one for mobile and one for desktops. This is exactly what Facebook does. Take a look -
The design is completely different and optimised to look best on each type of device. The user does not have to specify which domain name to put into the internet because a piece of code automatically sends you to the appropriate version depending on which device you are using to view the site.
Another approach is to include the instructions on how to display a website depending on its size. I use this approach when I make a Html5 website and I can choose to change the display so that it is different for a mobile phone, a tablet, or a desktop. I only build one website so everything is displayed on the same domain name, I just put the instructions into the website code.
You can test the mobile-friendliness of your website over at the Google Mobile-Friendly Test
This is an absolutely critical point and has become increasingly important over the last few years.
Your site needs to load as fast as possible both to enhance the chances of your site being indexed highly on the search engines but also because internet users have developed an expectation of speed when they search for something. We are looking at screens and searching for material a great deal and our patience is more limited.
Your website must load fast.
Common problems that slow things down are a poorly designed site layout, image file sizes being far too big, and inefficient use of Content Management Systems like Joomla or WordPress. You can use Google's Site Speed Checker to see how you compare.
You may need a developer to help you if this is an issue which is an additional cost but it might be well worth it to you.
The temptation is to give your website visitor every possible option that you can offer so that you maximise the number of people who you can attract. However, there is strong evidence that giving people too many options reduces the overall amount of clicks that you will get.
This is called the Click Through Rate or CTR.
You are almost certainly better giving people just one option and asking them to complete it rather than a host of options. and you need to be really clear about it. I stress the importance of calling my phone number on my website. Sure, there are options for contacting me by email or a contact form but my offer is upfront and central - please call me on the telephone.
You can cause confusion if you offer people an appointment, the cache to call you, and also encourage them to sign up for your email newsletter. Try to prioritise what you want them to do.
You can always ask them to join your newsletter a little later on in the process by employing a sales funnel. This can be as part of the flow of a website booking or enquiry but it could just as easily be as part of the process you use when someone pays your bill in person. Offer them an incentive or a really good reason of some sort to join your email list.
This comes in a wide variety of forms.
You should make sure that your website uses a font that is easy to read on all types of devices and all makes of internet browsers. Believe it or not, different browsers have different capabilities when it comes to fonts so what looks great on Google Chrome might not be so good on Firefox or Safari.
The only way to be sure is to use each browser and see what happens.
The next thing is the size of the text. Younger people have much better eyesight and many web developers are young, so they cannot see any difficulty in the size of the font being so small, which is a definite trend at the moment. Make sure your font is large enough to read by people of all ages even they are using a mobile phone to view your website.
You should also think about the content. One page should cover one topic and needs to be really obvious exactly what that topic is. You should also use shorter sentences and shorter paragraphs with a logical flow of titles so people skim to what they are looking for.
Believe it or not, I made a mistake with my phone number on my own website. Thankfully, I noticed it fairly quickly but it just goes to show that we can all make an error. Nobody was going to call me on the wrong phone number, were they?
So get plenty of sets of eyes looking at your site and get all of these errors sorted out.
There are endless ways in which your website can contain some errors but hopefully, I've given you some ideas about avoiding the common traps.