Technically speaking, it’s relatively easy these days to build a website. Simply arm yourself with a rudimentary website builder and you’re good to go. Better yet, learn the ropes with WordPress and there’s limitless scope for creativity and innovation.
Unfortunately, building an effective website that has the desired effect isn’t quite so simple. For one thing, web users these days are more sophisticated and difficult to please than ever before. In addition, the sheer number of websites doing the rounds online makes standing out from the crowd the ultimate challenge.
Making your voice heard above the noise means doing what it takes to create a smooth, slick and seamless experience for every visitor. It also means avoiding the most common website development mistakes at all costs – the following often proving most harmful of all:
Mistake Number 1: You’re Using a Complex Platform
If you’ve decided to go with the DIY approach to web development, you need to think carefully about the scope and limitations of your knowledge and skills. Unless you know how to get the best out of the world’s most complex development platforms, it’s wise to stick with something simpler.
One example of which being WordPress – an incredibly user-friendly content management system (CMS) that currently powers almost 75 million websites worldwide. The idea with WordPress being that however sophisticated or limited your skills are, you can use them to build, launch and run an outstanding website.
It’s also the perfect platform to get started with e-commerce, enabling online stores to be built and launched with next to no initial costs whatsoever.
Mistake Number 2: TMI (Too Much Information)
When a visitor arrives on a landing page, they’ve ended up where they are for a specific reason. They’ve something specific in mind – perhaps something they want to buy, something they want to find or something they want to learn more about. In any case, bombarding them with too much fragmented information is a sure-fire recipe for a catastrophic bounce-rate. The more ads, banners, popups, links and marketing materials you throw at them, the less likely they are to stick around.
This is why it is essential to keep things simple across all of your landing pages. Consider things from the perspective of the visitor – why did they end up on this page in the first place? If it was you, what would you expect to be presented with?
It’s your job to make it as quick and easy as possible for every visitor to your website to find exactly what it is they’re looking for. All with minimal distractions and the elimination of as many nuisance marketing messages as possible.
Mistake Number 3: Ignoring the 80/20 Rule
Is there any room on your website for pages of pure garbage? Of course not. Does this mean you should be investing equal amounts of time and effort in each and every page? Again, not at all.
If you’re not familiar with the 80/20 rule, it’s a basic methodology which assumes that 80% of the visitors you attract will be driven by just 20% of your website. In which case, it simply makes sense to invest more time and effort in the perfection of the pages that earn you the most business.
You’ll be able to see which pages are getting the job done better than others using Google Analytics, or equivalent analytical software. Once you’ve tracked down your best-performing pages, feel free to optimise the hell out of them.
Mistake Number 4: Forgetting Who Should be Prioritised
Again, this is where the importance of viewing things from the visitor’s perspective comes into the mix. Even if you’re developing a website for no purpose other than to make money, you’ll fail unless you make the visitor think it’s all about them.
If you have an ‘About Us’ section or a company profile page, it’s not to be interpreted as an opportunity to blow your own proverbial trumpet. Instead, you need to take every opportunity to reassure your customers that you’re in it for their benefit and will more or less stop at nothing to satisfy them.
Not to such an extent as to become contrived – more to ensure that they are constantly reminded that they are your priority.
Mistake Number 5: Poor Presentation
For several years now, the ‘less is more’ approach to web design has been the way to go. People just aren’t interested these days in overly complex websites, with convoluted navigation systems and too many optional extras.
Make no mistake about it – the first impression your website delivers at a glance will make all the difference. Unless it looks suitably simple, straightforward and streamlined, you can forget about it.
Presentation holds the key to grabbing the attention of new visitors, but this doesn’t mean going over the top with superfluous visuals and excessive accents.
Mistake Number 6: Leaving your Site to its Own Devices
Last but not least, each and every website designer (amateur and professional) has everything they need to optimise its performance, right there at their fingertips. Simply by firing up Google Analytics, you’ll be able to see which of your pages are working, which could stand to be improved and which simply aren’t up to scratch.
Both in terms of real-time activity and compiled reports, there’s literally all the information you could ask for. Hence, leaving your site to its own devices and simply assuming it’s getting the job done right is a fatal mistake.
Simply by getting into the habit of consulting Google Analytics on a regular basis (and conducting plenty of split testing), you’ve every chance of creating a sleek and well-optimised website that delivers the ultimate user experience.
What’s worth remembering is that alongside all the necessary technical skills and knowledge, there’s a good deal of common sense to successful web design. Particularly when it comes to designing and optimising your site from the perspective of the visitor – not based on your own preferences and opinions.
And again, the importance of using all analytical data at your disposal really cannot be overstated.
If looking for support with a web design or development project of any kind, Anchor Digital can help. Proudly supporting small and large businesses across Australia with a wide rage range of innovative SEO services, we know what it takes to propel websites to prominent positions in the SERP rankings. Call or email anytime for an obligation-free consultation with a member of the team.