With the latest surges in mobile browsing and other web design trends taking over, the internet has seen millions of websites undergo some serious makeovers. But aside from this, it has also led to a lot of poor web design choices, resulting in a disengagement between some brands and their customers. Between ugly home pages, weak content, poor navigation, and countless others, there are a number of things that the average website could improve on. Check out the top 10 most common web design mistakes and how to keep them from hurting your site’s overall engagement.

1. Failing to Use Responsive Design

Nowadays, over 40% of modern searches are conducted via smartphone or tablet, and having a website that is properly responsive to these devices is crucially important for business. But strangely enough, recent findings have shown that less than 17% of the world’s 876 million websites have been created with responsive web design. In fact, Google’s newly introduced search engine update now penalizes websites that aren’t responsive friendly. If your site isn’t a user responsive design, make the switch before it’s too late.

2. Relying On a Free Website Builder

A lot of companies will offer a free drag-and-drop website builder. They claim to allow their users the ability to launch a new website in just minutes. The problem with this is that with each new design facet you choose to add, dozens of lines to the back-end code, causing your site to load much slower than usual. Over time, this can cause serious performance issues and countless errors. If there are budget restrictions on your end, consider purchasing a premium theme that already has the look and feel of your ideal website. Upwork, for instance, has thousands of talented developers that can lightly and cost-effectively customize a website theme for you.

3. Forgetting About Actual Design Elements

A crucial mistake that some businesses make involves either going completely overboard or flat-out ignoring the design elements of their website. Too much customization can lead to too much code for the site to load at once, as well as distract the reader from the actual content. But a minimalist approach can be just as ineffective, as it will be a turn off to most users. The key to a good website: finding the right balance in between, all while leading the consumer’s eye towards making a favorable action (ex: tuning in, requesting more information, making a purchase, etc.)

4. Poor Use of Headers, Sidebars, and Footers

There is a false assumption that heading areas, footers, and sidebars are designed exclusively for advertisements. There’s nothing wrong with having an ad or two on your page, but when webpages display a high number of ads and banners and not as much content, it’s a big red flag, as this space could be much more efficiently utilized for additional navigation. Remember, proper balance is key to successful web design.

5. Not Capturing Customer Information

It’s important to ensure investments with getting customer traffic to your site, but it’s even more important to capture a lead. The odds of that missed customer returning on their own will never be in your favor, which will lead to even more revenue spent in retargeting campaigns or other strategies to win back the customer. Some corporations on average spend millions of dollars per year all because they have not figured out ways to successfully capture the customer’s information. This problem can be largely eliminated by simply creating a homepage opt-in offer that will appeal to their visitors, and can be something as simple as a discount, or even free shipping on retail sales.

6. Lacking Top-Quality Content Throughout

When it comes to search engines, the number one ranking criteria involves the quality of the content displayed on websites. Yet, some domain owners spend more time and money on how the site looks and treat the physical content almost as an afterthought. In order to determine if your content is high enough in quality, the best place to find out is to check your bounce and click through rates for visitors. This will easily show you if people are viewing multiple pages and taking actions on-site or leaving quickly. In this case, balance between quality of style and content for your website is crucial.

7. Making Core Information Hard to Find

Another common website design mistake consists of making core information hard to locate on your site. For instance, your homepage should be designed to have menu navigation links to things such as store hours, return policies, directions, FAQs, shipping details, and even a search bar as well as sub-menu navigation links to things such as store hours, blogs, and product descriptions. When creating the navigational layout for a website, take into account the key information that your customers will need to do business with you, and revolve your website navigation around it while making it as easy and efficient as possible for the customer to find out whatever information they might need to know about you.

8. Not Keeping a Website Updated

The digital era has brought about some spectacular new technological advances, as well as more cybersecurity risks. This makes keeping themes and plugins updated vital in this day and age, as it ensures that every possible entry point is protected on your domain. The good news is that wordpress and most other modern web developing programs can auto-update as long as it’s configured to do so. As for additional website security, installing real-time protection such as Wordfence or iThemes Security. On top of this, it’s vital to ensure that users with administrative access use secure passwords and change them periodically.

9. Dealing with Broken & Poorly Optimized Pages

As a web developing company, we understand that there’s nothing worse than clicking on a link and seeing the words “Page Not Found”. In some cases, the page may still exist but might not display properly due to a conflict with the site or a plugin malfunction. Some sites even lose potential conversions by neglecting product information and lacking content, leaving huge negative impacts on business. So, how can these issues be avoided? The key is to always have eyes on your website, whether it’s an engineer, QA specialist, or even through direct feedback from your customers. Whatever your method for counteracting these issues may be, make sure that it’s a hands-on approach, as diligent bug reporting and other issues require close monitoring.

10. Not Paying Attention to Analytics

Lastly, one of the most critical mistakes one could make in web design is not properly setting up the site’s analytics through Google Webmaster Tools or other similar programs, or even not using the site analytics once they have been installed. As a web design company, the only way to measure a site’s success is to dig into the data and gathering information regarding the flow of traffic of your site as well as visitor navigation. The proper use of analytics enables you to quickly leverage tools while identifying poorly performing pages, analyzing important conversion flows, and even test banners and promotions for figuring out the weakest links. The best websites in the modern world are constantly testing, measuring, and optimizing data for the best possible results, and are constantly setting the standard on how cold hard data can be utilized to its’ maximum potential in the world of web design.

We live in a day and age where information is more accessible than ever before, which in a sense, also creates false information that is easily accessible for the user. That’s why it’s important to check your web facts through reliable sources such as Website Magazine, and even double and triple check your web facts before pursuing them. With the web technology that exists today, the possibilities are endless with how efficiently you can navigate traffic through your site as well as providing information for your customers.