Your website is a veritable tool for driving your digital marketing strategy. As more consumers gravitate towards online shopping and websites take the place of physical stores and offices, it has become imperative for businesses and organizations to ensure that their websites enhance their digital marketing efforts.
When audiences are redirected from social media sites to websites, their experience on the website determines their next step. It follows then that if potential customers land on web pages that are ineffective or unimpressive, they will not only take their business elsewhere, but will also have an unfavorable impression of the business or organization. A research showed that 94% of first impressions of websites were design-related. So, the onus lies on web owners to guarantee an effective design that aids a smooth interaction between visitors and the business.
Six web design mistakes
Whether you are a rookie designer who has designed their website with a content management system (CMS) like Wix, or you hired a professional to design one for you on WordPress, these mistakes are likely to occur. Therefore, it’s advisable for you to regularly review your website design and audit your web analytics to identify loopholes that may be weakening your digital marketing efforts.
Invisible communication tools
When new visitors (or returning viewers) land on your pages, they need to be able to communicate with your website or your business. If for some reason they are unable to do this, it defeats the purpose of your digital marketing.
But much more than their ability to communicate with you, is their ability to be able to provide avenues for others to communicate with your business too. For this reason, your website should have communication tools that enable visitors to lead others to you.
These four tools are important for your visitors to communicate with your business and include others in the communication too.
Live chat option on MediaOne
This tool is super effective to help visitors who are anxious to get the information they seek promptly. If you’re selling anything, you should have a live chat feature on your website. Think of this tool as a shopping attendant, helping visitors to get acquainted with your website and leading them to the location of their need promptly. With AI technology, you can also set up chatbots that get visitors exploring your website and making purchases while you’re fast asleep.
Here are things to note when using a live chat function:
- Make sure that the color theme is distinct from the main color of the page—this is to attract visitors to the function.
- Use legible fonts.
- Ensure that the live chat function has been optimized to answer a variety of questions, or you have staff on ground to respond to web visitors.
Some visitors will detest the idea of chatting with a bot or need a more detailed answer to a question. These types of visitors who contact you via your contact form are particularly important leads who should be able to interact with you without searching for the option for too long. These visitors are on your page with a strong intent to make a purchase or collaborate. A contact form will give you an opportunity to set up a business meeting with them to close the deal.
Here are things to note to make your contact form page as effective as possible:
- Make sure it’s visible somewhere in your header or footer—always add it to the menu.
- Make sure that the input fields are clearly visible. This isn’t the page to put a bunch of design features. Make it clean and simple.
- Don’t ask for too much information: the first name, email address and message fields are sufficient. You might decide to add a field for phone numbers but make it optional. Visitors can get spooked if you’re asking for too many details.
- Fill in details of other ways they can reach your business.
- Leave a nice note acknowledging receipt of the message. It’s great if you can add how soon the visitor can expect to get a response and what form it will take (email or phone call). This not only shows that you’re a serious organization, but it also gives the visitor something to look forward to—a great way to keep them thinking about your business instead of simply moving on to another.
There have been times when I have tried in vain to find things on a website. It’s frustrating and utterly disappointing when you have no way to find past posts or a product you’re browsing for. This is why it’s important to always put a search field on your website. You have a short time before the visitor decides that they’re not going to waste any more time searching for something on your website, when they can go elsewhere. Always ensure that your search function is strategically placed—preferably in the header.
But placing a search button isn’t enough. You must make sure that it actually works. So, categorize your products and posts well, so that a simple query can elicit every relevant response in no time.
Don’t overlook this, especially not now when most shopping decisions are digitally facilitated. As I said earlier, the importance of communication is much more than satisfying your visitors, you should also think about the many visitors they can bring through sharing tools like social media, email and instant messaging buttons.
Place these icons at the end of your posts, in your header or footer. People often place these icons on the side of the web page, but I find that this adds to clutter on the page. Headers and footers exist for a reason, use them well. Don’t forget to embed your social media page links in the buttons—check to ensure that they connect to the places where they should.
Here are a couple of reasons why these buttons are so important:
- Your help visitors personalize how they share information from your website.
- It solidifies your authenticity and builds your social media followership. Visitors can immediately see your social media followership and follow you right from your website.
Social media is a good way for businesses and organizations to keep their followers abreast of their activities, so placing these icons conspicuously on your website will make sure that you not only enable visitors to share your page links, but also have them connected to your business.
I find most pop-ups irritating—like pesky flies buzzing around the ears. However, I have also seen interesting pop-ups that persuaded me to respond to the call to action (CTA) with gusto.
So, what makes one pop-up irritating and the other interesting?
Bombarding visitors with pop-ups upon landing on your website is a sure way to make them ineffective and get them dismissed. If you must use pop-ups, ensure that they appear after a considerable time in which your visitors have gotten comfortable on your website.
If you wouldn’t bring tea to the door to welcome a guest, then please don’t set pop-ups to appear as soon as visitors land on your page. Let them get comfortable on your page first, before you present pop-up ads. And if you’re worried about them leaving before the pop-up appears, then you might as well forget about setting pop-ups because they won’t respond to them anyway. Your web content should be interesting enough to keep them comfortable before you serve your ad.
One of the things that make a good pop-up is a good design. How well are you designing your pop-ups? Are you using compelling images and attractive colors? Pop-ups take the viewer by surprise, and it’s important to manage that suddenness with an appealing image. Don’t just muddle up images, icons, and fonts; be as deliberate with your pop-up ad as you are with your web design. Let the viewer see the thoughtfulness behind it.
Right pop-up placement
The key to placing your pop-up appropriately is keeping these three questions in mind:
- Has the reader spent sufficient time to be comfortable on the website?
- How can I place this pop-up without interfering too much with the visitor’s experience?
- How easy have I made it for them to respond to it?
Bearing these in mind will guide you on the right placement of your pop-up ads. The best placements are not too soon, too conspicuous, and incredibly easy to respond to.
Large font sizes, too many fonts, illegible fonts. These are just a few of the things that turn web site visitors off. Avoid busy designs and keep it as simple as possible, especially if your website is designed for your business. What you want to do is inspire confidence in your visitors; they won’t get that feeling if your website is full of several images, wrong fonts, and font sizes. As much as possible, stick with the serif type style (a study of type classifications will guide you in this). A good number of these fonts are legible and can still give your website that professional look.
Serif type style sourced from Fonts.com
Ever seen a web design with dull colors and backgrounds? A color theme so dull and uninspiring that you promptly close the tab? If you felt displeased and confused by it, that’s likely the same way that visitors to your website will feel, if it isn’t bright and inspiring. Colors are a fantastic way to pull audiences in, and a skilled web designer can make colors work effectively to enhance your brand on your website.
What colors are predominant on your website, and do they suit your industry? You will hardly find a skincare brand using dull colors; the colors themselves are a tool to inspire potential customers. Colors and images usually create the first impressions, so your color themes should reflect your brand essence—the spirit of your business.
Ads and banners
Yes, you should generate money, but don’t do it at the expense of your brand. Why should visitors be bombarded with ads before they get a chance to interact with your business? Consider restricting ad placements to certain pages. But if you must place ads on your pages, make sure that they are sparse, related to your industry, and do not interfere with your visitor’s experience on your website.
Here’s a checklist of things to note to avoid a busy website design:
- Fonts (for headers and footers) should not be too large.
- Fonts for paragraphs should be legible, remember the design is about the visitors.
- Don’t have too many banner ads anywhere on your website.
- Ensure that the color theme you’ve chosen correlates with your brand and industry.
- Avoid distracting, flashing ads.
Unattractive images and videos
Pictures are a good way to draw attention to your website. But just as they are powerful to attract audiences, they can also be your website’s problem. Slow loading images, blurry images (especially product images), and images with poor resolution can discourage visitors from remaining longer on your website.
Make sure that the images on your website are clear, appealing, and relevant to the content you’re pairing them with. People are more attracted to attractive websites than boring, uninteresting ones.
Videos have a higher engagement rate. Your website should have a video that shows visitors how your product works, what you do and what your business is about.
Mobile view not optimized
More internet users are doing so via mobile devices like phones, so it’s important for your website to be optimized in their favor. More emphasis is often placed on the desktop design to the detriment of the mobile design. Yet, lead generation will scarcely transform to conversion if your website’s user experience on mobile is frustrating or unsatisfactory.
Have you checked the placement of icons, menu buttons, social tools, and optimized your pages? Does the layout make it easy for visitors to navigate the pages and take the necessary steps that lead to conversions?
Faulty Content placement
Web owners are often ignorant of content placement and how it affects the overall productivity of their brand and marketing strategy. So here, I’m going to discuss a couple of things about content placement and how they influence your website.
Put the subscribe form in a conspicuous place
When visitors land on your pages, they don’t necessarily come with the intent to follow your page. But you can change that with two things: (i) your content, and (ii) a gentle nudge from you leading them in that direction.
Don’t set your subscribe form as a pop-up, a lot of times it’s counterproductive. Like pop up ads, subscribe forms can be a bother, if you place them inappropriately. Visitors don’t want to be harassed into subscribing to your blog or following your posts, they want to feel in control of this decision.
So, here’s what you can do: place them right after a well-written post, beside a post, or have them pop-up halfway into or towards the end of a post.
You should also write a good copy for it, much like the pop-up. Something catchy, fun, and yet serious; letting them know that they’re set to enjoy good articles or information from you—without being spammed.
The subscribe form helps you to keep in touch with leads, as they may not decide on purchasing your product when they visit your website, for any number of reasons. Therefore, it’s important for you to follow-up through email marketing, to reinforce what they’ve seen on your website.
Show reviews on the front page too
Show visitors the glowing praises of existing customers—along with a happy picture. These testimonies will further convince them to purchase your products and refer others too.
Show models using your product on the front page, not just on the store. What this does is that it situates the product in the visitor’s mind, as they picture themselves using the products too.
These six design mistakes can affect your digital marketing in more ways than you can imagine. The key to keeping visitors on your website is making a good first impression and providing valuable content. But to get visitors to enjoy the latter, you often have to take care of the former.
Take note of these common mistakes and watch your digital marketing produce great results.
Nikola Baldikov is a Digital Marketing Manager at Brosix, specializing in SAAS marketing, SEO, and outreach strategies. Besides his passion for digital marketing, he is an avid fan of football and loves to dance. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter at @baldikovn.