A website is one of the most valuable tools for your business. It makes your business accessible to the entire world. It may seem like a no-brainer, but for some, this might be a challenge.
We've seen thousands of websites, including some really amazing ones and some questionable ones. Luckily good design can remedy most of these issues. In this article, we'll tackle 10 of the most common website mistakes we've seen this year.
Have you ever been to a website where the text is so small and close together you can hardly read it? It may look something like this?
The small text makes it incredibly hard for visitors to read what you are trying to say. A good rule of thumb is, if you have to get close up to the screen, put on glasses, or zoom in to read the text, it is far too small. It is best to keep fonts on your website at no less than12 point font to be legible, and they may need to be a bit larger for mobile screens. According to the Learn UI Design, start with 16px for a web-standard font. Text size and increase or reduce when necessary to the design which can be subjective but should always be able to readable.
Standard font sizes are what people are familiar with, and computer OS and mobile applications use similar fonts sizes and styles to make it easier to read. Your website should be no different.
Pictured: Me trying to read what you wrote on your website.
On the opposite spectrum of too small, have you ever been to a website that looks like this?
Stylistically large fonts are bold and can be done well and be impressive, but they must be specifically designed. It is important for your text size to have a purpose, and for there to be contrast between the sizes of text on your site. Having your standard font be large for everything can be overbearing. Instead, use large font sizes for headers or to grab a visitor’s attention. If everything's the same size, your website visitors will become blind to the overall aesthetic and won’t be able to focus on your key messages and calls to action.
Fonts have character and can become a part of your brand. When choosing a font to represent your business, it is important to keep in mind how readable that font is.. Have you seen a font like this?
It's beautiful, but do you want to read an entire website with it?
A font can look fabulous in a logo because it is focused and stylized, but it doesn't mean you should use that font everywhere on your website (or in emails or collateral material). Use script and decorative fonts sparingly. Less is more. These types of fonts are unique and can be a great complement to other fonts.
If you need help figuring out the best looking fonts for your website, read our blog about font pairings. Want to see what fonts are available on our platform? Check out our font library.
A website navigation menu acts as a guide for visitors. It should be focused and easy to navigate.
Figuring out how to describe everything your business does can be a daunting task. Don’t let yourself be tempted to create tons of pages on your website to describe everything you do. That can work against you and make it difficult for a customer to figure out what information there is and what's worth looking at.
In an ideal scenario, a website navigation menu should look like this:
We recommend seven to eight items on the main menu. Why only that many? Keep your menu from being too cluttered and keep your website visitors attention. Have you seen a menu that has too many pages? Menus can easily become hard for a user to navigate and know what is essential to click on. If you need more than seven pages on your website, organize them into categories and reserve some of them for drop-down menus under the main seven sections.
Here is a list of pages your menu should have.
These are the essential pages all websites should have.
Homepage: It's your main page to describe who, what, when, where, and why. This is where you tell the story of your brand and show how your products and/or services can help the visitor. It should pull people in and entice them to explore other pages and become a customer (for the first time or the 100th time).
About: An about page puts a face to a business. It lets the customer meet you and learn more about why you do what you do as a business or why your business exists. Visitors may be interested to learn about your education and experience in your profession.
Contact: This page provides a way for people to get in touch with you to ask about your product, book a service with you, or share feedback. Having this page is essential and it can be helpful to have a form on this page so that people can use it to contact you without sharing your email address with the world (and bots).
These pages help with SEO as well as selling your products and services.
Blog: A blog is essential to tell stories about and keep fresh content on your site. Search engines like to see new content and each blog post can be focused on different keywords related to your business.
Gallery/Portfolio: For a photographer, your portfolio is how you attract customers. Your potential customers and current customers want to see samples of your work. Having at least one gallery on your website to showcase your work is excellent.
FAQs: Everyone has questions. An FAQ page can help explain your process, help customers understand what you offer, and other relevant information. If you repeatedly get the same questions, consider adding them to your FAQs page.
Testimonials: Your customer's experiences are valuable for buyers and SEO. Showcase testimonials on your website on their own dedicated page and sprinkled throughout your site when talking about products or services highlighted in the testimonials. If you can include a customer's name and picture along with their testimonial, they are even more valuable.
Store: If you sell items or services, having a storefront is added to your main navigation only makes sense. You're only making it easier for a customer to purchase from you. So if you have a store function added to your website, make it easy to navigate to.
These pages are ones you may find helpful for explaining your products or services but are not crucial for SEO or having customers contact you.
Extra Galleries: If you do more than one type of photography, you may want to break up your work into multiple galleries that focus on those different styles or subjects. Having an organized portfolio can help a visitor understand the breadth of your work. If you have more than one gallery on your site, we recommend creating a drop-down menu for people to choose which gallery to view (e.g., Seniors, Wedding, Portraits, Family, Commercial, Food).
Other: You may have many additional pages on your site that explain more about what you do. Each business is different. Some may choose to have additional pages like a price list or an experience page, where people get to see what their session will be like working with you.
Don't do this! I was surprised to see how many websites had their contact page missing from the main menu or placed within a drop-down menu. If a customer has to go on a scavenger hunt to contact you, that's a huge problem.
Make it easy. Place your contact page in the main menu, and make sure you have a link to that on each critical page so a potential customer can contact you at any time. It can be helpful to place a link to your contact page in the footer as well.
As technology evolves, websites become more versatile. A mobile-responsive website is a key to having your site display correctly for different devices. Your site needs to fit every style and make of phones or tablets, but it should also perform fast.
Google research has analyzed that over 53% of visitors leave a website if it doesn't load after 3 seconds. That would be a massive loss and can happen if your site is bogged down with animations, large images, third-party tools, and other hidden codes.
The PhotoBiz platform makes it easy to have a mobile-responsive website that is fast! Websites built with PhotoBiz are "magically mobile," meaning they are responsive. You only have to design it once (for desktop computers), and our platform makes your website automatically look great on all devices.
Even better, our websites are built with lightspeed hosting. Meaning we've optimized our platform to be the fast, sites built on our platform load without extra hidden code many other platforms have, making our sites better for your visitors and for your SEO.
When crafting an experience for your customers to understand your brand, you may experiment with different looks and layouts to make you stand out. One design style is called minimalism.
What is minimalism?
"In visual arts, music, and other mediums, minimalism is an art movement that began in post-World War II Western art, most strongly with American visual arts in the 1960s and early 1970s. In software and user interface design, minimalism describes the usage of fewer design elements, flat design, fewer options and features, and tendencially less occupied screen space." - Wikipedia
"Less is more" is the surface level idea of minimalism. It uses large images and text, and color with bold contrasts. White space is used thoughtfully.
If misused, empty white space can look sloppy and unfinished. It is important to design your pages to fill up intentionally. Make sure your pages are structured and focused so you can tell your story. Poor design choices can discourage visitors from becoming customers. Thomas Metz of Usability Geek explains, “Your user experience must be simple. Simplicity and order create visual appeal. Use white space where appropriate, leverage compelling photography, and use a pleasant colour scheme.”
In the last few years, Single page websites have become very common in web design. They are simple and tell your brand's story without having customers navigate to other pages to learn more about your business. It sounds great, but it can be harmful, especially for SEO.
Here is an analogy. When your website is only one page, it is like going fishing with a single rod, hoping people (or fish) will stumble across you in a sea of billions of websites and competitors. A website with multiple pages is like having a fishing net. It extends your reach and allows you to catch more fish. By casting out more pages that become searchable, your website extends its reach, and can lead more people back to your site.
A single page can easily become cluttered by having everything in one place. This can make searching for specific details difficult. By having multiple pages on your website you can help your customer navigate the site and allow them to search for the information they are seeking.
One of the most common mistakes I see many businesses make with their website is not having a blog. A blog is a powerful tool. It can be used to tell your business’s story, engage with customers, and acts as a large net you can utilize for search. Your blog posts can target search terms. For example, as a wedding photographer you could create a blog post about the "Best Wedding Destinations in North Carolina" to showcase the venues you work with (as well as others you would like to work with). This information may not otherwise have a home on your website and doesn’t need to use up real estate in your navigation menu, but can help you connect with new people that find your site as a result of your blog post.
Blog content is great for social media too. It provides a reason for your followers to visit and read content on your website. Just remember, a blog post should include more than just photos. The words in your blog post engage your visitors and help with SEO. Each blog post should also have at least one call-to-action (CTA) to encourage the reader to go elsewhere on our website, which could lead them to contact you or making a purchase from your business.
Not everything you do may appeal to every customer or website visitor. For example, if you're a wedding and family photographer, and you showcase mostly wedding photos, you may alienate your potential family clients. Instead you should create targeted pages for each aspect of your business. You can make those targeted pages unique and highlight details that may only be relevant or available for those particular clients.
You can use your galleries to target clients by showcasing a single style of photography in each gallery and creating unique contact forms that are tagged specifically to the type of photography. This can help you know what people are contacting you about and make your future marketing efforts easier (by using those tags to build marketing campaigns).
These common website issues are easy to fix. As you review your own website, think about your customer and what they like. Everything you like might not be the best solution for the customer. Make your website easy to read, includes simple navigation, and has targeted pages or blog posts for SEO.
Not sure if your website has any of these issues? See some of these issues on your website and need help fixing them? Give our support team a call 1.866.463.7620. We're here to help and want you to perform your best online. Want to learn more from our creative team? Check out our Facebook Live events and Website Reviews to help you make a better website experience for your customers.