8 Common Mistakes to Avoid with Website Design

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Designing and building a new website? We've created an essential checklist of the most vital things to avoid when it comes to website design today. These are things you probably don't want to tick off!

Are you in the process of designing and building a website? There is a wealth of essential website checklists available online advising the average person what they should do… but what about the things you should avoid? We want to flip the average industry advice on its head. We want you to ensure your new website ticks none of the following boxes.

It’s true that your website should be a reflection of you and your business. But it’s also true that a good website should be easy for visitors to read, simple to navigate, and load insanely fast. We have been delivering Central Coast website design services for several years, and this has given our team the opportunity to see the mistakes made across a huge range of business websites. Our in-house team includes a professional website designer, website developer and SEO content writer, who have pooled together their knowledge here especially for you. They all agreed there are 8 absolute mistakes you can make (and want to avoid at all costs), when creating a business website. This is the ultimate website checklist you don’t want to tick…

1. Fill a site with stock photos

Cringey, posed stock photos have swarmed the internet. Combat this by creating your own quality photography! Stock photos, or creative commons images, are a shortcut to filling a website with content. Whether they are free or paid for, using stock photos can come at a further cost to your business. They are often extremely impersonal, forced, cliché and unnatural. This is the opposite impression you want your website to give visitors! Using stock photography is like eating chocolate – it’s totally fine in moderation, but if you embark on a binge fest, you won’t be in a good place tomorrow. Don’t have the skills or resources to create natural photography for your website? You can still use stock photography in moderation, just streamline your company’s image selection process. Only choose photos relevant to what you do. No people staring down the camera with their thumbs up or high-fiving colleagues (has anyone ever high-fived a colleague?). Avoid picture perfect, “display home” scenes. And if you think making some minor changes to a stock photo might improve it, such as cropping or adjusting the white balance, go for it. Smartphone cameras offer such high-quality images these days, it can be as easy as taking a few clear shots, in good light, to create a more genuine website.

If you need to use a few free stock images, we recommend starting your search on sites such as Unsplash, Pexels, or Stocksnap.

posed office team meeting stock photo

2. Use a rainbow of colours

Sure, rainbows are pretty beautiful… but s spectrum of colour is also kind of overwhelming when splashed across a website. We strongly advise against using every colour under the sun to make your website stand out. Simplicity is always the best creative direction we can give when it comes to designing a great website. Choosing your brand’s colour palette should happen in the early stages of the website design process. You only need FOUR colours maximum for your website. Allow plenty of space around the text on pages, and ensure words are easy to read against the background. Graphic designers value breathing space greatly, and no web page should be flooded with a spectrum of colour, abrupt shifts in style, or difficult to read website copy. The colours selected should reflect your brand’s look and feel – if you’re not sure how to define this exactly, it may be time to engage a branding specialist. Get your brand and its logo designed professionally today, rather than publish what you think is a decent logo and website that you may have to revisit and rebrand in a few years.

loud colourful person with rainbow hair

3. Cram as much copy in as humanly possible

The words published on your website are just as important as the images. This is especially true when it comes to managing Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). The same rule applies as for using stock imagery – space your text out and don’t use generic text or copy and paste (also known as plagiarising!) from other websites. Your website copy needs to be original, engaging and given plenty of space to breathe on the page. A basic web page should include at least 250 words of keyword rich text, and it needs to reflect your brand’s voice. If you have a thousand things to say about your product, that’s great, but your customer probably doesn’t want to read it all on a web page overwhelmed with text, (they’d rather hear it from you directly). Pay attention to how you display the written words on your website or get a natural copywriter to write your website content. Break up copy with images, bullet points, infographics and prioritise “white space”. It’s all about the white space.

example of white space on website


4. Flip flop between layouts and fonts

Consistency is super important for creating a valuable website. Repetition of design and messaging builds trust and improves usability. This applies to your website’s layout, navigation menu and the fonts used. Larger brands often create branded content using brand guidelines to ensure all their marketing collateral is consistent. Smaller businesses can simply stick to a set style for headlines and subheadings, plus a template design for each web page. When building a website, your priority should be to deliver a good experience for visitors, and one of the quickest ways to corrupt this is with inconsistent page content and a mish-mash of typography.

overloaded text and busy lettering

5. Autoplay video

Publishing video content on your website is a popular way to engage your audience, and we highly recommended it. But. Yes, there is a big but. We don’t recommend you set up your video content to play automatically when a web page loads. Autoplaying video footage runs the risk of interrupting the audience’s viewing experience, which can create annoyance with your brand. Ideally, you want to avoid annoying the viewer at all costs! Wherever there is even a slight chance of getting on the nerves of a potential customer – avoid it like the plague.

video loading screen example

6. No call to action (CTA)

A Call to Action (CTA) is a marketing term for a button, link, or textual directive that inspires the reader to take action after hearing out your well rehearsed reasons to take action. You need at least one on every web page as standard. Consider the purpose of your website: Do you want a site visitor to make a purchase, sign-up for your newsletter, or contact you directly? Each of these three examples of a website’s purpose should have a clear CTA to help the viewer fulfil them. We recommend having one CTA per page – and it should be big, bold and obvious.

neil patel call to action example

7. Use sparse, irrelevant images

We’re not sure what’s worse – publishing irrelevant images or having no images at all. The prospect of both makes our graphic designer shiver with unbridled horror. Using images that have nothing to do with your brand or products can cause confusion to your audience. A website void of any images feels bland and boring, kind of like you haven’t bothered to show up for them. Additionally, a site with zero images will generally increase bounce rates (visitors leave a page promptly after visiting), on your website and lower average viewing times. Both of those are alarms of a poorly thought out web page.

old ship sailing ocean


8. Not responsive on mobile devices

In our work, we get great insight into a huge variety of viewer statistics for a range of different company websites. One common thing with them all is that many people choose to view websites on mobile phones or tablets. For many websites, anywhere between 50% and 75% of website visitors are viewed on mobile devices. It’s never been more important to be responsive! Being “responsive” simply means looking good and acting functionally on mobile phones, tablets and desktop monitors. Most website builders should offer a responsive template as standard, but if you’re working with an older site or building from scratch – you need to check everything is built to be viewed on the move. According to research into website usability, a massive 93% of people have fled a website because it didn’t display properly on their device. With smartphones essentially being an extension of ourselves these days, it’s vital your website is optimised for any screen, anywhere.

mobile optimised experience comparison

Now it’s our turn to follow the advice from #6 – here’s your call to action.

Do you want to create a website, or are you looking to upgrade your existing one? Get in touch with us to discover what you need to do. We have website building and design packages to suit any business and they all come with the guarantee that your brand will emerge looking smart, professional and approachable.


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