If you were to write a list of all of the things that make a successful website, you’d probably end up with a pretty confusing list. A website needs to be bold and innovative, but not too bright or obnoxious.
You need to have plenty of quality content, but also some pictures and interactive media. But not too much interactive media, and definitely not the wrong kind. The site must be functional, yet not cold, and has to appease human readers and searchbot crawlers.
The Perfect Website Myth
Essentially, it’s impossible to create a textbook-perfect website. You will have to make a few sacrifices here and there in order to maintain a site that people actually want to visit and interact with. However, you might be inadvertently making some serious mistakes when it comes to the overall user experience design, or UX, and the user interface design, or UI.
Take a look at these common mistakes made when trying to build the ultimate website, and make sure you’re not falling into some of these traps with your own business!
What Is UX and UI, and Why Do They Matter?
We covered this topic in greater detail in our earlier article, but this information is very important when it comes to marketing your website. If you have a site that turns off visitors, it will be much harder to make those final sales.
UX refers to the “user experience”. This refers to how a person uses a product: in this case, your website. When they reach your landing page, does it make sense how to fill out the form? Is it easy to click away from the landing page? Can they search for the products they want easily? Are links clearly labeled?
The better the UX, the more people will be willing to interact with your site. Have you ever stopped in the middle of doing something because it’s just too complicated? Creating a positive user experience will encourage engagement and help you build your overall brand.
UI is the term for “user interface”. This can be a tricky term to define, because much of the experience is determined by the interface, and vice versa. But in the simplest of terms, UI refers to the look and feel of your site. The colors. The fonts. The text blocks. The use of images. The overall interactive experience of your site can be considered UI.
Like UX, this is important because you need users to want to spend time looking at your site and interacting with it. If they find the layout and design obnoxious or illegible, they’ll quickly find another site that has what they need without giving them a headache.
Common Mistakes You Might Be Making
The time has come to turn a discerning eye to your own website. The following are some very common mistakes that business owners commonly make. Don’t worry- all of these are fixable!
The first common mistake is leaning too hard into design… but the opposite is also true. You’ll need to find the sweet spot between UX and UI in order to create a successful website.
If you make your site too creative, you can lose functionality, which is a way to quickly lose customers. On the other hand, if your site feels too cold and bland, people might question whether this is a real site or not.
In a similar vein, make sure your site features responsive design. “Responsive design” refers to a site that loads properly on any device, including tablets and smartphones. Not all users do their browsing via a traditional laptop or desktop anymore, and having a site that doesn’t load properly for mobile users cuts out millions of potential customers.
Not made for Humans
You’ll also want to be sure that your site is made for people, not the Google crawl bots. Yes, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is extremely important, but it’s not so important that you should exclude the end user.
Imagine searching for a product you really need, but the first online shop you visit is nothing but a lengthy jumble of keywords and search terms. You’d probably have no idea what’s going on! A site needs to be coherent in order for users to visit it.
Not to be too repetitive, but content is still a very, very important part of both the user experience and the user interface. Just as visitors don’t want to look at a wall of keywords, they also don’t want to look at multiple repetitive stock photos, music and animation that delay loading, or walls of text that don’t seem to lead to any important information.
So How Do I Fix My Mistakes?
The good news is that you can easily fix nearly all of these issues with some strategic redesign.
Fixing Design Mistakes
When it comes to reassessing the overall aesthetics and functionality of your site, you might need to call in a professional. You might be perfectly thrilled with the color combination on your screen, but the public might see it differently.
You can also request test users try out your site: but if you choose to do so, make sure your test panel is made of all sorts of different people. You’ll need users of all ages, backgrounds, and other demographics to ensure the balance between visual and use isn’t exclusive to a certain portion of the population.
Responsive design is included in many of the current website builders and WordPress themes; however, make sure you frequently test your site from a variety of devices. Some page builders might require a specific plug in to allow all of the functionality of your site to be available on mobile devices, so double-check your specifications, and do some testing on your own.
Fixing the Over-Optimization
When it comes to balancing the happiness of search engines and actual users, you might feel trapped. After all, SEO involves active keywords and making sure your site appears right where users need it.
On the other hand, search engine rankings also pay attention to how long people stay on your site. The longer a visitor views your site, the more authority your page must have. The most important way to find balance is through your content.
Include keywords, but also make sure your spelling and grammar are spot on. Publish new, informative, entertaining blog posts or videos frequently. As articles grow older, refresh them with edits.
Create landing pages, but don’t go wild with the pop-ups. The user experience becomes negative if they have to click through too many pop-ups. Instead, gently guide visitors through the experience of your site, and offer them solutions and options as kindly as an airline attendant might offer a beverage and a snack.
As you can see, it’s very easy to make many errors when building your website. However, if you are able to catch and correct these errors early on, you have the ability to re-establish your audience and draw in new visitors with a “new and improved” site.