Website Design: 10 Things to Avoid

In today’s world, there is one thing that we all have or we’ve thought about getting: a website.

It’s true, according to hostingfacts.com, there are 966 million registered websites out there, with roughly 3.26 BILLION internet users total in 2015!

With stats like that, if you have a business or are even just thinking about opening a business, a creating a website at some point is a must.

Website Design 101: Are You Driving Customers Away?

Think twice before using these website features.

Whether you build your own site or pay someone to do it, there are many features and trends you’ll want to avoid. It is vital that when you create a website, that the website is more than “pretty” – it must also be functional. You’ll want your website to load quickly, be easy to navigate, and most importantly – you want your users to really know what it is they’re supposed TO DO when they get to your website.

Do you want them to send you an email? Book a call? Call you? Throughout the process you need to remember two things: what’s the purpose of the website and what do you want people to do? Give visitors a clear call to action.

I took the trouble of rounding up my personal top 10 things that drive me crazy on a website – and when I talked to my friends and family, I realized I was not alone – many of them felt the same way I did! I’m not going to say that you can never use or do these things, but you’ll really want to think twice about the people that will be accessing and using your website.

Are you doing anything to discourage your call to action?

Multiple popups, bright colors, other tacky website design
Obnoxious colors, patterns, ads, and unending pop-ups distract readers and can drive customers away from your website.

10. Video Content

Don’t get me wrong here, I think video content on a site is great.

But if you solely rely on video to spread your message, you’re missing out on potential clients or customers because not every person out there enjoys watching videos to get their information.

Gif of woman saying no
No, no, no …. there’s got to be more to your message than video. There’s nothing wrong with incorporating video content, but if you solely rely on video to spread your message, you’re missing out on potential clients or customers.

I know many frustrated deaf or limited hearing people out there that prefer to read their information, or those that simply just comprehend text better by reading.

When you’re creating a website, if you’re going to put video content on, it’s also good to have a summary or article accompanying your video so that those that can’t or don’t have time to watch your video can still take away the information.

9. No contact information or About Page

Cowboy with text 'who are you'
If you aren’t sharing information about yourself and including a way for the customer to interact with you there’s little chance customers will convert.

One of the worst mistakes you can make while creating your website is not giving your intended users or client base a way to contact you. Another mistake that many make is not creating an About Page at all. In today’s world, simply having a product or service isn’t enough.

In order for people to want to do business with you, they want to know everything they can about you, which is where your About Page comes in.

You don’t have to give your whole life story when creating your website, but this is where you give a little information about yourself, your business, and where you can talk about your mission and how you can help impact the lives of others.

8. Cheesy content

Pizza image, with text: cheese, great on pizza, bad on your website
Cheesiness – great on pizza, terrible for your website. Try not to be totally cutesy. People do business with serious people who help customers solve their most urgent problem.

Cheesy content on the internet is everywhere, and it is so 1995. Please refrain from making your logo the new tile background for your website.

We will all thank you.

While you’re creating your website, we will also be thankful if you avoid Comic Book Sans and other cheesy fonts because friends don’t let friends use bad fonts (see #6)!

7. An unbearable amount of ads

If you’ve ever just wanted to look at photos of cute animals or funny cakes, you know that even though this is some of the best stuff out  there, it’s almost impossible to get to  see them.

Why?

Because many website creators that host these kind of images realize they’re getting a ton of traffic and so they try to monetize off of that kind of attention.  In the process, they become greedy and want more ads because they are led to think that ads equal money.

Which to a point is true, but if you continue to add so many ads to your website that it makes it difficult or undesirable to navigate, there will be no one left to click on your ads.

6. Hard to read text

Another mistake when creating your website is using text sizes or fonts that are hard to read.

For any body of regular copy online that you write when you’re creating your website, you’ll usually want to stick to text sized at 16 px because anything less is hard to read on some devices.

Using 12px font sizes is usually reserved for printing letters in today’s world.

5. Poor color-schemes

There is nothing worse than glancing at a website and practically catching a migraine because the website creator insisted on using banana yellow as the background throughout the site or crazy flashing text in bright colors. If you’re unsure about your color choices when you’re creating your website, ask a few friends that you can trust to be real with you.

If they have trouble using your site based on the color choices, you’ll know to make some changes before your website goes live.

4. Pop-ups

This is something that so many people have on their websites.

Before surfing the internet using your cell phone became extremely popular, pop-ups came onto the scene and people were mainly using them to ask people to subscribe to their newsletters, but some retailers started also using them to launch super-spammy ads, and in response, the pop-up blocker was born.

Somehow, despite the pop-up blockers, pop-ups have refused to die, but even worse than the average pop-up, there are…

3. Pop-ups that are hard to ‘x’ out of

Because internet surfing is so popular on mobile devices these days, there is nothing worse than a pop-up that you have a hard time getting rid of on the screen.

Sometimes, the ‘x’ will blend in with the background, giving the illusion that there is no way to get rid of the pop-up.

Eventually, the average user will simply surf away from your page, never to return. And sticking with the pattern…

2. Pop-ups that appear when you’re halfway down the page

If there is any pop-up you should actively run far away from as a website creator, it is the pop-up that interrupts your user while they’re actively engaged on your website and inadvertently makes people often lose their space on the page. It might be safe to say that when you’re creating your website to just forgo pop-ups altogether.

Text and optin form "no. I don't want to join your sticking email list"
Potential customers are smart. Don’t bombard people with email offers. Rather than just offering to email something provide value to your potential customers and they are more likely to join your list.

The real-life users of the internet everywhere will thank you! (Seriously, I’ve heard people ask business owners if their websites contained pop-ups before they went there at networking events!)

“Yes, I know that #4, #3, and #2, are all pop-ups. I also know that pop-ups drive traffic, provide special offers, and, if pop-ups weren’t effective, people would stop using them. The point is this: pop-ups, like any other website feature, need to be created with the end user in mind.”

“Any website feature can attract – or subtract – from how well you communicate with your customers. Understanding what annoys people will help you find solutions that make sense – for your business and your customers.” 

1. Music!

There your user is, 3 A.M. in the morning, cruising the internet because he or she can’t sleep.

They click on the link to your website that they found on Facebook because it looked interesting… and boom! MUSIC.

Text, music could be an unwelcome surprise to web visitors, image of guitar
Music and pop-up videos with sound are not cool, man. It can really turn potential customers off.

Your user jumps about 5 feet in the air because they forgot they had their speakers on full blast and they wake up the baby or spouse, and their night is ruined.

Extreme? It’s happened to me! And now I make sure to mute my speakers when I’m not using them, so chances are after you terrify your target market, they won’t be able to hear your music on your website anyway.

Of course, there are many website design features or mistakes out there that can drive users away from your website. When you’re creating your website, you can’t go wrong with a simple and clean website design that’s easy to use, read, and clearly states your mission.

Is there a website design feature that drives you crazy? Sound off in the comments!

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