Can you recall a time when you visited a website that was difficult to navigate? How about a page containing so much text that unearthing relevant information was like finding a needle in a haystack? There’s nothing more frustrating than a poorly designed or structured website.
Your site is a valuable piece of online real estate. If you follow certain design principles, it can help you grow a following and retain customers. Get the most out of your online presence by avoiding these common website problems.
1. A cluttered homepage
A homepage is your site’s front door, so make it welcoming. Unfortunately, some homepages are stuffed with too much content, and visitors find themselves feeling overwhelmed.
There is an entire site at your disposal. So, keep your homepage clean and avoid adding unnecessary content or images.
2. Confusing navigation
Make navigating your website intuitive so that visitors and potential customers can easily find what they’re looking for.
The navigation bar, or menu, is your site’s roadmap. Clearly mark where each link leads. Don’t use jargon or obscure terms to describe site sections. The labels “Products,” “Services,” “Blog,” “About Us,” and “Contact” often appear in the menus of websites for a reason: they’re straightforward and easy to understand.
Ensure that your site hierarchy makes sense. Place links to subpages under the appropriate menu tabs.
For example, if you’re an accountant who provides tax help, this information should be listed under the “Services” tab, and not just your “About Me” page.
3. Poor readability
Make sure your website is easy to read and understand. Limit the number of fonts and styles. Consistency is comforting, so giving each of your site page’s its own design aesthetic can confuse visitors.
Skip the Comic Sans and crazy color schemes. Instead, choose a font, page layout, and style that directly and consistently conveys your overall message.
4. Non-responsive design
According to Pew Research Center, 95 percent of Americans own smartphones. So, many of your visitors will be viewing your site on smaller screens.
Your website should look great on desktops and mobile devices, so make sure it’s responsive. Responsive websites adapt to the device type that someone views them on. Keep your writing straightforward to hold the attention of mobile users, and make sure that your site buttons and menus are large enough to click on smaller screens. Luckily, nearly all of WordPress.com’s themes are responsive and designed with accessibility in mind.
Avoid common website problems by answering the following questions:
Is your homepage clean and free of unnecessary elements? Is there enough white space on the page?
How long does it take visitors to find what they’re looking for? Do your menus and tabs direct visitors to the correct sections and pages?
Do your pages each have strong header images or headlines? Do you integrate subheadings and bulleted lists into content? Can readers easily scan your posts, or do they need to scroll around to find the information they need?
Do all of your site links work? Are you using a consistent, legible font?
How does your website look on mobile devices? Do its pages load correctly, and can you read its content without needing to zoom in and out?
Run through this checklist before your site goes live, or use it to audit your current user experience. Not only will avoiding these common website problems encourage your site visitors to explore, it might help you attract new fans by improving your search engine optimization.