What exactly is the purpose of your website?

Expanding your reach and gaining more revenue may be the first objectives that come to mind. And understandably, who wouldn’t want those for their local business? However, before achieving the vision of having a solid website that produces results, any business owner has the ultimate task of delivering something to their target visitors – a remarkable user experience that can only be achieved by a combination of smooth web design and development, relevant content and intelligent structure running in the background.

If done right, a website can have the power to lead your business to success by converting visitors to loyal clients. But if done wrong, it can weigh your business down and even cause you to lose existing and potential customers, which automatically means money out the door! Many local business owners can’t help but fall to some web design traps and mistakes, which can be caused by a number of reasons. Some of which may be budget constraints, limited time, lack of proper knowledge or hiring an inefficient web design agency.

So what are these web design slipups and is there a way to steer clear of them? Most importantly, is it really possible to have a seamless website that truly impresses your target audience? Read on to answer these greatly significant questions. We also included some great examples.

 

1.   Weak Above-The-Fold Content

Is your website interesting enough at first glance? Above the fold (ATF) is what your audience sees when they first land on your website. Meaning, what your viewer is presented to before they even scroll down on the homepage. Before, this phrase was used to describe the upper part of a newspaper which is visible when it is folded. But now, it is a major concept that web designers pay a great deal of attention to because of its impact to the overall success of a website.

A person’s attention span has been decreasing as years go by. In fact, the most recent study says it’s down to 8.25 seconds now. As for website viewing, Nielsen Group’s research states that most people only take about 10-20 seconds before they leave a website. This only means one thing for web designers – go big on your ATF content, or go home! Failing to capture the interest of your target audience quickly not only deprives you of the opportunity to properly introduce your brand. It also robs you of the chance to interact with potential clients.

How to Avoid this Mistake:
  • Focus on your major goals and ensure that your ATF helps you achieve each one. Whether it be monetary returns, new subscriptions, lead generation, or brand awareness, the content of your ATF should somehow relate to your objectives. For example, if one of your targets is to gain more social media followers, you need to have social media icons linked to each of your pages, placed on a noticeable spot within your ATF.
  • The ‘wow’ factor still applies up to now. So, your ATF should have a unique vibe that is worthy of someone’s attention. But we’re not saying all big, bright and popping colours. Just a combination of an attractive layout, catchy well-sized images and short and simple tag lines is guaranteed to work.
  • Put powerful calls-to-actions (CTAs) above the fold (but not too much!). We’ll discuss more about CTAs later.

GoodATFsample

Ellerfield Education’s website, designed by Morningstar Digital, is a perfect example of a well-designed above-the-fold. Not too much going on, but all the relevant information are included. A striking and expressive photo was used to portray diversity and happiness.

2.   Confusing Layout

A lot of business owners think that having a fancy website – with all the stunning and unique features – is everything. Well, it may be partly true if your goal is to simply gain attention and stand out. But that alone cannot guarantee long-term success. A good web design is more than shiny visuals and coolness. It’s finding the right mixture between stunning graphics, impressive features and good performance. Besides, loading up too many images and features can (and will) slow down any website, badly affecting user experience.

How to Avoid this Mistake:

  • As they say, less is more. Do not confuse your visitors by making things too complicated. Convey your message clearly and quickly with the use of simple yet remarkable layout.
  • Be consistent. Stick to same theme, logo, colour palettes, font faces and sizes all throughout.
  • Don’t make above the fold too crowded. Though having a relevant ATF is very important, it doesn’t mean that you need to put everything in there. Choose the most relevant pieces of information that your visitors should know and make those details easy to see and access.

SimpleLayout

Bluestone Locksmith’s site has a straightforward layout that could be navigated by anyone without much difficulty. The colour schemes are just right, the texts are not too long and the site is not stuffed with fancy features.

3.  Call-To-Action Blunders

Gone are the days when ‘Click Here’, ‘Buy Now’ and ‘Download’ buttons are enough to get website visitors to take action. As years went by, web designers and business owners alike have discovered more effective tricks and approaches in executing calls-to-action. Multiple consumer behaviour studies have also proven these techniques with solid outcomes and proven results. Done right, CTAs can become your gateways to success. Done wrong, they can turn into roadblocks, preventing your audience from taking a step further with your business.

Common drawbacks include hidden CTAs, ineffective button texts, too many CTAs on a landing page, overselling, vagueness… the list goes on!

How to Avoid this Mistake:
  • Make CTAs “pop” out by using contrasting colours. Do not let them get lost in the background or blend in with the other components of your landing page. Make sure they are eye-catching enough not to be overlooked by anyone.
  • Clarity is important. Be specific and use strong action words that will surely persuade people to take action. Examples of some effective action words are Buy, Order, Reserve, Join, Get Started, Volunteer, Take Advantage of, etc.
  • Instill a sense of urgency. Another way to encourage your audience to act fast is through using limited-time perks and offers. This makes them feel that they need to grab a great opportunity before time runs out.
  • Add a hover effect. Another way to make your viewer notice your CTAs is through adding an effect whenever the cursor hovers on it. A CTA button may change its colour or even change its text when hovered, making it more interactive.

sample of good cta

Dr. Robert Harris is a renowned author whose goal in his website is to keep it simple, elegant and relevant. Set to impress minimalists but will also keep others wanting for more, this web design work by Morningstar Digital used the perfect contrast of black and yellow as well as clear CTAs that pop out with a hover effect.

Web Design can sometimes be tricky and complicated. But with the right mindset, dedication and practicality, anyone can unlock the secret to creating a website that can bring significant and lasting success to you and your business.
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But you don’t really have to do it all by yourself. Partnering with someone adept in this particular area can actually save you from all the hassles of DIY web design. Our team at Morningstar Digital is happy to help you avoid the mentioned web design pitfalls and all other difficulties that may occur along the way.

Get in touch with us now and let’s talk about your project!