The 5 Web Design Process Mistakes Businesses Make All the Time

Despite all of the website building tools and resources out there, some sites are still terrible.

Topping the worst website lists include everything from sites that still have background music, to sites that use rainbow colored letters.

However, some web design mistakes aren’t as noticeable as flashy gifs or oversized text. While your site probably isn’t as bad as the ones above, there’s still a lot of common mistakes you could be making with your website.

The Top Web Design Process Mistakes To Avoid

As fun as it is to cruise Buzzfeed articles that roast the worst of the worst, we don’t have any desire to see any additional horrible site designs. So, we compiled a list of the most frequent mistakes made during a website redesign process.

During the design process, stakeholders should collaborate and strategize on the objectives of your website. It sounds like common sense, but it doesn’t always happen that way. Instead, people get caught up in the aesthetics of their website, and prioritize the design portion of the project, while skipping over the content, strategy, and overall user experience.

If you bypass integration of the preferences and problems of your target customer, you’re making a common, but costly, mistake. This mistake always results on a website design based on personal preferences and huge assumptions. It doesn’t take long before everyone in your organization is contributing their pet ideas for the design, and these ideas are notoriously disconnected - not working together for a frictionless site flow, This is how sites end up with spinning text or a blindingly bright home page.

Unless you’re a professional graphic designer, it’s a good idea to leave the aesthetics of your site alone.

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When it comes to a website build, executives and marketing teams need to focus on two things: message and the customer. This laser focus on customer and message help your organization avoid two common misconceptions about the website design process:

Mistake 1. Thinking Web Design Is Pretty Graphics

On average, you have about 15 seconds to grab a reader’s attention. Design matters, but it won’t keep them beyond the 15-second mark. Strong messaging captures and keeps the attention of your target customer. It clearly defines the value of your product or service, and guides them through each step of their buyer journey.

Mistake 2. Thinking All Customers are Ready to Buy

Whether it’s a job interview or a first date, people are naturally inclined to be self-centered. That’s why your website needs to be about them, and not about you.

It’s always tempting to talk about ourselves, to pitch our product, and push for the sale. A website that takes this “me monster” approach will lose. The winner will always be the website that speaks to the customer based on where they are, the problems they have, the wants they experience.

Customer-centric marketing always defeats brand-centric marketing, and it begins on your website.

Buyer personas enable brands to understand who their ideal customers are, and how they approach purchasing a new product or service. When brands undergo a customer journey mapping process, they create educated, hypothetical scenarios to identify opportunities for improvement and clarity within their selling process. All of this information is used to craft the right messaging, offers, and flow of your site.

Great websites lead the customer through the buying experience - it leads them to your solution, it doesn’t lead with your solution.

A website strategy focused on building more meaningful relationships with customers, builds trust and rapport long before a contact speaks to a salesperson. When they do, they are prepped, positioned, and qualified for the sale.

Mistake 3. Failing To Baby-Step Customers

Imagine if Tesla didn’t have the brand recognition they do. Imagine if Elon Musk just had a website with one clear call to action - “buy a Tesla right now.”

No one would buy a car that way. It’s a huge, expensive leap of faith, and without understanding the value of the brand, you’re not going to get sales that way.

This kind of scenario is similar to when brands ask customers to sign up for demos or book consultations during their first visit to their website. First-time website traffic usually doesn’t convert right away, because there’s no established relationship or trust built. As is, landing pages only convert at about 2.35% anyway. So, instead of trying to force first time or second-time customers to convert before they’re ready, focus on constructing a website that helps and educates the customer based on where they are in the buyer journey.

If you build your website on HubSpot, for example, you can utilize smart content to personalize your website for every visitor. A first-time visitor can be served a top-of-funnel offer and calls-to-action, rather than a bottom-of-funnel demo or consultation. As each contact journeys deeper into the funnel, you can automatically shift the calls-to-action and offers to match their new stage.

Mistake 4. Unrealistic and Costly Design Schedule

One of the most common mistakes with website design is the incredible amount of time it takes to complete. Without an effective website design project plan, you will probably burn through a lot of time, and most of your budget.

Drifting timelines, scope creep, and exploding budgets led us to adopt Growth Driven Design (GDD) several years ago. GDD has been a game-changer, helping us launch websites faster, and consistently improve performance based on data-driven design and optimization decisions.

Here’s our formula for budgeting out time and resources:

  • 30% Strategy
  • 30% Content
  • 30% Design
  • 10% Clean up and Launch

After launching, a monthly GDD budget can be set aside for ongoing optimization. Why? Because you never want to just launch a website and leave it to atrophy. Performance in traffic, leads, and customers will start to dwindle from the time you launch the new site. A smarter approach is to launch a beautiful new website, then work on small tweaks and changes based on user behavior. Constant optimization over time can make a good website into a great website, and the increased amount of leads flowing through will be the reward.

5. Dead End Pages

A lot of websites try to get the attention of every visitor. Brands build website pages that attempt to target everyone, and cast the widest net possible. This inevitably leads to website pages that are so wide-reaching that they don’t offer any depth.

Given that 55% of visitors spend less than 15 seconds on your website, it's crucial to give them a very clear next step that matches their stage and interest. Not every customer will have the same interests, the same challenges, or the same urgency to find a solution. So, when creating website pages, each page should be designed to move the customer to the next logical step.

Think of it like this: Every Time a customer gets to the bottom of one of your website pages, they ask you, “what now?” The bottom of that page should answer that question before they ask it. For instance, if a website user browsed through your pricing page, what’s the logical next step. Now, I know how much it costs, what now? The answer to that question should be the call to action at the end of the pricing page. And, every page has a “what now” that should not be ignored.

When customers don't know what to do on your website, they'll bounce. Dead-end pages tell people to convert or leave.

No page should have a dead-end.

Overcoming Your Web Design Process Mistakes

When brands make big design mistakes, it costs time, resources, money, and customers. That's why it's so crucial to go through the right steps to build your site. A data-driven, customer-centric approach will enable teams to measure, track, and monitor their website performance on an ongoing basis.

Rather than guessing or making assumptions about why various elements, offers, or messaging are successful, teams will have proof. It will be clear what actions need to be taken to get you closer to driving more traffic, converting more customers, and more.

We're so passionate about creating high-performing websites; we came up with a strategy kit that helps brands prevent strategic failures. Our SprocketRocket Strategy Kit sets you up for success, ensuring that you build a site that provides your customers with the support, insight, and answers they seek at each stage of their journey. 

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