7 Mistakes to Avoid When Building Your Website

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A computer has a website featured that has some common design errors.

Written by Arianna Vernier, Arianna Vernier Design | www.ariannavernierdesign.com

I see a lot of common website mistakes when I’m performing a website audit for the female-owned businesses that I serve. When you’re designing your website, it may be more fun to focus on the font choices, design elements, and photos, but you also need to think about the functionality of your site. It’s crucial that you also focus on avoiding these website mistakes that I see so many online business owners make. Is your website easy to navigate? Are your offers clear and easy to find? Is it easy to tell who you serve? Is your website working for you, or against you? Take a look below to learn the top seven website mistakes to avoid when designing your site.

Website Mistake #1: The Design is overwhelming

When people visit your site, it should be very clear within the first 2 seconds what you have to offer and why it will better your clients’ lives. While eye-catching photos and other design elements are important, you want to leave enough white space so that the important areas such as your paid offers and free opt-ins really stand out. When in doubt, take the “less is more” approach.

Website Mistake #2: The Text is Hard to Read

Scripted fonts are all the rage right now, but it’s really important that they’re still easy to read. If your client has to squint their eyes or take extra time to read a line because the font is too difficult to read, they’re more than likely just going to skip reading it altogether.

Also, make sure that your body-copy is a very simple, clean-line font. Some of my favorites are Montserrat or Varela. Make sure it’s large enough and easy enough to read on mobile devices, as this is where most of the traffic to your website will come from.

Lastly, make sure that whatever color text you use is contrasted against its background. Choose a dark color against a white or light background, and use white text against dark backgrounds. Again, if it’s not easy to read, it will most likely be skipped over.

Website Mistake #3: Your Homepage Is Confusing and Hard to Navigate

I’d like to make an argument that your homepage is the most important page on your website. It’s crucial that your homepage clearly states what you offer, who you offer it to, and how it will help them. Your offers, as well as how you help serve others should be one of the first things people see when they land on your page. If they have to dig through three different pages before they find out how you can help them, then you’re losing money.

Also, keep in mind what searchable terms you want to show up for. Using consistent keywords is a vital step in someone being able to find your site when they need something you offer. This is called SEO, and it allows search engines to understand the content on your website.

The more valuable content that you include on your homepage, the better. Under your offers and how you help those you serve, you can include things like:

  • Your brand mission statement
  • A section about you and your business (make this brief, and direct them to your “About” page if they want to learn more).
  • Your freebie offer
  • Featured blog posts and/or products
  • 2-3 testimonials/reviews
  • An invitation to join your online community (Facebook or Instagram)

Website Mistake #4: Unclear Navigation

Visitors to your website need to easily find their way around. Most people visiting your website are visiting for a reason. Determine the goals your audience is trying to achieve — and then have a plan to get them there! Without a plan, your amazing website will end up just being a pretty page that doesn’t convert into sales. If the user can’t easily navigate their way to what they’re looking for, they will leave your website before finding it. Be sure to use a clearly structured and labeled navigation bar, with plenty of references throughout your website to the various pages visitors may like to explore.

Website Mistake #5: Mobile Design is an Afterthought

Forgetting to make your website mobile responsive is a mistake you can’t afford to make. With the majority of traffic coming from mobile devices, this is a CRUCIAL step. If your website isn’t mobile-optimized, you’re losing a TON of traffic.

One of the reasons I use Elementor to design websites is that you can toggle between the desktop, tablet, and mobile view very easily, and change the settings so it looks the best on each.

The mobile version of your website should go through the same amount of testing that a desktop version is given. Sometimes the design elements don’t work as well, or can make the page look busy. Elementor also allows you to hide or shrink design elements on mobile so that it’s not overwhelming.

Website Mistake #6: Not Including Reviews and/or Testimonials

Testimonials give people social proof that your products and/or services are reliable and worth the value. Think about the last time you bought something on Amazon – Did you check the reviews before you clicked “purchase”? You can ask previous clients/customers for testimonials, or if you’re new you can even offer a few free projects (no more than three!) in exchange for a testimonial and some feedback.

Website Mistake #7: The Site is About You and Not About the Person You’re Serving!

You are not the hero – your client is. You are simply the guide, who has a resource that will help the hero (your client) get where they need to go. Make sure your website focuses on how their life will be different after utilizing your products and/or services. This is even true for your about page – it should not be all about you, how you built the business, etc. It can (and should) have pieces of this sprinkled in, but should focus on the transformation your client will experience.

Bonus Tip: My Number One Tip for Designing Your Site

When in doubt, remember that less is more. Fewer but more carefully chosen words, fewer but more intentional images, and fewer but more robust pages will go a long way towards enhancing your client experience through your website.

Ready to build the site of your dreams in 3-5 days?! Check out my VIP Design Intensive service and see if it’s the right fit for you! I would be honored to help you throughout the process!

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