Top 5 Web Design Fails And How to Avoid Them

Not all websites are created equal. There are the ones making millions a day, and the ones not even making back their hosting fee. In this post, we pose the question: If you evenly divided a million people between two websites, who are both selling the exact same product, what would make the difference between winning and losing?
Top 5 Web Design Fails And How to Avoid Them
Instead of touting the ‘best practices’, this post will address what you absolutely need to avoid when creating a website, especially a site offering a product or service (that is, a site focused on stacking enough greens to swim in). Each point will get more advanced as we go.

1 – Seriously, avoid plugins and upfront favors

The simple fact is that when people are looking for something, they want the path of least resistance. If you’re on your lunch break, you will naturally prioritize getting food at the place with a smaller line. If you’re driving to work, you will choose the fastest route.
Top 5 Web Design Fails And How to Avoid Them
For those very reasons, if you had to pick between installing a bunch of random plugins, downloading some software and updating to the latest Flash version or, simply use the website straight away, without having to do a
thing, you would pick the easier option. It’s how the human brain works actually: in an extremely efficient (and lazy) way.
The bottom line is give before you take. If someone has just landed on your site, and you’ve given them no value at all, yet ask them to install a bunch of stuff, you’re going to scare them off. Not to mention its plain rude.

2 – Stop putting off a mobile site

Whether you’re a web developer or business owner reading this, you need to realize you’re not your customer. Just because you do your work off a desktop computer, doesn’t mean you can assume your customers do as well. You should actually assume the opposite. A simple rule to live by with the rise in smartphones and tablets is the following: desktop is for production, mobile is for leisure.
What this means is that the average consumer is favoring the more portable, more affordable, and easier to use mobile devices). Fact. Google it. This means that if you’re sporting a website that doesn’t have specific layouts for mobile and tablet devices, you’re literally missing out on so much potential.
See for yourself. Add some free analytics to your site, like Google Analytics and SumoMe Heatmaps, and see: 

yle=”color: #e69138;”>a) What percentage of your visitors are non-desktop (mobile) visitors; and

b) if the mobile visitors are even interacting with your site. In simple, don’t ignore what will make your business more money.

3 – Tailor your target demographic

One of the biggest web design mistakes is when sites are built in a customer-agnostic way. This is when an entire website is built with no consideration for the people who will actually use it. Unfortunately, most websites are this way. These websites are not built with anyone in mind, they’re simply built for “the everyday user”, (who cares more about funny cat videos than your website).
You see, when your website tries to be some giant fishnet that “targets every one of all ages, shapes, colors and sizes”, you end up targeting no-one, because it’s too broad for anyone to actually relate to. The thinking behind this approach is yet another completely false hope. It’s the same hope the lottery companies want you to believe. “The more tickets you buy, the better your odds of making a million are”. Come on people! Though it’s technically true, the odds are so perplexingly against you, that in the reality, it’s a load of b.s.
When creating a website, know your user. Know your user like they’re your best friend. Seriously, think about it. Who buys your product? Got a picture in your head? Great! Now write down everything about them. What their age is, where they live, what their income is. Write down how skilled they are with technology. Write down their pet-peeves. And lastly, don’t be robot. When you’re writing the content for your website, be a human being, and act as if you’re literally speaking directly to your user.

4 – Sell benefits, not cool aid

Don’t worry, you’re not about to get a lecture on Simon Sinek’s “People buy why you do it, not what you do. What you will get, is an important sales lesson that might just be your ‘ah-ha’ moment.
Too many riders of the trend wave try to make their website the flashy new kid on the block. Blinged out golden grills might be cool if you’re Lil Jon (and famous), but for most people, they’re nothing more than pointless. It’s the same idea that far too many web designers are fixated on. Being cool, being flashy, and being clever. Everyone wants the shiny watch, the flashy sports car, the Gucci handbag. People are driven by ego. They like having nicer things than others, they like being complimented.
Web designers and owners have this need too. They want their website to have every scrolling effect in the book, crazy hover effects, and animations wherever there’s room for them. In addition, these very websites are selling the features of what they’re promoting, not the benefits. Want an example? Android and iOS. Android dominates more than 80% of the market, with iOS taking up only 5-10%, tops. Yet, iOS manages to generate more revenue than Android. How can a tiny 5-10% portion of the market make more revenue than the majority 80%? Well, there are many reasons. But one of the biggest is that Apple focus on the benefits, not the features.
When you’re being sold on Android, you hear things like “5GB Ram! 2GHz Dragon Processor! “Double Retina Resolution!”. They talk about the specs (the features). When you’re being sold on Apple, you hear things like “Capture beautiful moments with the new iSight camera. Talk to your loved ones with FaceTime. Enjoy software that works seamlessly with all your other devices”. Apple is selling you happiness. They’re selling you an experience. They’re telling you why you’ll benefit from their product. They’re not just selling you what’s cool.

5 – Be smarter with call-to-actions

By far one of the biggest mistakes websites are making these days is littering their sites with dumb CTA’s (call to actions). Though we all wish it was as easy as putting a product online and adding a buy now button, and seeing the orders pile in, it just doesn’t work like that. Wishful thinking doesn’t make a website successfu
In addition to ALL of the above points, if you don’t get this one right, you can consider your website the equivalent of building a jet without an on switch. Sure, it has the potential to break the speed of sound, but if it can’t even take off, then what’s the point? Websites that randomly place CTA’s on their site with poor use of color, contrast, relevance, timing and descriptive copy are simply working against themselves. No matter how good your product is, if you can’t sell it, you can’t achieve success.
To really make people buy your product, click your signup buttons and take action, you have to lead them. Instead of making your CTA buttons blend in with the rest of the content, make them stand out using contrast. If you have a black A4 sheet of paper, and stick a bright pink square on it that takes up only 1% of the space, you’ll notice it. Even though there’s 99% more black than there is pink, what stands out to you is the pink, because of the contrast.
Place your CTAs in relevant areas of the page, and use timing to hook people in. Think about it. If you just got off the phone with your internet provider (after your internet went down), it’s not the best time for them to ask you to upgrade to a higher plan, because you’re frustrated. But, it’s the perfect time to give you 1-month free, which will turn your frustration into satisfaction.
Websites should use the same tactic. When a visitor has just read the benefits you offer, they’re ripe for taking action. So put your call to action right there for them to click, and make sure it’s descriptive, not generic. If the button just says “BUY NOW!” to the visitor, it’s like every other site they’ve been to before. But, if it’s something smarter like: “Was $79, now $29” “Start your free trial today”, you’re literally giving them so much more of a reason to click. Firstly, you’re saying they’re getting it at a reduced price (and comparing a larger number with a smaller one, making the smaller one not seem so big anymore). In addition, you’re giving them some sort of trial, or sample, before they enter their credit card info and actually spend money. This takes away the risk for them, because they don’t really have anything to lose if they take action (and you still get their details for your mailing list).
All and all, if you can avoid the Top 5 web design fails mentioned above, you will surely see a lot more success from your website!


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