Common Mistakes in Web Design

Three Common Mistakes in Web Design – And Why the Consequences Matter

To quote Bill Gates, “If your business is not on the internet, then your business will be out of business.” In the digital age, a functioning website is all but mandatory. From the smallest start-up to the largest global conglomerate, everyone is investing time and money into establishing a digital presence. Websites sell – it’s that simple.

While the DIY approach works for start-ups which have an abundance of time and a lack of budget, it also leads to unwitting mistakes which are painfully obvious to the experienced eye and simply frustrating to the average viewer.

The problem is further compounded when businesses come to rely heavily on flawed websites. Security weaknesses, poor conversion rates and time-consuming fixes invariably cost the company in the form of time or money spent in patching up their all-too-valuable asset.

Without further ado, here are three common mistakes we see, and why they’re so important to avoid.


Aesthetics over performance

Understandably, a company building their own website will have a focus on its visual appeal. It’s undeniably important to prioritise the aesthetics of a website and to ensure it adheres to your brand identity, but placing looks on a pedestal above all else commonly leads to a sluggish site.

That’s bad news for just about everyone. Reports show that a shocking 25% of your visitors will give up on loading a page of your website if it takes longer than four seconds. 75% of mobile users commonly visit websites that are too slow to load and 44% of online shoppers tell their friends about bad experiences.

Because this moves into more technical and coding-related subjects, a fast-loading, responsive website demands an expert hand in its construction. Although two websites may look very similar, the loading time and up-time between the two can vary wildly depending on how much work and thought was put into the ‘back-end’.


Too simple or too complex

It’s no secret that simplicity is desirable in a website. The user experience is at its best when it is smooth, intuitive and requires minimal thought and needless navigation. Complexity is a mortal sin in web design – anyone can sense that on some level. Achieving functional simplicity is perhaps a subtler challenge.

DIY attempts often fall foul to one of the two. As the amateur progresses through their website project, it’s common for new requirements to be thought up and inserted ad-hoc. This jeopardises simplicity, leading to one of two results: an overly complex navigation and user experience, or the axing of key features in an effort to avoid ‘bloating’ the final product.

This can lead to a nightmare situation where the website may need to be scrapped and begun afresh. This is often the point where a web design agency is brought on-board – after the time is invested and the painful lessons learned!

It’s money well spent. An experienced designer will know how to manage complexity and understands how to challenge and query a client’s brief to distil the genuine core elements of a project.


Last-minute SEO

The dizzying and ever-evolving world of Search Engine Optimisation is just as prone to misinformation and unsatisfactory results as web design.

Google – the most widely used search engine in the world – regularly pushes updates that drastically alter SEO best practices. This leads to outdated, incorrect content being interpreted as current information by an individual attempting to do the work themselves.

The truth is, SEO is a legitimate and challenging discipline that is subject to change far more often than most other areas of marketing and sales. Not only will old methods not work, they are actively penalised by search engines that have since grown in intelligence and sophistication.

The problem gets worse when the website is finished first and SEO considered after. Many a website owner has paid a high price for making this mistake, with problems such as duplicate content, back-linking and site architecture coming out of the woodwork to pose problems.

Once again, the need to pay an expensive expert to fix it can become an unpleasant reality. This can cost more than investment from the start, as time is spent identifying issues before work begins on bringing the website towards what it should be.


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