13 annoying website design mistakes

Business success had always relied on happy and satisfied customers. They spend more money, buy more often and are more likely to recommend a business. That’s why companies do plenty of things to ensure their customers they care and think about them.  

But apparently, some of those companies didn’t really think about their customers when working on a website design. They are trying to make a great first impression with their brand new website but unwittingly cause a good deal of annoyance because they forgot the site should be useful first and then flashy, not the other way round.

Poor user experience caused by bad website design can lead to plenty of problems, including high page abandonment rate, low lead generation, poor sales and low search listing positions. So why some pages still look like taken straight from the 90’s?  

To give you a sense of what you should avoid when you think about your website design or how can you improve your existing site User Experience, here are 13 common website design mistakes that make a customer leave your page seconds after they landed on it.

Common website design mistakes:

There are many things on your webpage

In the earlier days of the internet,  the more things you had on your website, the better. Videos, animation, complicated fonts and lots of images were all the rage. Several years later, some sites still look like stuck in the 90’s, and that’s not a good thing.

According to Sweor, it takes only about 50 milliseconds (0.5 second) for a website user to make an opinion about the website they are visiting – and cluttered sites do not make a good first impression.

Cluttered website design not only looks terrible but it’s also pretty hard to use and take a long time to load. People don’t have time to wait until your page loads if they can’t find what they want quickly, they will click on the X button and never return.

Avoid using several pictures, complicated fonts, capslock or very bright colours on your page – it should look clean, straightforward and professional.

Autoplaying Media

A typical website user has several internet pages opened at once. What happens when there’s a blaring ad or video autoplay on one of those pages? The user first gets surprised and then annoyed by having to find that one page with the video and close – even worse if the autoloading video slows down the browser and you can’t quickly turn it off.

82% of consumers have closed a browser or exited a webpage because of an auto-playing video in the background.

You do get the users attention but not in a way you wanted – you want people to watch the video, not just close the entire page right? So don’t force them into watching your new product video. Make the video playback optional and make sure the other video player control buttons beside play (volume down, volume up, pause buttons) are clearly visible.  

Slow loading time

The flashier your website, the longer it takes to load. And the longer it takes to load, the longer the users have to wait. How many customers you think will wait to see all of your high-quality photo, videos and animations? Not much.

According to a KISSmetrics report, 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less, and 40% abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load.  Slow loading time is especially frustrating for mobile users, who are relying on a much slower cellular internet connection.

The biggest culprit of websites slow load time is often the number of animations and images – so delete them when they are not necessary and resize the rest. Take a look at your website plugins too if you are using those – too many of them can significantly slow down your site.

Poor website navigation

The day still has 24 hours, but customers are in a much bigger hurry than they were years ago. Which means, they don’t have time to search through your whole website just to find contact data or shipping prices, they want to get what they need quickly. Your website navigation can either help them find their way around the website or get them confused.  

To avoid the second option, stay away from generic labels (“Products”, “Services,” What do we do”), too many things in your navigation bar or menu bars in strange places (middle of your page is NOT a right place for a navigation menu). Making the navigation as clear and easy to use as possible should be your priority.   

Unreadable fonts

Were you tempted at some point of using a different font on your website or your email than the standard ones, hoping they would be more “eye-catching”? The problem with those fonts is that while they might look great on your computer, you have no way to guess how will they look like on your customers’ computer – it might turn out that instead of an elegant, stylised font your customer only sees a bunch of symbols!

It’s safer to stick with simpler and easier to read fonts – especially in the age when plenty of people read their emails on their smartphones. Don’t use more than two different fonts at once either – otherwise, your website or email looks like a mess.

Broken Links

Landing on a “404, page not found” error page because of a broken link once in a while is unavoidable, but if several of your website links are leading into a dead end, it can cause a good deal of annoyance and frustration for your customers. Many don’t even understand what the cause of the dead link is, they only see that they didn’t find the site the wanted, so they close the browser page entirely.

Regularly checking your website for broken links is crucial but have you thought about making a custom 404 page too?

Instead of dreary “Page not found” error site that gives your customers no informations and no other option besides turning back, you could show your customers a cleverly designed page that helps them find a way out by directing them to related or most popular posts or giving them a way to alert you to a broken link. Even better if you added a search box so your customers could quickly find the page they were looking for.

Missing Contact Info

In today’s world, you have worked hard to get customers to trust you. Why? If a customer trusts you, he’s more likely to order something from your store or recommend your service. So basically, trust is equal to conversion. But how can people trust you if they have no idea who’s behind the website?

According to Vendasta, half of your site visitors are interested in the “About Us” page, and 65% view the business’s contact information. If a customer can’t easily find the information about you, he can suspect you are a shady business, why else you would be hiding information about yourself?

Besides standard info (name, address, email, phone number, working hours) it’s a good practice to use images of your coworkers on your website (showing real people are working for you) and adding social media links so that your site visitors can check you out there too.

Complicated Sign-up Processes

Companies are often tempted to ask for as many information during signup as possible. Results? A customer who wanted to sign-up looks at the number of questions and decides he doesn’t have time to answer all of them.

Or you scared him with so many detailed questions, and he decided to turn back. Most marketers will agree that more signup fields = less submits. Long and complicated signup forms give customers too much time to be distracted and leave the page.

So when you design website your signup forms shouldn’t be longer than two or three fields.  It’s especially important when it comes to mobile website – using those is inconvenient already, why would they want to fill several fields?

Asking for Registration Too Soon

One of the most irritating things on the internet is asking people to sign up for the newsletter or to make an account before they had a chance to look around. If someone just opened the website to read an article or wants to browse the products,  it’s definitely not a right moment for nagging them for a sign-up – they might leave the page and never return.

It’s a much better idea first to let your customers browse around your website and build a relationship with you before asking them for a sign-up. Even better if you can show them an offer related to what they might be interested in.

Having fake reviews

Customers love reviews. More than 88% of online shoppers read reviews before making any purchase decision. 73% of consumers read up to six reviews before deciding what product to buy, what to do on the weekend, where to go on holidays and which company is worth their time is reading a bunch of reviews.

Companies also know that good reviews and recommendations can boost their sales more than anything – that’s why they sometimes use not so legal means to get a bunch of 5 stars review (such as paying people to write fake reviews or write them themselves).  

Easy and fast way to get new customers? No, customers nowadays are too smart to fall for fake five stars review. The only thing that can come from using fake reviews in your business is both legal and financial troubles. Most popular review websites are now armed with tools dedicated to detecting and labelling fake reviews and punishing the companies. On some pages companies caught on buying reviews or writing them themselves also get a visible banner informing all website users that this company was found and punished for deceptive practices.

The website isn’t optimised for mobile devices

Want more traffic on your website? Have a look at mobile stats – 52.2% of all worldwide online traffic was generated through mobile phones. Internet users now spend more than five hours a day on their mobile devices. And yet plenty of companies don’t have a mobile-friendly website!

If your site doesn’t work correctly on mobile devices (it loads too slow or doesn’t load at all, the text is too small or too big to read, customers need to pinch the screen to use the navigation menu and so on) mobile device users will immediately leave and most likely they won’t come back. They have so many options to choose from, why should they bother with your business when you don’t care about their needs?

Getting spam emails after commenting on your blog or ordering a product.

No one likes spam. So why do some companies use shady means to get as much email addresses as they can? If a customer gives you their email address and agrees to receive marketing emails from you, it’s a sign of trust. It shows the customer is interested in your company and might purchase from you in the future.

Increasing your email subscriptions by using emails you got from any other source besides your signup form (by taking emails from blog posts or purchase orders) not only won’t increase your sales but might get you in serious law trouble. In the age of GDPR law, you must have an explicit consent from your customer to send them marketing emails  – otherwise, your emails are landing in the spam inbox, and you are losing both money and the trust of your customers and the ISP.

Showing a different offer in your CTA button and your website.

There’s nothing more annoying than clicking on a CTA button with a great offer and seeing an entirely different offer on the website. Recently, I saw a popup of one of the more popular antivirus software companies offering a 2-month license for the new version of their tool for “free” – they even had a counter how many people took the offer!

Too bad that after I clicked on the CTA button, I learned that first I need to buy a two-year license and then I will get a bonus two months. Promising your customer one thing in the CTA button and then showing several caveats to the offer on your website will severely hurt your reputation, conversion rates and your sales – your visitors will think you are making fun of them.

Your website is often the first place where a website user learns about you and your business so making a great first impression is crucial. To avoid all of the mentioned mistakes you should consider the users (and potential customers) needs and make the website for them.

With a website design filled with useful content, you are sure to not only have customers stay on your page but also see them back!

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