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9 Common Website Design Mistakes That Kill Your SEO

It’s astonishing how quickly people form an opinion about your brand – just 1/10th of a second. And what makes or breaks the first impression of your brand? It’s your website design!

In just 0.05 seconds of eye exposure, your website design can either captivate visitors and turn them into loyal customers or drive them away forever. Therefore, it’s crucial to invest in an appealing website design that resonates with your target audience’s preferences, values, and opinions.

Home / Blogs / 9 Common Website Design Mistakes That Kill Your SEO
Raghav Tayal

Head Of Operations - Digital Web Solutions

December 15, 2023

In this blog, we’ll reveal 9 common web design mistakes that may be killing your search engine rankings.

Before we jump in, let’s check some cool stats that illustrate the impact of website design mistakes on your customer’s experience and your search engine rankings. Let’s take a look!

  • 75% of consumers admit that their judgments for a company’s credibility are based on the company’s website design.
  • 57% of internet users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed website.
  • 94% of visitors would reject a website based on its design-related aspects. 
  • 59% of people prefer browsing ‘beautiful and well-designed’ sites than basic ones

By avoiding frequently occurring website design mistakes, you can guarantee that your website will not only achieve higher search rankings but also effectively reach your target audience. You wouldn’t want to miss out on potential traffic, would you?

That’s why we’ve got you covered and have listed some of the most common website design errors in the next section.

1. Including important information in images

As much as we love multimedia content like images, videos, and podcasts, we can’t deny that text is still the most easily comprehended content by search engines.

While adding multimedia content to your website can improve engagement, it’s important to remember that search engine spiders primarily crawl text-based content for keyword phrases in prominent locations, such as your text headers, to understand the main focus of your content.

In fact, Google’s official webmaster guidelines specifically advise website owners to use text instead of images to display important names, content, or links. This is because search engines can’t recognize text contained in images.

Remember that images, flash files and java applets are all ignored by search engines.

2. No On-Page Optimization

Your website’s on-page elements are a critical component of its overall design and functionality. These elements are the foundation of your website’s content and are crucial to how users and search engines interact with your website.

There are some essential points to keep in mind when optimizing your on-page elements:

First and foremost, you want to ensure that your title tags and meta descriptions accurately reflect the content on each page. This not only helps visitors in quickly determining whether or not your site is relevant to their needs, but also helps search engines in understanding what your site is about.

In addition to optimizing your title tags and meta descriptions, it’s also important to use header tags effectively. Header tags, such as H1, H2, and H3, help to break up your content into easily readable sections, and they also provide important context for both search engines and users.

When it comes to images, be sure to include descriptive alt text that accurately describes what the image is about.

This not only helps with accessibility for users who are visually impaired, but it also helps search engines understand what your site is about.

Keyword stuffing is a common mistake when it comes to on-page optimization. While it’s important to include relevant keywords in your content, overusing them can actually hurt your search engine rankings and make your content seem spammy or unnatural.

Internal links are easy to implement and can have a high impact on search rankings. Make sure to use your target keywords or semantic terms in your links rather than generic calls to action.

Additionally, choosing the right placement for your links is equally important. Aim to link from authoritative, semantically related content whenever possible, as these types of links will have a greater impact on the performance of your target landing page.

3. Not keeping mobile users in mind

Mobile devices have become a dominant force in today’s digital landscape, accounting for more than half of all website traffic. In fact, nearly 92% of people access the internet through their mobile phones.

These statistics highlight how critical it is to make sure that your website is mobile-friendly.

Despite not being an official ranking factor, Google recommends that you should create a mobile-friendly website.

This is because responsive design eliminates the need for separate URLs for desktop and mobile devices and serves the same HTML code to all users, regardless of the device they’re using.

So, is your online business platform ready to provide a seamless experience to your mobile users? Does your website provide the same level of functionality and features on both desktop and handheld devices?

Well if not, here are some useful tips to help you get started with making your website mobile-friendly:

Use a responsive design:First and foremost, it’s essential to develop a responsive layout. A responsive layout allows your website to adapt to different screen sizes and resolutions, ensuring that your visitors have a positive user experience, no matter what device they’re using.

Simplicity Is Key: Keep your design simple by using a minimal amount of text and images and ensuring that the navigation is easy to use.

Compress your images: To boost your website’s speed and improve user experience, it’s essential to optimize the images you use. Compressing images reduces the amount of data that needs to be downloaded by visitors, making your website faster and more responsive

Add a Call to Action: Providing your contact details, such as your phone number, email address, or social media accounts, is a great way to make it simple and convenient for people to reach out to you.

4. Unclear communication & navigation

If your website has a complicated layout and unclear messaging, users will quickly lose interest and click away without really understanding what your site and products are all about.

This creates a negative customer experience and can negatively impact your traffic and search engine rankings. In fact, it can even hurt your conversions and user-friendliness.

Therefore, having excellent communication on your website is essential. When visitors land on your homepage, they should instantly know who you are and what you do. It’s important to clearly showcase how your products and services can help your users.

Next, navigation is one of the most important aspects of a website’s design, and too often it is overlooked or done poorly.

When designing your website’s navigation, keep in mind these key tips for a great user experience:

  1. Design your website with the customer in mind and take their feedback into account at every stage of the process
  2. Users expect to find horizontal navigation across the top or vertical navigation down the left side. Stick to these standard locations and watch your bounce rate decrease while your conversions increase
  3. Avoid overwhelming your visitors with too many menu options, and challenge yourself to limit your navigation to just five items. This will make it easier for your visitors to find what they’re looking for quickly and efficiently
  4. Put your most important information at the front, and save less important items for the middle of your navigation. And always remember to make “Contact” the last item on the list

5. Inconsistency in design elements

Another common website design mistake that can hurt your SEO is having inconsistent design elements throughout your website.

This can include everything from font styles and sizes to color schemes and page layouts. When a website has too many different design styles and patterns, it can confuse visitors and make it difficult for them to navigate the site. This can lead to high bounce rates, low dwell times, and ultimately hurt your SEO rankings.

To avoid this, it’s important to establish a consistent design throughout your website. This means using the same fonts, colors, and layouts on every page of your website. This will not only result in a website that looks more polished and cohesive, but it will also make it simpler for users to navigate and find what they’re looking for.

How to fix inconsistent design elements:

  1. Make sure that you use the same color palette for all the elements in your website including buttons, text, links, header, footer, and more
  2. To ensure that your content is easy to read and visually appealing, use the same font styles for titles, paragraphs, links, and any other text elements
  3. Decide on whether you want rounded or squared corners for the shapes in your website or app, including icons, cards, buttons, etc
  4. When using lines for icons, dividers, or any other elements, make sure that you maintain a consistent line thickness throughout your design
  5. Avoid stuffing your website with too many elements

6. Bad tap target on mobile and tablet

Touch targets are the interactive elements of a website, such as buttons, links, and form fields that can be accessed by users on touch devices. For a website to be user-friendly and accessible, it’s crucial to ensure that the tap targets are appropriately sized and spaced apart.

When the touch targets on your website are too small, users can face difficulty in completing their desired action. This can ultimately lead to a poor user experience, which can be a major contributor to high bounce rates.

We’ve all been there! The frustration of accidentally tapping the wrong button on our smartphone and having to wait while the wrong screen loads can be quite annoying.

When designing clickable elements on your website, it’s important to remember that users have different finger sizes. To create a seamless user experience:

  • Make your touch targets finger-friendly by considering the average width of an adult index finger, which is 1.6 to 2 cm
  • Aim to make your touch targets at least 45-57 pixels wide, as this will provide users with sufficient room to hit the target accurately without any frustration

7. Weak calls-to-action (CTAs)

If you’re relying on common Call To Action like “Sign up,” “Buy now,” or “Learn more”, your website might not see the results you want.

Your audience is more informed and selective than ever before, and they need more than a basic nudge to take action.

So, how do you encourage them to take the actions you want?

The answer lies in carefully designing your website’s call-to-action. CTAs are essential in guiding your users towards the specific paths you want them to take. Without clear, understandable CTAs, you risk losing out on conversions, opt-ins, and sales.

How to create the perfect call to action?

Engage your readers with dynamic and descriptive CTA text:

Instead of plain ‘learn more’, you can level up to exciting action words that make people want to click. Ditch the vagueness for captivating clarity – let users know exactly what awaits them on the other side by giving vivid context in just a few words.

Make your CTA buttons’ colors stand out

Use eye-catching colors that contrast with the rest of the text on your site. Bold colors such as red, yellow, green, blue, orange, and purple are great options that will grab attention and encourage visitors to take action.

You can also experiment with different fonts, sizes, and typographical emphasis such as bold, underlines, or italics. However, be careful not to overdo this or it may look tacky or overwhelming.

Avoid Overwhelming Your Visitors with too Many CTAs

It’s important to remember not to clutter your webpage with too many Calls-to-Actions.This can be distracting and may draw your users away from the main action you want them to take.

Use Bold Hover & Focus Styling

A hover feature is like a magic trick that occurs when a user hovers their cursor over a button, and the button responds with a visually appealing effect to show that it is clickable. This could include a drop shadow, underlined text, or even a change in background color.

8. Bad 404 pages

Every website owner loves to see an influx of new visitors to their site. It’s like a pat on the back for all the hard work that’s gone into creating it!

But what happens when that visitor encounters the dreaded ‘page not found’ error message? It’s a quick trip to the back button, and that visitor probably won’t be back anytime soon. That’s why it’s crucial to have a properly functioning error 404 page in place.

It takes serious technical expertise to tinker with your .htaccess file and issue the right commands to your server. But, it’s a small price to pay to keep your website’s reputation and visitor experience running smoothly.

Compelling 404 error pages are the secret to a smooth user experience and we all know that means happy customers, here are some helpful tips and examples:

  1. Make sure your website includes all the bells and whistles, like having a helpful Search bar that enables visitors to easily navigate through your site.

Let’s take a look at OptinMonster as an example.

They have a search bar prominently displayed on their website, along with options to go back to the home page or contact them. This makes it easy for users to find what they need and stay on their website.

  1. You can use some creativity and have a fun and engaging 404 page. With a little bit of humor, you can turn a negative experience into a positive one and keep your visitors engaged with your brand.

For example, Pixar’s 404 page features playful graphics and gives visitors the option to use the main menu at the top of the page to explore the rest of the site.

  1. You can actually turn those visitors into loyal subscribers or customers by simply directing them towards the action you want them to take.

And here’s a little secret – even a bad user experience can be turned into a positive and profitable one! So, why not offer your visitors the chance to join your email list or try out your product? That way, you not only improve their experience on your website but also boost your business.

Just take HubSpot as an example:

They offer their users the chance to learn about their products through a simple bulleted list that keeps the website flow alive by directing visitors to other relevant locations on their website.

So, why not give it a try and see the magic for yourself?

9. Serving irrelevant & unwanted pop-up ads

When it comes to pop-up ads, it’s a bit of a love-hate relationship. Yes, they can be incredibly effective in boosting conversions, with some pop-ups seeing conversion rates of 60 percent or more!

But, we’ve all experienced those annoying, poorly-placed pop-ups that leave us feeling frustrated and overwhelmed.

The key is to strike a balance that works for both your business and your visitors, here’s how:

The timing of a pop-up can make or break its effectiveness: 

Whether you shove it in someone’s face the moment they land on your website, or give them a few moments to engage with your content, could make all the difference in how valuable your pop-up is perceived to be.

It’s a tough call, but studies have shown that there is a “sweet spot” of 5 seconds where you can collect the most emails without irritating your potential customers.

Choosing the right words:

As a marketer, you’re well aware of the power of language in optimizing your copy to get the desired results.

But what about those pesky “no” responses? Rather than accepting defeat, why not get a little creative with your approach? Instead of just settling for a plain and simple “no,” try using some cleverly crafted phrases to encourage your visitors to reconsider.

For instance, if someone isn’t interested in boosting their website traffic, you could try saying “No, I don’t want more traffic” or “Not today, I have enough clients.”

Follow the mantra “Less is More”:

By segmenting your subscribers and customers into better groupings, you can offer targeted messages that truly resonate with them. Think about it – wouldn’t you be more likely to respond to a specific discount or offer, rather than yet another subscription reminder?

With a little thought and careful consideration, you can use pop-up ads to enhance your brand and drive more conversions than ever!

Wrapping Up

When it comes to designing websites, the ultimate objective is to create interfaces that are not only visually pleasing but also easy to use. An intuitive interface inspires trust in users, which in turn leads to more conversions.

But it’s easier said than done. And that’s where mistakes come in. By keeping an eye out for these common UI design mistakes, you can avoid them and ultimately create more polished designs that your users will love.

We hope you find this guide useful and that it assists you in creating more polished designs. So go ahead and happy designing!

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