As more and more people are consulting the Internet prior to making a purchase, your website is becoming a critical component of your business. Your site and its design play an important role in how much online business you generate. The most common web design mistakes are often the ones that deter users from making a purchase. However, many business owners have little time or expertise to adequately manage their website. To save you time,  we at Bixa Media, a digital marketing agency, have compiled a list of 8 Common Web Design Mistakes to Avoid to help you improve online business.

1. Poor Landing Page Content

The landing page a visitor sees is arguably the most significant page on your website. It is from this page that a visitor will determine whether or not to stay on your website, and often that decision is made in a matter of seconds. Landing page content that is overly complex, confusing, or unorganized will cause a reader confusion and frustration. It is best to keep your paragraphs short (3-5 sentences), simple and to the point, and organized with headers, bullet points, or numbered lists.

2. Not Standing Out From Competitors

Just like any other form of marketing, your website needs to show potential customers what makes you different from your competitors. Including this information both in the design and content of your landing pages is critical. If people are searching for your services or product online, then chances are high that they are comparing you to your competitors. Make sure your website design stands out among the crowd and avoid using the same colors, layout, etc. as your competition.

3. Overly Complicated Navigation

Users should be able to find what they are looking for in a couple of clicks. Whether it’s a specific product or old blog post, don’t have parts of your site hidden in complex navigation bars with layers of drop down menus. Preferably, you should have a few different links that can take your users to the same page. Including a search bar is another great practice to improve navigability. The bottom line is: if a visitor cannot find what they are looking for quickly, they will give up and find it somewhere else.

4. A Site With Outdated Content

The Internet has become the best place to figure out ‘what’s new’. Customers are increasingly likely to believe your website is the best place to find out what’s new with your business. If your company has recently moved locations, changed addresses, or no longer offers a product or service, those details need to be clearly represented on your site. You should update your content regularly to avoid causing confusion and frustration among customers.

5. Overdoing It With Images Or Special Effects

While colorful images and dynamic pages are fun for visitors to look at, these elements are hard for search engines to crawl. In addition, any site that places more emphasis on images than actual content will receive a lower ranking on search results than sites that focus on content. You should also think about visitors who use old browsers to view your site. Many older versions of browsers have difficulty displaying special effects. If a visitor comes to your site and none of the images are displayed, they will wonder if you put any thought into your site design.

6. No Call To Action

You’ve written great landing page content and have awesome links to the various pages on your site, but what is it you want your visitors to do? Do you want them to ‘call now’, ‘request a quote’, ‘buy here,’ or ‘subscribe’ to your RSS feed? Your call to action shows a user you mean business. It also directs that person towards the action you want them to take.

7. Failure to Include Testimonials, Reviews, or Past Projects

Think about how many times you’ve ask your roommate if the outfit you have on looks good on you before you walked out the door. The power of someone else’s opinion is huge when it comes to decision-making. If your website includes a place for past customers to review your service or describe their experience, visitors are sure to read it. Potential customers want to see what other people think of your company and will undoubtedly use this information to determine whether or not they will do business with you.

8. Not Tracking Data

Designing your website is only the first step. Tracking how visitors enter, use, and leave your site can give you tremendous insight into how to improve your website. While each of the best practices described above will help increase your online business, every site and company is different. You may find that your users spend the most time on pages with detailed tables and graphs. Or perhaps you find everyone is leaving your site from a particular page. What is it about these pages that is appealing or deterring to your visitors? By tracking this data, you will have more concrete information about what is working on your website and what isn’t. This will allow you to make more informed decisions about future website changes to improve online business.

Unlike many other forms of marketing, with online marketing, you have a matter of seconds to sell your company. Users take in information differently when they are browsing the web versus shopping in the mall. Even the smallest web design mistake can lead to a major loss for your business. It is therefore imperative that you put adequate time into designing and improving your site. If you avoid these common web design mistakes, you will be well on your way to increasing your online business.