Website Design Sins You Didn't Know You Were Committing (and How to Fix Them)

Your website is often the first impression you make on potential customers. A well-designed website fosters trust, conveys professionalism, and ultimately drives conversions. However, even the most well-intentioned websites can fall victim to design choices that hinder user experience and push visitors away. These choices, sometimes remnants of bygone design trends, can make your website feel outdated and hurt your brand image.

Fear not! This article will unveil five common website design sins and equip you with the knowledge to banish them from your online presence. By addressing these pitfalls, you can create a modern, user-friendly website that keeps visitors engaged and returning for more.

Sin #1: Social Media Navigation Bar Bonanza

Remember those prominent social media buttons cluttering your website's top corner? While the intent might have been to encourage social engagement, these buttons can have the opposite effect. Your website's primary goal is to keep users focused on your content and offerings. Social media, with its infinite scrolling and attention-grabbing algorithms, can easily become a rabbit hole, stealing valuable visitor time and diverting them away from your website's core purpose.

The Solution: Social Media Relegation

Instead of giving social media prime real estate in your navigation bar, consider relegating the links to the footer of your website. This keeps them accessible for users who actively seek them out but prioritizes your website's content and user journey.

Sin #2: The Slippery Slope of Sliders

Sliders, rotating banners that showcase multiple messages or images, seem like a great way to cram a lot of information into a single space. However, research has shown that users often have a case of "banner blindness" regarding sliders. They tend to focus on the first slide, with subsequent ones needing to be addressed, especially on mobile devices. Additionally, search engine crawlers can need help to properly index slider content, potentially hindering your website's SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) efforts.

The Solution: Ditch the Slider, Embrace Clarity

Instead of relying on a slider, utilise the hero section of your website for a single, clear, and compelling value proposition. This concise statement could capture your brand essence and highlight the key benefits you offer visitors.

Sin #3: The Cobwebbed Archive: Outdated Blog Posts

A website littered with years-old blog posts can send a worrying message to visitors. It might imply inactivity, a lack of fresh ideas, or even your business is irrelevant.

The Solution: Content is King

Commit to regularly updating your blog with fresh, high-quality content. This demonstrates your expertise, keeps your audience engaged, and helps establish your website as a valuable resource. If maintaining a consistent content creation schedule proves challenging, consider removing blog post dates altogether. While the lack of dates might not be ideal for some content formats like news articles, it can prevent a cluttered and outdated look for your website. Remember, a website that feels recent and active fosters trust with visitors and positions you as a thought leader in your industry.

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Sin #4: Annoying Pop-Ups

There's a fine line between encouraging email sign-ups and alienating visitors with intrusive pop-ups. Imagine landing on a website only to be bombarded with a pop-up demanding your email address before you've even had a chance to explore the content. This aggressive approach often leads to frustration and "back button" clicks.

The Solution: Strategic Pop-Ups, Happy Visitors

The key to pop-ups lies in strategic implementation—target visitors who have already engaged with your content. For instance, a pop-up offering a free downloadable guide (a lead magnet) might appear after a visitor spends a certain amount of time reading a blog post. Alternatively, consider pop-ups for exclusive discounts or promotions to incentivise conversions from interested visitors.

Sin #5: Stock Photo Purgatory: Breaking Free from Clichés

Cheesy stock photos—the ones featuring generic handshakes or staged smiles in sterile office environments—do little to connect with your audience. These generic images scream "unoriginal" and fail to represent your brand's unique value proposition.

The Solution: Invest in Visual Identity

A modern website needs high-quality, unique images that reflect your brand and resonate with your target audience. Consider showcasing your team members, office space or real-life customers interacting with your product or service. This injects a dose of authenticity and builds trust with potential customers.

Bonus Tip: Embrace Cutting-Edge Tools

The design world constantly evolves, and new tools are emerging to empower creators. Explore design tools like Midjourney, an artificial intelligence program capable of generating high-quality, custom stock photos. This allows you to ditch the cliché stock photo library and create unique visuals that perfectly capture your brand identity.

The Impact of a Modern Website

By addressing these website design sins, you can create a website that is aesthetically pleasing and strategically designed to convert visitors into leads or customers. A modern website fosters a positive user experience, improves brand perception, and drives business growth. Here are some key benefits of a well-designed website:

  • Enhanced User Experience (UX): A user-friendly website with clear navigation, fast loading times, and mobile responsiveness allows visitors to find the information they need quickly and easily. This translates to higher visitor engagement and satisfaction.
  • Improved Search Engine Optimisation (SEO): By incorporating SEO best practices like using relevant keywords and optimising page structure, you can improve your website's ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs). This increases organic traffic and drives more qualified leads to your website.
  • Boosted Brand Credibility: A professional and modern website design builds trust with potential customers and conveys a sense of authority in your industry.
  • Increased Conversions: A well-designed website with clear calls to action (CTAs) encourages visitors to take the desired action, whether it's subscribing to your newsletter, downloading a white paper, or purchasing.

Invest in Your Digital Presence

Your website is a vital asset in today's digital age. By avoiding these common design pitfalls and implementing the solutions outlined above, you can create a website that reflects your brand's unique identity and resonates with your target audience. Remember, a modern and user-friendly website is an investment that pays off in the long run, fostering brand loyalty, driving conversions, and propelling your business forward.

Robert Smart
Founder & Strategist

Robert is the founder of 59er Digital. From Cape Town, he crafts digital magic for diverse businesses. With 17+ years in the game, he's lately all about Growth-Driven Design—turning pixels into success stories. Off-screen, he treasures family, books, and is nailing trumpet serenades.

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