website design

10 Costly Website Design Mistakes to Watch Out For

Certain website design mistakes completely defeat the purpose of having a website. What are these mistakes and how can you avoid them?

A known illustrator, author and  designer, Frank Chimero once said “people ignore design that ignores people”.

A compelling, unique website is no longer an option. This is because a poorly designed site loses visitors and potential customers every day.

Here are the top 10 mistakes in web design that you should avoid

  1. Too many pop-ups

Pop-ups usually contain call to actions (CTAs) asking a site visitor to take action. There is no denying the importance of a CTA to a website. It’s so important that it would be discussed next as a point on its own. Back to pop-ups.

In a survey conducted by Justinmind asking whether or not pop-ups are here to stay, 21% of the respondents answered in the affirmative stressing the power of pop-ups. 23% thought pop-ups are from the “pit of hell” and 56% were indifferent.

This points to the fact that there is no consensus on pop-ups. However, what everybody can agree on is the fact that having too many pop-ups on a website can be annoying for the user.

Yes, you want to generate leads, but at what cost? Pop-ups can be very intrusive and annoying. This would ruin the user’s experience, forcing them to leave your website and sometimes, never come back! You want to generate leads, but visitors won’t even stay long enough. Rather than converting them, you’ve succeeded in chasing them away.

To avoid situations like this, try to logically and minimally place pop-ups on the screen.

Always give users enough time to explore your content first. A good practice is to only use pop-ups when it seems a user is trying to leave.

  1. Terrible CTA

Your CTA is what directs your visitors to take an action on your website. Order Now! Subscribe! Get 50% Discount Here! Learn More! These are all examples of CTAs you can use on your website.

You should make sure your CTA clearly communicates what you want your visitors to do. And it should be detailed enough to communicate what’s in it for them and what information they need to provide. In other words, tell them what to do, how to do it and the benefits to them.

Meanwhile, there is a tiny line between being annoying and being helpful. Don’t overdo it with your CTA. Make sure it is concise and straight to the point.

Ensure that your forms are not too long so you don’t give your visitors reasons to procrastinate or give up. And usually, when a user procrastinates, you never see them again.

  1. Wrongly Placed Ads

One of the main sources of income for websites, especially blogs, is advertising. You either get ads directly from other businesses or through ad networks like Google Adsense. However, having too many ads, especially the flashy and noisy ones, can frustrate your visitors.

What’s worse? Your ads, if not carefully placed, can cover up some parts of your website contents. You have to decide which is a priority to you; making revenue from ads or giving your users the best experience.

Analyze your own ads and see if they’d annoy you yourself. If your result is in the affirmative, then you know they’d annoy your visitors as well.

Always remember your brand image and target audience when setting up ads. Answer the questions – will these ads be beneficial to my target audience? Is it consistent with my brand image?

  1. Non-responsive designs

You cannot begin to imagine the different kinds of devices people use to access the internet these days. Smartphones, tablets, phablets, pads and desktops. It would, therefore, be a costly mistake to have a non-responsive site.

Responsive designs make use of breakpoints to adjust size of containers, fonts, photos and buttons according to the screen size. You see this at work when you shrink your browser on desktop computer, flip your phone from vertical to horizontal or vice versa.

This does not only help with user experience, it also helps with SEO. The increase in the number of mobile phone users has made Google prioritize responsiveness as a key ranking factor.

You can get a report of your site’s responsiveness on your Search Console in Google Analytics.

  1. Auto-playing videos with sound

It’s okay to have a video(s) on your site. But if it must be on autoplay, then you have to remove sound and provide options to pause the video.

Welcoming visitors to your site with unsolicited sounds, with the intention of getting their attention, will make them close your page faster than the speed of light. Think about it – How happy have you been about opening websites only to find them playing some random video that is either too loud or has no stop button?

Most people keep many tabs open on their browser and the moment they hear unexpected sound coming from their system, they try to trace the tab from where the sound is coming and close it immediately. So, there goes a potential lead. You would only be chasing people from your site with these “attention-grabbing” tactic.

  1. Confusing Navigation

I’m sure you’ve been on a website at some point and just didn’t know what to do or where to turn. This a clear case of confusing navigation. There are several sites with this costly design mistake and you shouldn’t add to that list.

In many cases of websites with confusing navigation, the menu may be on the right-hand side of the page, bottom or completely hidden.

This usually happens when a website is trying too hard to be creative, different or unique.

It’s definitely a good thing to want to be different or stand out. It’s okay to want to have a site that doesn’t look like every other site. But you should endeavor not to do this at the expense of user experience.

Your users are already conversant with how a regular website works. They know where the Navigation menu, brand logo, search and others are located on a typical website. They come to your website armed with this information so you can’t afford to start giving the impression of “well, my own website doesn’t work like that”. They don’t have the time to start figuring out how your website works.

Your site menu should be prominent and clear on the page; your users should never have to look for it.

Refer to your website analytics and carefully observe your users’ journey. Take note of where most of them are dropping off your site and take necessary steps to fix it – that may be the confusing part of your site.

  1. Forgetting Contrast

Light-coloured text on dark-coloured backgrounds and vice versa; this is basic contrast rule. Violating this on your website means you would make it difficult for readers to read your website contents.

To be able to achieve readability, endeavor to maintain this rule so it’s easy for your visitors to read your contents.

To get the best of this, you can try different font and colour combinations. Try this first and get feedback from friends and colleagues, and then improve using their inputs.

  1. Not Customizing Free Themes, Templates and Website Builders

There are thousands of templates online to use for your website. Most of them are tailored to serve a particular business, style and industry. If all these templates are used exactly how they are without customization, then a lot of site will look exactly the same except for different contents.

Wix, Squarespace and Weebly are some of the popular drag and drop website builders you can consider using. This reduces the possibility of having your site looking exactly like someone else’s.

  1. Too Much Going on

Provide the most important information on your website as soon as visitors get in. If visitors don’t understand, within few seconds, what your site is about, you lose them.

While that is important, some website owners end up putting up too many information above the fold.

The ideal thing is to have a balance of texts and images. Excess of one at the expense of the other will make your site confusing. This would leave your visitors unfocused and unwilling to continue using your site.

It’s crucial you understand the different factors that go into the user interphase of a website design. And while there is a generic approach, there are specific approaches too depending on the type of business (b2b or b2c) and business goals.

  1. Poor Usage of Content and White spaces

Content is everything your users see on your website. From text to images and even videos; content tells your visitors what your website is about and the products or services you have.

For your texts, you have to pay close attention to your font-type and size. This may seem insignificant, but it goes a long way in conveying your brand image. Pick attractive and legible fonts.

White space helps in aiding readability. When sentences are jumbled together without necessary spaces between them, it makes reading difficult for your visitors.

You should bear in mind that most of your visitors won’t read everything on your site. Or ask yourself – do you read everything on every website you visit? No right? Instead, what you’d do is scan through the pages in search of what you want. White space makes this scanning process easy on the eyes of your visitors.

Other things you can do to get the best from your website contents include:


Take a look at your website and see how many times you used words like “us”, “we” as against “you”. Your website is not about you but about your customers. Let your content always reflect this.

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