Did you know that your website’s design might be doing more harm than good?
For many business owners, the way our website looks is important to us and it’s something that we priorities over everything else.
However, the design of your website can can have a major impact on the performance of your website and the experience you provided to your visitors. It could be annoying visitors, or even preventing people from finding you in the first place.
In this post, I’m going to share 5 ways in which your website’s design might be harming the performance of your website.
It’s not accessible
Let’s kick off this post with one of the most overlooked areas when it comes to website design: accessibility.
Time and time again I see accessibility get pushed aside in favour of design and this needs to stop.
Not everyone uses a computer or browses the internet in the same way. Many people live with impairments that affect their ability to use websites, and therefore we need to consider these people when designing our websites. And so if your website isn’t accessible, you may be preventing some of your potential clients or customers from being able to access the information they need.
As website owners, it’s our responsibility to make sure our websites are as accessible as possible. Even if you start small by making sure that all of your images have descriptive alt text, it’s better than doing nothing.
I’m not saying I’m perfect when it comes to accessibility, and it’s still something I’m learning about, but it’s something we should all be considering and educating ourselves about because it’s so incredibly important.
It’s not optimised for search engines (SEO)
If you own a website then you’re probably going to want to show in up search engine results organically. But if your website isn’t designed with SEO in mind, then you might not be popping up search results as much as you’d hoped.
There are few different ways in which your website’s design can have an impact on SEO, and we’ll go into more details about some of these ways later in the post. But one of the most common mistakes I see being made is the frequent use of images containing text.
And to clarify, I’m talking about images where the text is actually a part of the image. It’s been added to that image via design software like Photoshop or Canva, rather than being added to an image using HTML.
I’ve wrote a whole blog post about why you shouldn’t put text on images on your website, but in summary, search engines can’t read the text within an image. So if you’re putting important paragraphs of text on images, or using images for your headers, search engines won’t be able to read this and your content won’t be indexed.
It’s slowing your website down
On the subject of SEO, something that will have an affect on your websites position in search engines is website speed.
Search engines like Google take the loading time of your website into consideration when ranking your website, so if your website is slow, you may find your content doesn’t rank as highly.
The design of your website will have a massive impact on the loading time of your website, and the main culprit when it comes to slow websites is large, high resolution images that haven’t been optimised.
Also, I often see elements and layouts on websites that are created with images when they should be built using HTML and CSS. The images required to create these elements are often huge and will result in a much slower website than if those elements had been built with code.
It’s not just images that will slow down a website though. Bulky plugins and themes with code that hasn’t been optimised, or that make excessive calls to your website’s database can also slow down your website.
It’s not mobile-friendly
Having a website that looks good and functions well on mobile devices is a non-negotiable these days. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve left a website because on mobile it’s been impossible to use as it was solely built to be viewed on a larger screen.
As of 2020, over 60% of Google searches were made on mobile devices, and from March 2021 onwards, Google will be making the switch to mobile-first indexing. This means if your website isn’t mobile-friendly, Google may not index your website and it won’t show up in search results.
To check if your website is mobile-friendly or not, head over to Google’s official testing tool and pop in your website’s URL. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you may want to look into changing your design as soon as possible, or at least installing a plugin to create a mobile-friendly version of your website.
It’s not user-friendly
When designing a website, user experience should be at the forefront of your mind. If your website is difficult for people to use then they just aren’t going to stick around.
I’ve already mentioned the importance of having a fast website, a website that is mobile-friendly, and a website that’s accessible, which are just a few of the factors that can have an impact on user experience. But there are many other ways in which your website’s design can have an impact on user experience
For example, if your navigation is complex, unclear or changes from page to page, visitors are going to struggle to find what they’re looking for. If the text is too small, too close together, or the colour is too similar to the background colour, it’s going to make it difficult for the user to read. If you’re not guiding visitors through your website with specific and clear call-to-actions, they’re not going to know what to do.
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