When creating a website from scratch, there are SO many things that you need to do that sometimes it can get overwhelming wondering if you are meeting basic website standards or on the alternative doing things that do not make for a good website. We have come up with a list of the things that you need to know to avoid when planning and finalizing your website design. Avoid these common website mistakes to help your business stay competitive, polished, and professional online.
Plan your navigation ahead of time, before the design and development process, with the correct hierarchy in place. Try to aim to have around 4-6 navigation links, certainly no more than this, to avoid your website becoming crowded in the header area. If you need to put more on your site than these main links, we suggest you create a space in the header area for smaller links at the very top or take advantage of your footer and add them here. As far as subcategories go, be sure to think about which ones are the most important and which ones can sit back visually. For the more prominent categories, creating graphics and informational boxes to lead to these from the homepage will be a good idea to help them stand out and draw users looking for these more popular avenues.
Having a good mobile experience is not a part of website planning to overlook or disregard. After all, 52.6% of all website traffic is now done through mobile devices. Not only is having a mobile website important for your user-experience but Google has started penalizing websites that are not responsive so this will hurt your rankings and business in the end. At the end of the day, no matter what kind of website you have, you’ll need to make sure your mobile experience is present and sophisticated in order to stay competitive online. When you start the process of your redesign and research website design ideas in general be sure to look into mobile first or alongside your larger screen designs.
Having no fresh content on a website is incredibly bad for SEO and not only does it hurt your rankings but it also makes your company seem lazy and unmotivated to have a media center that you do not keep up with. Shoot to write at a minimum one new blog or news item per month to keep your website alive and fresh. Remember, the more often that you write quality pieces and use keywords the better your rankings will be. Content is king!
Your website may look and function well — but what do you want your visitors to do once they get to your site? Are they signing up for a subscription or purchasing a product or just simply contacting you for more information? Be sure to think about what route you want your users to take when coming to your website and plan accordingly with well placed and thought out call-to-actions. Call-to-actions are important no matter what kind of online business you run so make sure they are straightforward and clear in messaging.
What does your business DO or what VOICE do you want to portray to potential clients? These are important things to think about when creating your brand and marketing strategy. You want a user to get a glimpse of what your company does and what your goals are for the business overall when they first get to your website by reading the main text on the homepage. If you look at our website, edreamz.com, you will see that we have a main headline explaining who we are as a company and some smaller text for our services right on the homepage. Take the time to really think about what message you want to portray but remember less can be more when it comes to the amount of text here since most users don’t have a very long attention span when first clicking on a site.
More than 3 billion people around the world are using social media every month so it is not something you will want to ignore when planning your digital marketing strategy. Social media has become an essential part of marketing a brand and business. It allows you to connect with your customers in a personal way that just a website alone does not. From brand awareness to lead generation, having a social media presence will help your business shine and stay competitive. Some users may even discover your brand through social media or decide to use the information here to research your company, visit your website, and contact your business. Lastly, don’t forget how lucrative social media can be for prospective employees too who will want to learn about your company’s culture and brand.
This tip seems obvious but is sometimes overlooked — you want to make sure you have basic contact information in the pertinent areas of your site. Think about putting your contact information somewhere on the homepage like the footer where it will stay stationary and then devoting a specific landing page for other important information like the address, Google map, hours, and support information. Check out what we have done on our Contact page for an idea of how to go about setting up a landing page for users looking to contact a business.
There is no way around it — bad photography and outdated graphics will make your website appear dated and unprofessional. Your photographs do not have to be done by a professional photographer necessarily in order to be good quality if your budget does not allow it. Stock photography websites have come a long way in the last few years and can provide some unique, quality images. If your budget does allow you to hire a photographer, then go ahead and do so but be sure to have some ideas of what you are looking for before hiring them to plan out the shoot and not waste resources on ideas that don’t carry through well. As far as graphics go, you’ll want to make sure that they are clear in messaging and consistent in style. Be sure to also make sure the graphics scale down well at the mobile sizes if you plan to include them here.
Your custom website design and user-interface should complement your photography, call-to-actions, and graphics well and not distract from these important elements. You don’t want a site design that takes away or does not support the most important elements on your website and the avenues to take the user to where they need to go. A few basic tips to keep your website clean are: choose a simple color palette, stick to a traditional website layout and don’t get too experimental, and be sure to make sure your fonts are easy-to-read and web-friendly. When you begin researching website design ideas be sure to keep in mind that you want your website to be clean and professional before anything else. Take any ideas you have to your web design agency to use ans inspiration and the ideas can come to life from there.
Once your website goes live, you are in no way “done” from there. You’ll need to think about how you will plan to keep your website updated and any routine maintenance needed from time to time. A modern, robust CMS is important for website upkeep but it’s also important to put your trust in a team of developers, designers, and a marketing team who you can trust to help with updates to keep your website competitive. Here at E-dreamz we offer flexible packages for website design, development, and digital marketing upkeep. Check out our Support page for more information and let us know how we can help you. We highly recommend you go ahead and start thinking about what could be next for your website as soon as you launch to stay ahead of trends and your competition.
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