When someone visits a site or page that doesn’t quite look professional, what is causing them to rate the page poorly on the quality scale? Ironically, most of the factors that throw off the aesthetic appeal of a page are actually very easy mistakes to fix and avoid. Below we’ve listed the most common mistakes that often scare away visitors within the first few seconds:
1. Picking the Wrong Design Theme
First and foremost, you should be choosing a theme that works well with the niche your site will be occupying. For example, someone building an ecommerce website would want a theme that includes a shopping cart and payment processor features built-in. Luckily, if you’re using a CMS or blogging platform like WordPress, there are already tens of thousands of pre-designed themes and templates for you to choose from, and most of them are categorized by niche.
2. Small Text and Poor Legibility
Even if you have the right theme, oftentimes the text settings aren’t ideal out of the box, so you’ll need to make sure you’re using a proper font and font size within the editor. Overall, bigger letters are better because there will be a portion of your visitors that have trouble reading small text. The best way to avoid this mistake is to examine the text styles used by authoritative sites that publish your style of content. For example, a news site would want to mimic the text of other successful news sites.
3. Amateur Content Layout
Aside from the text, it’s also important that you focus on the layout and positioning of the on-page content. Avoid huge blocks of text and make sure the main content of the page is easily discernible from other written content on the sidebars and navigational panes. Bad content layout hurts more sites than people think. In many cases we see people buying backlinks and arranging great promotion campaigns only to have bad results because site content layout is not as it should be.
Also make sure that every page on your website looks as good as the homepage. Your passion for your company should be clear on your homepage, your services, your about us page, and even your contact forms. Don’t waste all of your time and money creating a dazzling homepage if the rest of your site is hard to navigate too and looks unprofessional when a visitor arrives there.
4. Lack of Graphics and Media Content
When you think of the classic amateur website, what is it that strikes you the most? Probably the lack of high definition imagery. If you want to grab the attention of modern web surfers, your site needs to be loaded with tons of media and graphics wherever possible. Pictures of people and objects, graphs, infographics, and any other visual perk will only serve to keep your visitors on the page longer and convince them that your site is something worth looking at.
5. Confusing or Erroneous Navigation
Another feature commonly seen on amateur websites is poor navigation, with sloppy and convoluted menu setups. Make it easy for people to find and access every page within a few clicks and you’ll be in the big leagues in terms of site navigation. Keep this in mind when designing e-commerce checkout too. No visitor should have to click more than three times to place an order, and the more steps you add, the more chance you have of losing their business.
6. Excessive White Space
Just as it’s not wise to have blocks or walls of text crowding the page, it also doesn’t make sense to bore your visitors with giant chunks of empty space. This is another telltale sign that you’re looking at amateur web design.
7. Awkward Colors
Finally, don’t try to re-invent the wheel – just stick to a white background with black text and you’ll probably achieve an optimal bounce rate when compared to other color combinations. People tend not to trust weirdly-colored sites, so it’s best to go the conventional route in this regard. Any professional web development company will tell you that restricting your color palette is the ideal solution. Focus on one or two main colors, ideally colors that are part of your brand, and put your color palette to work for you.
Mimicking Modern Success
You could use the above mistakes as a checklist while building your site., or you could just as easily analyze the appearance of other popular sites and mimic them. After all, if it isn’t broken, why fix it?