JANUARY 24, 2016

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The Web Design No-Nos List: 5 Things Guaranteed to Drive Visitors Away, and What to Do Instead

Written by: Aleksandr Volodarsky

The design of your company’s website is extremely important.

Why? Well, when the last time you looked in a phonebook? We doubt it was anytime recently… if it was, then you’re definitely in the minority.

No, when most people search to see where they can pick up an Xbox One, where they can get a haircut, where they can get legal advice, or anything else, they open up a web browser and head to Google.

That’s why your website is so important. It’s where you’ll connect with people interested in what you do, and hopefully you’ll be able to convert them from website visitors to paying customers.

Here’s why the design of your website is important –according to Time, the average visitor only spends 15 seconds on a website before they back out if they can’t find what they’re looking for in that time. Poor web design will drive potential customers away, right over to the site of one of your competitors.

visit length

Here are 5 things that you absolutely must avoid when designing your website, accompanied by advice on what to do instead:

1. Walls of Text

On any page, huge walls of unbroken text are an immediate turnoff to visitors. Nothing is more likely to cause a visitor to back out and find another site. Even if you’re describing a product or service that’s especially complicated, find a way to separate that single explanation into separate and smaller, more easily digestible parts.

The Fix: Break the content on your website up into short paragraphs.

wall o text

2. Ignoring the Need for Mobile-Friendliness

Your website absolutely must be responsive, meaning that it automatically resizes to fit the screen it’s being viewed on. Americans spend more time browsing the internet on their mobile devices than they do their laptops and desktops – you can’t ignore this fact.

The Fix: If you don’t have much tech experience, hire a web developer to handle this task for you.

3. Too Many or Too Few Front Page Navigation Bar Options

Navigability is all-important. Remember, you have less time than it takes you to get dressed to provide visitors with what they’re searching for on your website, or they’ll back out.

Too few navigation bar options/pages separate from the homepage can be confusing, as when too much content is on one page it can be difficult to find. On the other end of the spectrum, too many navigation bar options can be confusing as well because it presents an overwhelming number of options.

The Fix: Feature your navigation bar prominently on the top of your homepage, and as a general rule, use no fewer than five and no more than ten buttons on the bar.

4. Too Much Flashy Media Content, to the Point of Making the Website Slow to Load

The need to differentiate your website from your competitor’s websites is an important need indeed. But some businesses go overboard with this and load their homepage up with audio, video, and/or fancy graphics, so much so that their website is slow to load on most computers.

We’re long past the age of dial-up – people aren’t willing to wait for a site to load anymore.

The Fix: It’s a company website, not a James Cameron production. People aren’t expecting to be dazzled by special effects – a simple, clean, elegant design and well-written, easily-digestible content will be enough to separate yourself from competitors, many of which likely don’t take their websites too seriously.

flashy nav

5. Auto-Play Audio and/or Video

While we’re on the subject of media, if you do use audio or video on your homepage, make sure that it doesn’t automatically start playing when a visitor loads your site. People hate that.

The Fix: Don’t use auto-play!

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