Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen a major uptick in the number of people that browse the internet on their mobile devices, this has led to a number of cool new design elements for the millions of websites out there. But on the flip side, it has also let to a number of poor web design elements that hampers the user experience of their websites. From weak home pages, to poor content, hard to find navigation menus, and coding errors. There are so many things the average webmaster can do to improve upon his/her website.
Below is seven commonly made mistakes by your average web designer; information that should help you avoid the most common pitfalls in web development.
1. Now Having a Responsive Design
Since, the majority of searches conducted on Google are made via a smartphone or tablet, it makes good business sense to design a website that will properly show on these devices. However, there are still a considerable number of websites on the internet that still are not responsible, despite all the push, by all the major search engines to get webmasters to do so.
If you’re a new site owner, then you don’t want to fall into this hole. Virtually all the search engines today, penalise websites for not being mobile ready, so be sure to go with a site theme that is responsible.
2. Site Pages Are Too Busy
It’s smart to have your most important business information visible on your web pages. This is because, for the vast majority of surfers, if they’re unable to figure out what a site is about within a couple of seconds, they will leave. While such information is important, it does leave many webmasters scrambling to put as much data on their site pages as possible (before the fold). Not only is it not as important to stack your page with as much information as possible, but having too much info on a page can be damaging. A website with lots of images, text and many other things, will take much longer to load. Most surfers are impatient, so they may end up leaving. For this reason, you’ll want to avoid this common design pitfall.
3. Poor Utilisation of Sidebars, Headers and Footers
A lot of people think the sidebar, footer and heading areas should be reserved exclusively for advertisement. However, having too much ads on a page can be off putting to most surfers, especially when there’s not a lot of information on the page to accompany it. These areas of the page can be much better used for navigation and other things that can enhance the visitor’s experience.
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t place any advertisements on your page, or that it’s wrong to have an ad in the sidebar or footer area of the page. It only means that you should consider balance, ensuring there’s enough quality to accompany any ads you may want to place on your site.
4. Site Lacks Quality Content
The most important ranking criteria of all the major search engines, is the quality of the content in the page you wish to rank. Despite this truth, many site owners will spend a considerable amount of money getting their site looking as pretty as possible, while not giving as much time and attention to the actual content of the site. The ramifications of this are quite expansive, as it adversely affects, not just the sites ranking in the search engines, but the experience of the visitors.
To determine whether or not your site has quality content on it, you’ll have to look at your sites metrics. Click through rates and bounce rates are the two main metrics that will tell you whether or not you need to improve things. If people are going to multiple pages on your site, and clicking on links on your pages, that’s usually a positive sign.
When creating your site, you want to give as much attention to its content as its design.
5. Hidden Navigation Menus
If your site has navigation problems, it can have a detrimental effect on the popularity of your site. People want to be able to access any and every area of your website within an instant, and if they can’t, they’ll simply leave and find a website where that is made possible. Hiding your navigation menu, by blending it into the design, is a mistake commonly made by webmaster. Have you ever visited a site where you were unable to find the menu or where to search for content? It can be very frustrating. Make sure the navigation system on your site is visible, easy to find, and easy to use.
6. No Content Information
Lack of business contact information is another mistake commonly made by webmasters. This is very important, because visitors want to be able to contact you, sometimes before and sometimes after they’ve made a choice to purchase a product or service from you. Thus, it’s important that you strategically position your contact information on your site. You don’t want the visitor to have to search for your contact information. It should be easily visible wherever it’s located on the site. A simple Contact Us page will usually suffice, for most people. Just remember to include a link to it, at the top and bottom of each page.
7. Not Keeping the Site Up-To-Date
While, there has been so many new technological goodies, brought about, by this new digital age, this has unfortunately, opened up the door for increased cybersecurity issues. This is why it’s important your plugins are kept up-to-date. This will ensure that these hackers have no access point into your domain.
The good thing is that WordPress is always updating their content management system, and have also implemented an auto update feature into it. So webmasters can have their website updated with very little input from themselves.
Other things webmasters can do to secure their sites by adding real-time protection solutions like Wordfence, or by adding a CAPTCHA system to their password, to prevent automated tools. Users can also consider periodically changing their passwords, especially those users with administrative access.
Guide to optimise your Website
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About the Author
Uchenna Ani-Okoye is a former IT Manager who now runs his own computer support website where he writes extensively on computer related issues and topics.