It is well known that first impressions are very powerful. In the world of web design, studies have shown that a visitor can form an opinion of a company based off the websites design in as little as 50 milliseconds (1/20th of a second). This is precisely the reason it is so important for businesses to put their best foot forward when it comes to their image on the web. A company’s website is one place that can give great returns on the investment if it is nicely designed & properly built while a poorly designed website can have a negative impact that sends visitors looking elsewhere. Here are some of the common pitfalls of a poorly designed website.
It all starts with the design. The design is what makes the first impression and therefore it really is a vital component of a website. There are many design features that can make or break a website.
Color – Do the colors overwhelm or complement and enhance the content. Color choice is known to invoke emotional responses and therefore it is a fundamental component in appropriately representing and even identifying the business. A good question to ask is are the colors a logical choice for this business and do they integrate well with the companies brand identity. If you are unsure about it, take a stroll through Google and check out some of the articles on color theory. Here is a great piece on “Why Color Matters“.
Layout – Ever been to a website that has content here there and everywhere leading you to feel overwhelmed and racing towards the back button? The layout of the website is really important. It’s job is to effortlessly guide a visitor logically through the website while showcasing the most important information. A couple of vital structures to a well designed website layout is good, easily found navigation and sufficient amounts of white space.
There are many websites out there that make you feel like you have a better chance at winning the lottery than finding the page you need. Navigation is the core of every website. It is how you get past the home page and into the real meat of the content. That is precisely why the navigation bar of the website should be logically placed and easily spotted.
One component often lacking in a poorly designed website is white space. Defined simply, it is the areas of the page without print or images. White space increases the readability and sets off the design elements of the website. Too much crowding can overwhelm the design and the visitor. This is one of those instances in life where less can be more.
Content – Ultimately when it comes to a website, content is key. When content is poorly written, out of date and deficient of relevant keywords it will manifest itself with low search engine rankings and high bounce rates. Unique, compelling and up to date content will keep visitors engaged and appropriately placed keywords combined with fresh content can strengthen search engine rankings.
Poorly designed websites tend to rank low on search engines often because the creator was not proficient in current SEO practices. Although there is no way to guarantee a number one spot on Google, there are many standards that can be implemented into the structure of the website to increase SEO and produce higher levels of traffic.
Validate – Poor websites don’t validate. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) sets international standards for programming and mark up languages. These standards ensure that a website is cross browser compatible and accessible for all including those with disabilities. Today we view websites from many different types of devices and with many different browsers. Ensuring that a website is compliant will aid in proper rendering across devices & browsers so that all visitors are seeing the pages as they were meant to be seen.
Investing in a nicely designed well built website that avoids some of the common pitfalls can expand and promote a business and ultimately pays off with increased traffic and higher revenues.