17 Website Design Mistakes That’ll Ruin Your Conversion Rates

17 Website Design Mistakes That’ll Ruin Your Conversion Rates

There are some website design mistakes that may or may not have impact on a website’s success, but there are others that act as absolute conversion killers. They spell the death knell for web traffic and make sure your website and its prospects go downhill unless something is done to get rid of these mistakes. 

Many people think that conversion rate optimisation is mostly depended on content. This statement might be true, though at the same time you cannot afford to overlook the significance of design as the wrong web design elements can hold your site back from accomplishing great success. You have less than a second to persuade a visitor to stay on your page.

In online businesses, creating trust is much harder than in real life as people can’t see your face. All that they can judge you by in that first second how well your website design is. So, there is no doubt about that the design of your website has a huge impact on your conversion rate. There are many website design mistakes that can hurt your conversion rates. In this post I will walk you through some of the most common mistakes people make while designing their website.

Website Design Mistake #1: An Obsolete Website Design

If your website is designed five years back, then it’s the time to upgrade your web design with the new design elements.There is always some emerging technology that allows the designers to upgrade the design. For example, you have thousands of visitors and if you are unable to keep them on your page then it’s all for nothing. Trust me, nobody likes a page that seems like has not been updated in five years. 

Believe it or not, there are so many old websites still live but they are no longer in operation. When your visitors come to an old looking websites, most of them will click away as quickly as possible and moving on to your competitors. Therefore, having a modern website is essential to keep your website conversion alive.

 You have used a cheap, template website that looks dodgy. Failing to instil trust in the consumer or a potential lead is a real concern if your website is sending out the wrong message. Make sure your website has the following attributes that will build more trust, loyalty and therefore sales.

  • above all make sure the website looks attractive. Nothing worse than going to an ugly website. You know the ones I am talking about. hard to use, terrible graphics, incredibly slow, totally outdated.
  • Include client testimonials for proof that you are worthwhile and good at what you do.
  • Any associations or organisations you belong to that add credibility should be added to the site.
  • You have to have a physical address and phone number. Nothing looks more suspect than having no direct numbers and only a PO Box.
  • Make sure your branding is consistent. Keep colours the same across your site. Too many different colours will just dilute your brand. Also, avoid the use of too many stock images. Yes they are easy to get, BUT people are so so over them.


Website Design Mistake #2: No Prominent "Call to Action" Button

Your website definitely has a goal. Whether you want your visitors to sign-up for a mailing list, make a purchase, request a quote, or simply call you, there has to be an objective and you have to make it clear to your visitors what your goal is. In many cases, low conversion rates are a direct outcome of a call to action getting lost in the web design. You need to ensure that your call to action button stands out on the page and makes it easy for the visitors to take the desired action.

Website Design Mistake #3: Slow Loading Time (The Silent Sales Page Killer)

Slow page load time kills your website conversions. Nobody wants to wait for a page on a website to load. Web users expect a site to load in 2 seconds or less, and they tend to abandon a site that isn’t loaded within 3 seconds. A delay of even one second can reduce your conversions considerably. There are many reasons that contribute to a slow loading time. Among them few common reasons are outlined below:

  • Excessive use of Flash
  • Images are too big
  • Broken Links
  • Too many plugins in use
  • Bad Coding

You website loading speed should be as fast as a Ferrari. Here are some tips to reduce your page load time:Optimise your images

  • Minimise HTTP requests
  • Utilise server side caching
  • Limit 301 redirects

You have decided to go the cheap route with your hosting company. What may seem like a great idea now is going to end up being a real pain in the ass. Nothing is worse than your web hosting either continuously going down or being ridiculously slow. Either way it’s a real conversion killer. Spend the money on decent local hosting companies and you will have better site speeds and less downtimes. A slow website WILL AFFECT your Google rankings.

Website Design Mistake #4: Overuse of Colours

Colour can make or break your website conversion rates. Using too many colours can confuse your visitors. Understanding the colour psychology is essential to choosing the right colour for your website. Take a look at some of the colours below and the associated feelings they typically convey:

  • Light Blue: cool, youthful, masculine
  • Dark Blue: trustworthy, stable, mature, calming
  • White: pure, honest, clean
  • Green: comforting, growth, organic, positive go,
  • Pink: youthful, warm, feminine
  • Grey: integrity, neutral, cool, mature
  • Purple: youthful, royal, contemporary,
  • Yellow: emotional, caution, positive
  • Red: excitement, hot, danger, stop, negative,
  • Orange: organic, emotional, positive
  • Black: heavy, serious, death
  • Brown: organic, unpretentious, wholesome
  • Gold: stable, elegant, conservative

Remember, colours play a crucial rule in web design. They help to highlight buttons, links and even enhance the visitors overall web experience. Some of the golden rules are outlined below when selecting your website colours:

  • Keep the associated feelings for each colour in mind
  • Limit your palette to about 2 to 3 colours only.
  • When in doubt, choose ONE colour and then try different shade variations.


Website Design Mistake #5: Using Cheesy Stock Images

It’s no wonder that images are a fundamental part of website designs and modern readers are obsessed with visual media. You’ve probably heard it many times that they’re worth a thousand words and visual content drives more engagement. Yes you heard it right if the images are relevant, meaningful, high quality and authentic.

Using stock images undermines your credibility. Avoid using the cheesy stock photos as they can send the wrong message to your audience. Every image you use in your website need to have a purpose like pushing the visitors toward the conversion goal. Make sure you only use the meaningful, high quality, and relevant images where possible in your website.


Website Design Mistake #6: Poor Navigation

It doesn’t matter what you are selling and how much content, images, and video you have. You website navigation play an important role to convert the visitors into customers. Navigation is the only way to reach your products or services after the visitors arriving on your website.

If you appropriately executed the right navigation tactics, your visitors should smoothly find their way towards the action you want them to take, such as to subscribe, or to buy. If your website navigation is confusing, your audience will rapidly take the exit route and probably never come back to your website again. Therefore, your navigation should be easy for the visitors to find what they are looking for.

Keep your visitors to the right track by providing noticeable "calls to action," ensuring links are easily visible and lead to the right pages, and keeping enough breathing space.


Website Design Mistake #7: Website Not Responsive

Human behaviour has changed dramatically since mobile devices entered our lives. People use their smartphones or tablets on the go, in the bedroom, even in the bathroom. The number of people using mobile devices has now well outstripped people on desktop computers, therefore you cannot afford to ignore the responsiveness if you don’t want to lose potential customers. 

So, if your website is not responsive on all devices, then you will not be able will not be able to target those tablet and mobile users. Responsive design is a must, not a nice “to have” anymore.

Website Design Mistake #8: Cluttered Design

Too much complexity or clutter makes it tough for the visitors to absorb your marketing message. Excessive use of colours, images and styling makes your website cluttered. This is why it is crucial to deliver only the most important or necessary information above the fold basically, anything essential for making a decision or taking action, without any clutter.

As a rule of thumb, don’t give everything at once to your visitors. Instead, encourage them to browse on your site to learn more about you before trying to sell to them right away. This will not only help them get to know your brand but also they will be more likely to convert as they already spent so much time on your site.

Your design is just confusing. This is a real problem as the consumer is going to make up their mind whether they are going to buy from you within a few seconds. Don’t add to their indecision by making your site complicated. Keep your core unique selling point as simple as possible and make sure the user gets this message when they first land on your home page.

Like a retail shop if the passing consumer does not like what they see they will buy elsewhere. Simple as that. There is an issue with this. Choosing the right website design agency that knows how to design, based on your market is not so easy. Make sure you view their online portfolio of website work and see if its the right fit. 


Website Design Mistake #9: Using Too Many Plugins

Plugins helps a website to introduce new features or add new design to the website. Web designers can get so many free plugins from the internet to use in website. But, using too many plugins can increase your site loading time. We’ve already talked about the impact of slow loading. Too many plugins won’t benefit you either. Certainly, if the plugins are really required to make your site functional then only use them.

Sometimes people try to use different things, just because they can into their website, not because they really need to. Make sure you don’t use any extraneous stuff unless you absolutely need it to keep your page loading times fast.

Website Design Mistake #10: Choice Overload

Choice overload leads to choice paralysis. If your visitors can’t make the decision, they won’t take your desired action. There are many side-effects that you will experience when your visitors face the dreaded experience of choice overload. Some of the common effects are given below:

  • Customers buy less
  • Customers put less thought into choice
  • Less satisfaction

People who are given limited in options will be more to buy than those having too much choice. Therefore, reduce the number of choices your visitors encounter and remove the irrelevant or unnecessary links, ads if you want your visitors to take your desired action.


Website Design Mistake #11: Adding Too Many Banners

An over aggressive web design with large images and lots of banners makes the website appear as one big advertisement platform, which is a major turnoff for visitors and a clear obstacle for acquiring a high conversion rate. Even though banners are great revenue generator, they could be performing negatively when it comes to conversion. A simple redesign could accomplish the best conversion rates. Here are the few things you can apply to get over with this issue.

  • Limiting the number of banners on a page
  • Reducing the prominence and size of the banners
  • Highlighting relevant content and images


Website Design Mistake #12: Unreadable Copy

As much as images and videos control modern content, copy or text still play a huge role in persuading visitors to make a purchase. I have witnessed so many websites with weirdly-shaped fonts and large text blocks that are hard to read. While we are all a fan of customised and beautiful fonts, too much of a good thing is also bad.

Here’s how to fix it:

  • Choose legible font styles
  • Emphasise important information with bold
  • Write shorter sentences
  • Align text to left, not centre

Your website content is far too long. Rambling pages of copy are just going to bore the pants off the reader. It's the same way you feel when a person goes on and on about a topic. You may like them a hell of a lot, but after a while you just switch off. So be on topic with your copy BUT never write just for the sake of it. Snappy, sales on topic copy is what works best for time poor consumers.

You write your own copy. Nothing is worse than reading content that has been put together unprofessionally. Yes, you might have been great at English in school, but writing effective web copy for your consumer base is an entirely different matter. Make sure that you speak to your web developer about getting a copywriter to at least write the content for your main landing pages. Those pages that you want visitors to land on and buy from. Better web copy means higher conversion rates and guess what… more money for you.

Website Design Mistake #13: Not Having a Search Box

Websites that fail to include the search box are losing some potential customers those who are looking for specific information or items. They don’t want to use your carefully executed navigational links anymore because we are all busy and don’t have time to search manually. Trust me, your visitors aren’t even a little bit patient. Eventually, they will leave the page. Therefore, enable the search box option in your website to find the targeted items or information in no time. It works better if you have a large inventory.

Website Design Mistake # 14: Pages Not Optimised For Search Engines

You haven't optimised your website for the search engines. This is a real killer and one that many companies and businesses fail to do. They are either too lazy, do not know about it, or end up getting mixed up with a really bad SEO company. This is a huge area and one that all businesses should be very concerned about. After all, why even bother getting your website all beautifully designed with pretty pictures and great copy if it won't appeal to new customers?

Why? Because when they type in your product or service offering guess what happens? They find your competitors and not you. A real tragedy. 

Website Design Mistake # 15: Not Collecting Emails For Marketing

You are not collecting the names and email addresses of people who have been to your website and used this to market to them. Offer incentives for them to sign up and leave their details. You will find that your database will grow quickly and this is a great marketing opportunity NOT TO BE MISSED. Make sure you do follow through with your emailing campaigns.

Website Design Mistake # 16: No Sales Funnel!

Where is your sales funnel? Where do consumers go to buy? Many websites look great but lack one thing - the buying process. How to they pick and buy from you without getting lost on your site? How do they make an inquiry and how do they know you received it when they sent it?

These questions need to be addressed so that once there is a customer on your site, they find it super easy to make a purchase. A great looking website that is not making you money is a waste of time.

Here are a few tips that will help improve your sales process:

  • Make sure there are not too many fields to complete on your order forms.
  • Give them the opportunity of money back or free trials of the product – this will improve the trust factor by miles.
  • Again, as above add testimonials – if you can get video ones even better!


Website Design Mistake #17: Important Information Below the Page Fold

The page fold is the single most important aspect of the page layout that every designer must take into consideration while designing a website. Visitors decide whether a website is worth their time or not in as little as a few seconds. This means you have very little time to make an impression on your visitors, and this is where the importance of the page fold enters the picture. The golden rule of page fold is simple – all important information must be above the fold.

If your important call-to-action buttons or website messages are below the fold, the chances that your visitors will come across the information they are looking for are slim; very few of them will scroll down to check out the information below the fold the very first time they are visiting your site. If this happens, say goodbye to any chance of achieving an acceptable conversion ratio.



Bonus Tip: Click on everything... Rookie mistake! (Test everything on your site to make sure everything works!)

The Bottom Line:

  • If your website has more than a few of the above 17 website design mistakes, perhaps it’s time to consider a new design.
  • Use this blogpost as a checklist of website design mistakes to fix now and avoid in future.
  • Keep in mind that even the simplest mistakes can ruin your conversions right off the bat.
  • Avoid these 17 mistakes, and you will be well on course for creating a website that attracts plenty of traffic and exhibits a good conversion ratio.

I really hope this helped. Hey, have I missed anything here though? Drop me a note in the comments section below and let me know your thoughts. 

If you have any more ideas or points to share, feel free to do so in the comments section below!

Best, Phil


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Phil Adair Online Marketing

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Phil Adair is the host of one of the most downloaded online marketing podcasts on the internet. (Go here to subscribe and listen to The Online Marketing Strategies Podcast.)

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