Building and maintaining a successful website is one of the most basic and important tools in the modern economy. They serve the same purpose as a roadside sign, welcome mat, and a informational flyer in one central location.
That being said, there are a whole host of potential elements that can either be overlooked or underutilized. These elements generally fall under basic design, or advanced development techniques.
Below are potential problems that, if a developer or webmaster can be mindful of, will make for a higher quality and more responsive website.
The major function of any website is to convey information on a product, service, or topic. If the basic information for your purpose is not readily available, there is a high probability that any user will not use your site. For example, if you provide a service, make sure your portfolio and specialties are easily accessible. If you are a store, make sure your policies and contact information are readily available. If you are a blog or a reference style database, make sure your sources or influences are readily available. A clearly labeled and accessible “about” or “contact us” page that is easily identifiable is a simple and necessary element of any website. Buried information or misinformation can be the make-or-break of user experience, which in turn are a make-or-break for your exposure and, in turn, your reputation.
Lack of updates
Cybersecurity threats are everywhere, and your computer is not the only thing that can be targeted. With the recent adoption of https as a top domain standard, and many browsers analyzing the security of websites as a user browses, this is a major concern. Themes and plugins on websites need to be updated regularly just the same as your computer’s firewall. Thankfully, many website frameworks now offer auto-update options, and third party protections like CAPTCHA exist to help ensure that your site and users stay protected.
Relying on site builders
The numerous pre built templates in the drag-and-drop website building services have changed the way that people look at website building and design. While these services allow ease of management of the optics and content of a site, they become cumbersome to internet connections quickly. Every element added raises the number of lines needed to code a site. This, in turn, slows down the load time of a website. Slow load times diminish user experience, and just as the same as the “buried information” section, it hurts your exposure and reputation. Using professional assistance is always a sound decision for the best outcome.
Missing the point of design
Content and design are two of the most important optics of any website. However, many sites go completely overboard with lavish design elements that distract from the content. These elements can also hurt the load times from adding unnecessary code, and easily distract the user from the point of any content. However, minimalist designs can hurt even the best content. In an extreme example: a monochromatic design with masterfully written content can easily bore a user. Yes, in this case the content may keep the user engaged, but the poor design will cause their focus to wander in the long run. The art of design is to keep the user engaged in the visuals as much as the content. This artistry is what will guide your user to beneficial actions.
Not capturing information
Let’s be honest for a minute, branding is everything. A good brand is what keeps customers coming back time and time again. That being said, your website is the window to your brand, whether it be content, services, or goods. One of the best ways to increase this awareness is to continually be within the vision of your potential audience. Therefore, the easiest way to increase this visibility is a quick opt-in right from the homepage. A quick discount, contest entry, or exclusive content offer for an opt-in is the easiest way to capture information. This allows you to stay in the field of view of potential and current users, and increase your brand awareness.