Your website is a valuable marketing asset.

Prospective customers landing on your pages can learn more about your products or services and even make a purchase directly through your site or fill out a lead form. A well built site can drive a considerable amount of traffic and sales to your business. But web design is one aspect that cannot be overlooked.

Nothing is more frustrating than landing on a site that takes too long to load or has text that is barely readable. The reality is that poorly designed pages have a negative impact on conversions. Online users will not hesitate to leave a site that fails to meet expectations.

If sales from your site are weak, poor design is likely the culprit.

Here we look at some of the most common web design mistakes and how to fix them. Addressing these issues on your site will have a dramatic impact on your sales.

1. Poor Readability

Readability is a crucial aspect of web design.

 An engaging design is certainly a must but it is wasted if users have a difficult time reading the content. Online users expect to be able to find the information they are looking for without having to wade through pages and pages of text. This also extends to readability.

 Use a readable font (e.g. Sans Serif) and avoid using colors that clash. Black text over a white background is the most commonly used.

 Research has also shown that online users rarely read content in its entirety. Instead a large majority of visitors scan pages to find the right information.

 Here are ways to make your content easily scannable:

  • Highlight or bold important keywords
  • Use subheadings to break up text
  • Organize information with bulleted lists
  • Keep one idea per paragraph
  • Add images throughout the content

There are a number of tools available that can measure the readability of your text. Use these tools to improve your content.

2. Unintuitive Navigation

 Users should be able to navigate to the right pages on your site.

Whether you sell products online or provide services, your pages need to be organised in an intuitive manner. Online users have little patience for sites that are poorly designed as they expect to find the right pages immediately.

A simple solution is to include a navigation bar with links to your main categories. This can either be at the top of the page or in the sidebar.

Here is an example of a simple and intuitive navigation bar:

Hovering over the main links then shows a drop down list of additional links.

Even before designing your site, you should first plan the categories and subcategories. Remember to keep all pages accessible within three clicks or less.

3. Overly Cluttered Pages

Websites are often the first point of contact that people have with a business.

So your site needs to make a great impression to get visitors to make a purchase or fill out a lead form. While the early days of the Internet were littered with poorly designed sites, standards have changed massively. And most consumers now simply will not tolerate sites that are unintuitive or lacking in quality.

Even as the Internet has changed dramatically, there are still a number of businesses that have sites with clunky designs. Many continue to cram as much as they can into their pages, resulting in a busy and cluttered design that is barely readable.

Here is an example of a cluttered design:

The content on the page is disorganized and it is hard to tell right away what the business even offers.

So take steps to reduce any clutter on your pages. Ample use of white space is a fundamental building block of web design. It refers to the space on a page that is not used. When done right white space helps to improve readability and delivers a clean page that visitors can easily navigate.

4. Incompatibility With Mobile Devices

Mobile usage continues to rise.

More consumers than ever are connecting to the web from mobile devices. Google has even rolled out a global update that boosts the rankings of mobile friendly sites in the mobile search results. The purpose is to make it easier for mobile users to find sites that are optimized for their devices.

One of the biggest web design mistakes is not optimizing for the mobile world.

Nothing is more frustrating than landing on a site from a smartphone, only to find that the text is too small to read without having to zoom in. If your site is not yet mobile friendly, your business is more than likely losing sales as a result.

Enter in your URL in the Mobile-Friendly Test tool from Google.

If your site fails the test, then making your site optimized for mobile needs to be a priority. Google recommends implementing a responsive design, which means that sites dynamically adjusts to fit all screen resolutions. This design also offers a number of benefits from both a user and search engine standpoint.

5. Not Having a Clear Call to Action on Each Page

Even with a great design, conversions can still be low.

The best websites are those that include a call to action on every page. A call to action is crucial to get visitors to take action on your site whether it is making a purchase or filling out a lead form. These can be as simple as a button or as complex as a form that visitors fill out to download a guide.

Here is an example of a call to action button from the Dropbox Business page:

First think about what you want your visitors to do on your site. Do you want them to buy a product or book a call? Or do you want them to sign up for your newsletter? Answering these questions is important to push your business objectives forward and to ensure you include the right call to actions on your pages.

Add a call to action to each page and you can expect conversions to jump as a result.

Conclusion

Consumers are quick to make an impression based on what they see.

So your site needs to make a great first impression to convert visitors into customers. Otherwise you risk visitors bouncing out the moment they land on your site. The web design mistakes detailed here are some of the most common that we continue to see even today. But the good news is that each is relatively straightforward to address. And doing so will have a dramatic impact on your bottom line.