Expertly crafted websites are tricky business – with a fine balance of art and marketing knowledge needed on top of an ever-evolving technical landscape, it can be hard to even know where to start! Rather than diving into the technology, let’s dip our toes into some more general best practice. You don’t need to be a web design expert to recognize these common website errors.
If there’s one faux-pas to avoid above all else these days, it is the fixed-width layout. Surely you’ve visited a website on your phone, only to find that the layout displays just as it does on your computer (or worse, it’s a jumbled mess). A website that doesn’t responsively change it’s layout to fit each device could mean a clunky, difficult to navigate experience for the user. Considering over 50% of internet traffic now comes from mobile devices, it’s imperative that you take the mobile experience into account. If choosing a WordPress theme for your website, be sure to select from ones tagged as ‘responsive’. If you can, work with a web designer to help you perfect your website’s experience.
When building a website, always consider the user’s goals before your own. Maybe you have a video or a song that you want to make sure gets played. The best way to make sure it’s played, would be to autoplay your media from the start! Right? Wrong. That’s one surefire way to increase your website bounce rate. Users quickly exit sites like this. You have to consider how people like to use the web. Perhaps they’re playing their own music as they browse, or maybe they’re visiting your site while on transit – and your loud autoplaying video could be a startling nuisance to other commuters. Rather than setting your media to autoplay, consider placing focus on it with a well-defined call to action.
With high-resolution displays on phones, and 4K HD screens growing more popular, of course, you want to deliver the sharpest images for your brand. Pixelated, blurry photos can make your otherwise solid business come across as unprofessional, but the same can be said for images that are of too high quality. Varying network speeds, especially on mobile, mean large photos on your website could bring your load times down to a crawl. To ensure a balance between sharp images and fast display, always run your images through an optimizer like www.tinypng.com.
Building Without the Intention to Grow
The internet is a constantly expanding and iterative platform, and if “the medium is the message”, your website should be iterative too. Often websites are built without the expectation that they will soon change. Launch day comes around, and then nobody works on the site until years later when it’s time for the next redesign. Instead, it is best to expect change. Track your site with analytics, and employ an evolving marketing strategy. Once those are in place, you may learn more specifically how visitors engage with your site, and adapt the design to improve your return on investment.
At Cucumber Marketing, we specialize in growth-driven website design. Curious to know more about our digital marketing strategies, or perhaps you’d like to discuss improvements to your current website? Give us a shout or stop by our marketing agency in Vancouver – we always have chocolate.