Understanding good design elements can seem like seeking out the Holy Grail at times.
Sure, you know you’re supposed to include call to action (CTA) buttons and create a balance of positive and negative space on the page, but there are so many other things that can go wrong.
Even design majors disagree on some of the elements of good and bad web design. This can make it tricky to find problems in your own web design. However, knowing which elements to focus on can help tremendously and go a long way toward helping you correct problem areas.
Mistake #1: The Focal Point of Your Page Is Unclear
One big mistake a lot of websites make is trying to offer too many choices on the landing page. If the site visitor can’t find the focal point and be processed through your sales or conversion funnel easily, then you’re probably going to lose him or her. Fifty-five percent of those who visit your site will only spend 15 seconds or so there. That means you need to capture them in mere seconds and get them to stay.
Image via Yahoo.com
Yahoo.com is a website that has way too much going on. Where is the visitor supposed to go when viewing this page? Unless you know exactly what you’re looking for, the choices are a bit overwhelming.
Correct this problem on your own site by deciding on a single focal point. You can still have other links and navigation, but the reader’s eye should be drawn to your focus.
Related Article: Design It Yourself: Website Platforms To Make You Shine
Mistake #2: Not Enough Whitespace
Some designers feel the need to fill in every bit of empty space, but good designers know empty space is visually pleasing. Using white space can increase reader comprehension by nearly 20 percent.
There are other advantages to utilizing a bit more white space in your design:
- A less-cluttered look makes the text more legible, for one.
- More whitespace also slows down the site visitor and draws attention to the CTAs.
Image via Mortimer Lumber
Oh my, Mortimer Lumber. I’m sure you think the things on this page are all important, but imagine how much more effective this page would be with less going on. Move the navigation to the top, side or bottom, and highlight the special financing or different specials.
You can fix a page without enough white space by removing some of the elements that are cluttering your page. Often, these items can be placed into categories or into the navigation so the site visitor focuses only on what is truly important.
Related Article: Create to Convert: 8 Steps to Optimize a Perfect Landing Page
Mistake #3: The Lights Are On but Nobody’s Home
Some people go to the opposite extreme as Mortimer Lumber and try to add too much white space. There has to be something to entice the reader to stay on your page, after all. Lack of content not only kills the visitor’s desire to stay on your page, but it also can harm your Google search engine rank.
Image via Thorn Ford Dental Laboratory LLC
I’m not sure if Thorn Ford Dental Laboratory LLC is in the process of adding additional info to its site or it thinks this page looks good. It is simply devoid of any content and is strictly navigational. I want to know what I’m supposed to do when I get on this page. The site was used as an example on Web Pages that Suck in 2014, and nothing seems to have changed, so if Thorn Ford has plans, they are slow-moving.
Even though studies show cutting the text on a page can increase a site’s usability by as much as 58 percent, you do still need to leave some content on your page.
If you have an issue like this on your website, you can do a couple of things:
- You could add something in that empty space to draw the reader’s eye and funnel her toward your ultimate conversion goal. For example, you might add info about a free book to download simply by signing up for a mailing list.
- You could also start a blog that covers topics in your niche and insert the most recent post in that space along with a link to past posts. In the case of Thorn Ford Dental Laboratory, they might share news on the latest developments in the science of dentistry.
Other Things to Watch
There are many other things that can make your website less than stellar. Sites such as Grade My Website offer a free analysis that can help you see what issues your site houses with an impartial eye. Sometimes you also just have to utilize a little common sense and ask yourself what you’d think of your site if you were visiting it for the first time.
Don’t hesitate to get feedback from others. Even though family and friends might not be design experts, they know if they want to stay on a website when they reach it, and they know whether or not that site is easy to navigate.