Top 6 most common website mistakes we see

There's a litany of different mistakes businesses make when building their websites.

We see the same ones over and over.

These mistakes can hurt your website's ability to provide a clear user experience for your visitors, and ultimately may prevent visitors turning into customers.

Read on to find out about the 6 most common mistakes we see 👇️

Mistake #1: Unreadable text

Words are what sell your products or services to your customers.

If the words on your site are not readable - too small, too dark or light, too cropped or impeded by images - then your customers will have a hard time figuring out what you are offering.

You will quickly lose their attention.

Remember that your visitors will have different levels of eyesight ability, so you need to ensure your text is presented in a way that is easily legible to them.

Here's what to avoid:

  • Small text - generally, it is advisable to keep text size to at least 16 pixels. Any smaller and you risk users not being able to read it. Exceptions may be made for small decorative text elements, but these should be kept to an absolute minimum.
  • Wide paragraphs - paragraphs that flow across the whole width of the screen can be very difficult to read, particularly on wide screen devices. You should keep your paragraphs between 50 to 90 characters in width to make it easier for users to scan and read.
  • Dark or light text - depending on your website's background, if your text is overly dark or light, users may not be able to read it. Make sure the text sufficiently contrasts with your background.
Common website mistakes
Dark links on top of a dark background are hard to read
  • Text on top of busy images - if your images have a lot of movement or texture, overlayed text might be difficult to read. Instead, set the text to the side of the image, or put the text inside an element with an opaque contrasting background.

Mistake #2: No call to action

When a visitor lands on your page, you have a very small window of time to convince them to stick around and become a customer.

In just a few seconds, you need to convey to them:

  1. What you do - a very brief, succinct spiel about your products/services.
  2. Why they should trust you - adequate proof that you are a real business with real experience.
  3. How they can buy your products or services - a contact form, phone number or email address so that they can get in touch with you.

The last of these is known as a call to action (CTA): a direct request for the visitor to perform an action, with a tangible way of doing so.

Too often, we see the main part of a website - the first section a visitor sees when they arrive at your site - either crowded with meaningless information or missing a call to action entirely.

Common website mistakes
This website is missing a call to action

Mistake #3: Slow loading time

If you force your website visitors to wait around longer than a few seconds for the page to load, they are likely to leave and find something else to look at.

Your website might be loading slowly for a number of reasons.

  • Too many large images - try to compress your images first with a free image converter like TinyPNG or compressor.io
  • Lots of animations - Javascript animations look great, but too many can make for a slow page load on slower internet connections.
  • Poor web hosting - if you're not already, consider switching your website hosting to Webflow, which provides lightning fast hosting.
Is your website loading at a snail's pace? We can help you!

Mistake #4: Messy visual design

Your website needs to make it as easy as possible for visitors to complete the goal you need them to complete.

If you have a confusing mess of visual styles - fonts, colours, image styles, text sizing - then they will quickly become confused and leave the site.

There's a reason big companies stick to 1-2 fonts and a small palette of colours on their websites - it is visually cohesive and reduces the cognitive load on users when they're navigating the website.

If your website is all over the shop visually, it might be time to consolidate some of the fonts and colours on the site.

The best-electronics.ca website
There's way too much going on here (best-electronics-ca.com)

Mistake #5: Not SEO ready

If you want to attract visitors to your site from Google searches, you'll need to make sure your site has good Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) foundations.

Google is looking for these things when it indexes your website, and if you are lacking in some or all of these areas, you will struggle to rank highly when people search for keywords in your industry.

Here's a quick overview of some 'easy wins' that your website developer can implement to improve your website's on-page SEO:

  1. Alt text on your images - Alternative text provides textual context to non-textual elements on your website (images, for example). This helps users with visual or cognitive disabilities to understand the content of your website.
  2. Heading hierarchy - You should ensure that you have a unique H1 HTML tag at the top of your page, and that your content below this adheres to heading hierarchy (h1 to h6 descending in order of importance).
  3. Page speed - Google prioritises pages that are lightweight and load fast on desktop and mobile devices. Images are the real killer here - as mentioned above, ensure your images have been compressed to a small file size so that they can be easily loaded on slower internet connections.
  4. Page titles and meta descriptions - Each page on your website that you want Google to index should have both of these elements. Let's take a look at each of these separately. Firstly, a page title is a HTML element that tells search engines what the name of your page is. You should aim to keep this between 45-60 characters in length and include a keyword in it.
Page title for The Age website
Here's a page title

A meta description, on the other hand, is used to describe the contents of the page in a little more detail. You should aim to keep these between 150-250 characters in length and again, use keywords that your visitors will be looking for in relation to your page content.

Meta Description for The Age website
And here's a meta description
And there's plenty more! Need help getting your website SEO ready? Contact us for a free consultation.

Mistake #6: Confusing navigation

To give your visitors easy prompts for finding the content they need on your website, your most crucial asset is your navigation panel.

This traditionally sits at the top of each page and provides a set of links for the pages on your site.

By contrast, a problem we often see is overly large or confusing navigation menus stuffed with unnecessary pages and information.

This can not only stop your users from finding content on other pages, it can also make it hard for them to read the page they are currently viewing.

There are no hard and fast rules for how many links you should have in your nav, but try to limit it to as few as possible. An easy way to achieve this is to group similar links under dropdown menus to save space.

Simplecast website
Keep your navigation menu simple (simplecast.com)

Need help fixing your website?

Do any of the above mistakes look familiar? If so, we're here to help you fix your website.

Speak to our team to find out how we can help you.