5 Common Website Design Mistakes to Avoid
Whether you are just beginning your journey as an entrepreneur looking to create your first website, or feel it’s time to do a full redesign of an existing site, you’ll want to start armed with as much info as possible.
To that end, I am here to help you save yourself from making these common website design mistakes I see all. too. often. (Including some of the red flags of a less-than-transparent website designer who’s not truly looking out for your best interests, but rather their own bottom line.)
Mistake 1: Letting someone else register your domain.
As a small business owner, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and want as much help as you can afford – even if it’s that young kid who’s great with computers. So that person tells you “Oh I’ll just set it all up for you” and it sounds like a relief.
However, what that really means is that person who purchased your domain (a.k.a. your street address on the internet) in an account they control. Should things go awry in your working relationship, as I have heard from clients who come to me more times than not, you now have your most precious digital commodity being held hostage by someone else.
Business owners should always be the one to set up their own account with a domain registrar, purchase the domain, then provide access to that account to whomever is using it. Access that can be turned off if things go sour.
Mistake 2: Getting a 100% custom coded website.
Sounds really nice to have a “custom coded” website because, well, it’s custom. However, that also means this business owner is beholden to that genius person for all future updates, which can slow down business later.
I recommend people purchase packaged theme files that come with all the features, designs and easily-buildable sections included THEN customize that to their brand. This way you don’t have to know how to read code to change it down the line or add new copy/photos/features.
Plus, you get to start at the 50 yard line rather than the opposing teams end zone to get that win (a.k.a. the touchdown/finished website.)
Mistake 3: Too many colors
A brand needs to have colors, yes, but there also needs to be cohesiveness to it or it just becomes messy. There’s a reason brand designers, such as myself, create a primary and secondary color palette, which should be used accordingly.
In general, you want to stick to the same color for all links and the same color for all buttons and those should be two of the main three colors of your brand.
Mistake 4: Using photos that are too large.
You definitely want beautiful photography, but you also need that photography to load quickly and be clearly visible across devices. Oftentimes pictures from a professional photographer are very large file sizes. This slows down the site speed, which hurts the user experience and the search optimization.
Make sure you are taking the time to compress and resize the photos you receive from external sources, including stock, so your site speed stays as high as possible. (Video tutorial on how to do that is here.)
Mistake 5: Forgetting about SEO in design.
To that last point, you need to make sure the website design includes an SEO strategy. That’s something most “computer geniuses”, otherwise known as developers, never think to consider.
The same can also be true of “website designers” whose job is to make it really pretty, but don’t always do the copywriting and/or the development, both of which are contributing factors into SEO.
Most people think of SEO in terms of just keywords, but there are design considerations to take into account. Search engines take keywords into account, but they also look at overall traffic to a site and time spent on the page. If the design is hard to read, not cohesive, difficult to navigate or a variety of other issues with it, then people will bounce, which directly affects time on page and traffic.