Sometimes the easiest way to approach the question of "What Makes a Good Website?" is to answer the question "What Makes it Bad?" In this post we'll look at the top 8 mistakes that are very common in websites today.
1. Website has no clear purpose
A website should have a clearly defined purpose. Figure out what the purpose is, and then make sure it's clearly communicated on your website, particularly on your home page.
Do you want users to register for events? Then make it easy for them by putting a button that says "Register here!" Do you want them to donate to your non-profit organization? Help them to do that by putting a very clear "Donate Now" link on your front page. A website with no clear purpose will not leave a lasting impression on your visitors...make sure you communicate your purpose.
2. The website is not consistent
As users navigate from one page to another, the layout, font size, font type, color, etc. needs to remain consistent. Imagine reading a book where every time you turn the page the words are in different places or different sizes. It takes you a few seconds just to figure out what it is you're looking at.
Make sure the main page text is the same size, color, and type everywhere. It's good to have headings that are bigger or maybe a different font type...just not the main text. Also make sure you don't have some text in all caps and some in small caps...we recommend small caps throughout.
3. The content is outdated
Because a website often gets forgotten in the day to day operation of the business, it's easy to have outdated content. Users hate this...you must make sure everything on your site is current and not out of date.
Set a weekly or monthly reminding in your calendar "Check Website". That way you can make sure you're up-to-date.
4. Where's the contact info?
It's usually a good idea to put the contact information of your business on every page. Maybe it looks good at the top, maybe you want it at the bottom or side - the point is to have it somewhere, and ideally on every single page.
There are two main reasons for this: first of all, and most obviously, it's something that your users need to know in order to contact you. But secondly, Google uses the contact information on you site to determine the locality of it, so that when users in your geographic region search for you they're much more likely to find you.
5. The website is too cluttered
The best way to fix a cluttered website is to organize what's important and what's not. The important things deserve precedence on the page, and the less important things can either be removed, or just put in a less prominent place.
Another important way to make a website less cluttered and easier to read is to add extra space in between each item. There should be a gap in between the words on the page and everything else. It's called "white-space" - it doesn't have to be white obviously but make sure that there is plenty of extra room in between the elements on the page.
6. Using too much color
Having too much color on your site is an indication of trying too hard to make it look fancy. You can make important things stand out without using colors that don't match the rest of your website. Keep one or two main colors, with maybe a third color used very sparingly. Too much different colors and the site will just look too busy.
7. The text is hard to read
For almost all professional websites, we recommend using a very light background color with a very dark text color on top. The background color doesn't have to be pure white, it can have a tint of gray or off-white. And the text doesn't have to be pure black, sometimes a very dark gray looks nice as well as other dark colors.
8. Using too many pictures
Yes - you can use too many pictures on your website. Actually to be more accurate...you can't have too many, you just have them in the wrong places.
You should definitely scatter pictures throughout each page of your website - but we recommend keeping this to a minimum. One or two pictures next to the text looks nice...5 or 6 is overwhelming, plus it just slows down the page load speed.
A better place to display a large number of pictures on your website is through a photo gallery. By using smaller versions of the photos called "thumbnails", you can put a large number of photos on a page without slowing down page load speed. You can also present an even larger, higher quality photo that you could otherwise. An example of this is on our website portfolio page.
We hope these suggestions help you with your website, whether you manage it yourself or have hired someone to do it for you. If you need assistance with your website please contact us and we'll be happy to give you a free consultation.