Studio Giraffe

6 common website mistakes to avoid

Digital, Graphic DesignTulika SudComment

If you are spending significant resources on sprucing up your old website or building a new one, you'll certainly want to make sure you avoid these mistakes to make the most of your investment.

1. Choosing the wrong platform

There are a multitude of options available for where and how to build your site, from Squarespace to Wordpress to a custom design and build. Before you get too invested in the details, first investigate the pros and cons of each of these options before committing to one. They all have their use cases but what works for someone else may not work for your business. It is essential to think this through before you go any further in the process, as you cannot simply transfer the site from one platform or system to another.

2. Uploading text as images

Too often, people have trouble implementing website content the way they'd like it to appear on their page, and so they simply upload an image containing all the text. This is bad practice for two reasons - firstly, you will lose out on the SEO benefits of having those words directly on the web page; and secondly, it will lead to issues with readability on different screen sizes as the images (and fonts within them) scale down in size. This applies to PDFs as well, which should be used only when you really need them (yes to an annual report, no to a menu!)

3. Overdoing design

Define a few different font sizes, colours and styles and apply them consistently so a user can instantly differentiate between headings, body text, links and buttons. Simpler is definitely better - avoid using too many different fonts and ensure the ones that you do use are easy to read on screen. Ensure adequate contrast between any text and the background behind it. You should be using design elements to define a hierarchy, not to simply decorate the page.

4. Website works great on desktop, but has issues on mobile

Responsiveness is a non-negotiable feature for websites today. Considering people are going to be looking at your site on many different devices with a range of screen sizes, you need to ensure they all have an equally good experience and don't abandon your site in frustration. Ensure your mobile site lets the user easily navigate to what they're likely to be looking for on the go.

For example, this restaurant website has a special menu bar that appears only on mobile with shortcuts to call the place, view directions on a map or check opening hours.

For example, this restaurant website has a special menu bar that appears only on mobile with shortcuts to call the place, view directions on a map or check opening hours.

5. Slow load times

Not only is the user likely to give up and leave the page if it doesn't load quickly, you will also be punished in search engine rankings. There are plenty of online tools to test your site speed and identify what you need to do to improve it. One key thing to remember is that all images should be optimised before upload - you don't need to upload a 3MB image when you intend to display it at only 100 pixels wide!

6. Not tracking website traffic

It is highly recommended that you install an analytics tool on your website to track users and their behaviour. This data is extremely valuable for multiple reasons - it can help you track popular content on your website and generate more of it; assist you in identifying where users are dropping off the site so you can improve those areas; and it enables you to measure the success of any marketing efforts that are driving traffic to the site.

Are you thinking of redesigning your website, but unsure where to begin? Get in touch now.