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      7 Web Design Mistakes That Could Be Scaring Away Your Visitors


      What is keeping internet users up at night? It could be that scary movie they just watched, or worse yet, it could be your website.

      If you’ve got a digital presence decked out in a ghastly design, it’s likely robbing you of precious clicks, driving away potential customers, and sabotaging your chances of building a well-ranking, authoritative brand.

      The good news? You don’t need to be a web designer or an expert in web development to improve a weak website!

      In this guide, we’ll detail the seven design mistakes that could be scaring away your visitors — and how to fix them quickly, so you can make sure your website is all treats and no tricks.

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      1. Scary Slow Site Speeds

      For consumers browsing the internet, nothing is more spine-chilling than a slow-loading site. Before you can say “Boo!” they’ve abandoned your page, leaving you with irritated audiences and suffering engagement.

      In fact, page speed can be the make-it-or-break-it factor for the success (or failure) of your website, dramatically affecting everything from sales to sign-ups to search traffic.

      Visitors have high expectations: 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less, and 49% abandon a site that takes more than three seconds to load. Plus, 79% of online shoppers who have trouble with site performance say they won’t return to the site to buy again.

      Ouch. That’s a lot riding on your site’s load time and overall performance.

      Is your site (creepy) crawling? Use a tool like Google’s PageSpeed Insights to clue into your site’s performance and discover needed areas of improvement to achieve lightning-fast load times.

      Woman typing on computer

      We’ve also got a few tips to speed things up: trim down bulky code, patch up caching issues, optimize your site’s CSS, and perhaps most importantly, choose a quality web host.

      2. A Haunting User Experience

      Think about the last experience you had at a brick-and-mortar store. Did the floor layout, decor, and atmosphere invite and engage you? Or did tight aisles, overly-intrusive sensory elements or a labyrinth-like setup negatively affect your shopping experience? Whatever your experience, we’ll take a guess that it will largely determine whether you visit that store again.

      It’s the same with your website.

      The kind of experience users have on your site (from the second they land there) will affect how — and if — they engage with you. If your site contains nightmare navigation, unsavory design elements, or poor performance, visitors won’t stay long.

      Open laptop on table

      To craft and cultivate a positive user experience, make your navigation and drop-down menu intuitive so users can find what they’re looking for. Then follow aesthetically-pleasing design principles and keep site operations fine-tuned. If your visitors have an enjoyable experience on your site, not only will they be more likely to come back, they’ll engage with you and help you find site success.

      3. An Unresponsive Layout

      Ready for some hair-raising facts? Based on data from January 2018, the global population of unique mobile users reached 3.7 billion — yep, billion. What’s more, 52% of web internet traffic in 2018 was mobile, and the mobile-only audience is expected to grow to 55 million by 2022.

      Mobile internet usage is gaining significant traction, and will likely overtake desktop internet usage in the future. That means if your website is not optimized for different types of screens, including smartphones and tablets, you’re going to lose out on meaningful engagement from your target audiences.

      Plus, having a responsive site isn’t just important for user experience; it’s a critical element of your SEO strategy. Google operates on a mobile-first indexing policy, meaning the search engine predominantly uses the mobile version of website content for indexing and ranking. So, investing in a mobile-first approach to your web design is essential when it comes to optimizing for search engines and, ultimately, driving traffic to your site.

      Hands holding iPhone on black table

      Responsive design also affects your brand image. A whopping 89% of people are likely to recommend a brand after a positive experience on mobile. On the other hand, 46% of people say they would not buy from a brand again if they had a less-than-stellar mobile experience. What’s more, 57% of users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly-designed mobile site.

      The key takeaway here?  Prioritize a website optimized for mobile and responsive across devices and different browsers.

      4. Terrifying Typography

      You might not think the fonts on your site matter, but utilizing type haphazardly or without thoughtful intention is a major design flaw and affects the experience your visitors will have, even if just subconsciously.

      Just like with other elements of design, typography follows rules — dictating what text combinations, colors, font size, and layouts are aesthetically-pleasing and effective. Well-established typography can increase your conversion rates, build your brand authority, encourage action, amplify your message, and create a positive sensory experience. Consult our guide for typography to-dos, and plan your font strategy with meticulous consideration or else you risk interrupting usability and cognitive fluency.

      5. Ghostly Calls to Action

      When you enter a haunted house, you never quite know what you’re going to get. Zombie up ahead? Hidden skeletons behind the door? Unidentified noises behind you? As you’re feeling for the exit in the dark, you’re going to face a host of unexpected and spooky mysteries.

      Your website visitors shouldn’t feel like they’re having a haunted house experience when they enter your URL.

      When internet users land on your site, it should be free of mystery ghosts and ghouls. Meaning, visitors should know what to expect. They should know where to find a contact button, how to navigate your menu, and above all, what you want them to do — whether that’s read a blog post, subscribe to an email list, follow your social media platforms, or purchase a specific product.

      Product page on website with Add to Cart button

      Having a clear call-to-action button helps users know how to engage with you, vastly increasing the chances you’ll find success (and those boosted analytics you want!). Guide potential customers to a specific action with a clear, prominent, and well-distinguished icon or button and include it on all your pages and content.

      6. Spine-Chilling Safety Oversights

      Online users worry (a lot) about online safety. In fact, 73% of Americans who use the web are concerned about online privacy, so your website needs to be a safe space, free from creepy-crawly web demons and malicious malware.

      Person holding credit card near laptop

      First, outfit your site with an SSL certificate, giving your visitors the peace of mind that your website is secure. Even the presence of a safety badge or security can do wonders. Then, tighten security by using a quality web host, upgrading to HTTPS, utilizing secure plugins, configuring file permissions, and backing up your site regularly to keep site terrors at bay.

      7. CloakandDagger Content

      The fact of the matter is, you need to offer your website visitors value or else they have no reason to stay.

      With quality content, you provide users with a way to engage with you, helping drive traffic and build a following. But if your content is hard to find, sub-par, or (gasp!) nonexistent, you’re sabotaging your chances of success. Use the following tips to make sure you’re creating top-notch content.

      Embrace Your Niche

      Whatever field or industry you occupy, keep your content consistent for your target audience. Relevant content will build your brand and help establish your site as an authority amongst your competition, distinguishing you from the rest.

      Proofread

      Error-ridden content will brand you as an amateur. Stay professional by taking the time to edit and polish your content before hitting “Submit.” Clean content will go a long way toward establishing your brand.

      Offer Value

      Not only are attention spans shorter than ever, but often, visitors need a good reason to even engage with your site. Entice potential customers with incentives — whether that be free e-books, blog posts, printables, or insider tips — to get their eyes on your content.

      Person typing blog post on laptop

      Prioritize Consistency

      You don’t have to post content on your site every hour, but you should be posting regularly. Your visitors should know when to expect new content from you. This will build their trust — and your authority. Use a content calendar to plan, schedule posts ahead of time, and keep yourself organized.

      Fix Those Eerie Web Design Errors

      Don’t give your audiences the heebie-jeebies with poor website design. Offer them the best of online experiences with the virtual treat (we’re talking king-size candy bars here) of a well-designed website.

      Fixing those pesky web design mistakes will prime you for top-of-the-line placement in search engines, improve user experience, boost conversions, enhance site usability, lower your site’s bounce rate, and establish your online presence — plus, they won’t leave screaming.

      Sounds good, right?

      If you’re ready to makeover your website, trick-or-treat yo’ self to professional web design. We’ve partnered with RipeConcepts, one of the world’s leading web design firms, to make your dream site fast, easy, and affordable. Sign up for a free consultation today!



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      10 Web Design Lessons You Can Learn From StarWars.com


      Learning to wield a lightsaber. Building the Death Star. Destroying the Death Star. These are all very technical, difficult things. But a few lessons that we can learn from a galaxy far, far away that aren’t so tough? How to design a website, courtesy of StarWars.com.

      With the official fan site picking up Webbys, it’s obvious there’s plenty to emulate regardless of your star system. And while we don’t all have Disney’s pile of Imperial Credits, StarWars.com provides design takeaways for website owners on every budget. Here are the top 10.

      1. Clean Navigation

      StarWars.com is packed with tons of options. You can read up on the latest news, watch clips, and find games, to name a few. The amazing part isn’t the wealth of choices and information — it’s how easy it is to find it all.

      No matter what your site is about, having smooth and simple navigation is crucial. Design your site so that everything is categorized into logical groups, with straightforward navigation that allows visitors to jump from one section to another fluidly. And while there’s a lot on StarWars.com, the number of items in the top nav is limited, which prevents guests from feeling overwhelmed.

      2. Bold Graphics

      Can you imagine Star Wars without the opening crawl credits? And where would the flicks be without the Millennium Falcon going into hyper speed or Luke Skywalker facing off against Darth Vader? The striking, iconic images from the Star Wars films are a huge part of the series’ success. StarWars.com captures that bold, recognizable aesthetic on every page.

      The StarWars.com homepage

      Your site needs bold graphics to capture visitors’ attention. And although your logo probably doesn’t have global recognition, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t play it up. Make that front and center on your home page so that clients know they’ve come to the right place.

      Using custom imagery that is a fit for your site is also crucial since you want to use these photos to convey what your website is all about. If you rely on too many stock photos, it could make your site feel generic, and that’s never a good thing.

      3. A Smart Search

      One could spend days scrolling through all the content on StarWars.com — but an efficient search tool means visitors can find exactly what they’re looking for with just a few keystrokes.

      There’s no point in having great content if visitors can’t easily find it, and a strong search engine is the simple answer. Don’t think too hard about the design for this one — the standard magnifying glass icon works every time. The top right corner is the most popular location, so stick to that to make it easy to spot.

      The StarWars.com search bar

      4. A Call to Action

      In most cases, this is getting people to sign up for your newsletter or updates from your site. On StarWars.com, that button is at the top right corner of the page, and the site makes it a cinch to register for an account.

      Make sure the call to action on your site is equally strong and clear to find, with a design that naturally draws the eye toward it. After all, one of the main reasons to have a website is to make a sale or gather contact information from clients, and this is often the best way to do so. The form should be quick and easy to fill out. Finally, make the language of the call-to-action button clear, such as “Buy Now,” “Join,” “Sign Up” or “Download.”

      5. Informational Footer

      When visitors come to your site on a mission looking for something in particular, it should be quick and easy to find. A footer is the ideal solution — visitors expect to scroll down and find a wealth of information, and by putting it at the bottom of the page, it won’t disrupt your design.

      This is where you should include contact information, background on your company, and a lot more — here are 27 footer ideas.

      The StarWars.com footer

      But aside from all those helpful links, your footer’s design should be simple, clean, and easy to use, visually playing off the rest of the site. For example, StarWars.com features a subtle image of Darth Vader with a gray font. Simple touches like that tie the site together.

      6. Community Forum

      What’s the key to any successful film franchise? Their fans, of course. And StarWars.com gives them a place to virtually meet and mingle — they’ve got a “Community” tab, which has tons of information on how people can get involved, plus all things created by fans: organizations, blogs, news sites, podcasts, collecting sites, and fan film awards. StarWars.com also allows comments on blog posts; by allowing visitors to interact with each other, they’ve created another avenue for engagement.

      To get your audience engaged — with you and other visitors — create specific places on your website for interaction. This could even be as simple as a monitored message board just to get the conversation going.

      7. Good Fonts

      These should play off your logo and general aesthetic. However, don’t go overboard on a font that looks great but is hard to read. StarWars.com sticks to an easy-to-read font in white, which makes it pop from the dark background, and color is only used as an accent so it never feels overwhelming.

      The StarWars.com blog

      Make sure that the font you choose looks good across browsers and devices and that you have the rights to use it. If you need help narrowing down your options, check out this list of the 40 best Google web fonts. They’re all open source and completely free for commercial use.

      8. A Social Media Toolbar

      StarWars.com displays how to find their galaxy on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, and Google+ not once, but twice — with a toolbar at the top left of the home page and again with a “follow us” bar at the very bottom. They know the importance of building a following not just on their site, but across all social media.

      StarWars.com social icons

      There are more social platforms than ever before. Which ones should you use to promote your website?

      9. Engaging Videos

      From behind-the-scenes clips to a weekly digital series direct from Lucas Headquarters, StarWars.com has mastered the art of using videos to engage visitors. Luckily, you don’t need George Lucas to create footage of your very own.

      With all the easy-to-use programs out there, it’s easy enough to play director. Videos are a fun way to get your message across, such as explaining what your site or business is all about — and it tells the story in a faster and more engaging way than a ton of text can. Just make sure that you optimize your videos so they don’t slow down your site.

      10. A Mobile Site

      More and more people are surfing the net on their phones and tablets, so your site has to be equipped for more than desktop perusing. On top of that, Google now filters sites that don’t offer a mobile option for users. StarWars.com is designed to look just as good on a tiny screen as a big one. Make sure that your site translates across devices as well.

      You Don’t Need the Force to Design a Great Website

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