5 Reasons Your Website Isn't Working—and How to Fix It
At The 2019 NAMM Show, Madison Revell, lead designer for marketing firm Inbound AV, shared trade tips to help music businesses enhance their websites. Revell cited the five most common website design mistakes and offered easy solutions through simple design hacks. According to Revell, if your website looks good, then your business and brand looks good. (Watch the full video for real-life website redesigns.)
PROBLEM #1: TOO MUCH CONTENT
Too much content on a web page can be overwhelming to the eye. Plus, it can take too long to digest, and viewers will lose interest, as they’re used to scanning website content. Avoid throwing everything you’ve got in your audience’s face all at once. It’s hard to break down and prioritize what the most critical piece of information is when your pages are crowded.
Solution: Create Breathing Room
1. Create quality over quantity content. Use bite-sized content, especially for your home page. Strip away content.
2. Create negative space. This lets the brain relax because it doesn’t have to sort through as much information. This also creates a more positive experience for your audience because it takes less time to process fewer shapes and content on the page.
3. Adhere to content hierarchy. Prioritize the most critical, need-to-know information.
• Branding: Make your logo and branding clear from the get-go.
• Main feature: Choose the product, service or information to highlight first.
• CTA: Use a Call to Action button, such as Learn More, Get Started or Buy Now, to drive traffic where you want it.
• Contact info: Make your contact information clear and easy to find.
• Imagery: Use stunning and relevant imagery that captures the eye. Be sure to use high-resolution images that capture the feel of your brand and make your website come alive.
PROBLEM #2: WRONG MESSAGE
Check your site for irrelevant or misleading content. Content that isn’t clear, relevant or accurate can hurt your site’s performance. Avoid confusing visuals. Graphics or imagery that don’t make sense will leave users feeling confused. Also, beware of a loss of interest. If your message is wrong for your audience, they’ll lose interest.
Solution: Remember Your Audience
1. Define your demographic. Know who you’re serving, in terms of age, income, interests, hobbies and so forth. Get to know your audience by clearly defining its needs.
2. Make sure your content is clear. Your content should clearly convey your message, product or service. Don’t make it hard for the audience to connect to what you’re saying.
3. Use visuals that make sense. Use imagery and graphics that match your brand and content. You can still have fun with your images, but don’t leave your audience with a question mark.
PROBLEM #3: INCONSISTENCY KILLS
A sloppy website reflects poorly on your business and brand. Inconsistencies in the details can be the biggest website killers. Viewers get the impression that you conduct business in a sloppy way. Without consistency in your website display and style, any sense of brand identity also gets lost. Your website should shout your brand.
Solution: Find a Balance
1. Fonts. Stick to a main legible font, only adding a secondary font if needed. It will help ensure the page stays clean. Variation in fonts makes it harder for your audience to break down so many pieces of information.
2. Type size. Keep your type size consistent! Set point sizes for headers, subheaders, text, CTAs and so forth. Stick to those sizes.
3. Colors. Limit yourself to a main color, secondary color and two neutrals. When you’re deciding on colors for your website, Revell recommended you pick no more than four colors and combine them to tie together into a cohesive color scheme.
4. Imagery. Use high-resolution images always. Make sure your imagery is relevant and appropriate.
PROBLEM #4: UNRESPONSIVENESS
An unresponsive website makes you look out of touch and limits your audience. As a result, you’ll miss out on a huge portion of your potential customers. Plus, it hurts functionality. It hurts your business when customers can’t access a link or button on your website using a mobile phone.
Solution: Design With Mobile-Friendly in Mind
1. Welcome to 2019. A mobile-friendly website shows users you’re paying attention to their needs.
2. Provide a wider reach. Creating a responsive site lets you significantly reach a greater audience through multiple devices. Make your website as diverse as possible.
3. Ensure flexibility. Mobile-friendly gives you more wiggle room for what you want your site to accomplish. You can expand your users’ experiences with extra elements and finesse, such as mobile-user exclusives and proprietary apps with direct downloads.
PROBLEM #5: USERS LOSE THEIR WAY
Without user-friendly guidelines to find specific information, viewers get lost. Giving users too many options with little to no direction can cause confusion. And a lack of visual cues will stunt web traffic to desired pages or products.
Solution: Make Navigation a Breeze
1. User experience. Guide users through your site in a way that makes sense. You’re establishing a personal relationship with your customer by taking care of them through easy navigation.
2. Scanning-friendly. Remember the points about content? Think low quantity, high quality! It helps your users as they move through your website.
3. You are here. Give users visual cues to get where they need to go: icons, CTAs, sliders, arrows, search icon and underlined text links.
DIY DESIGN: TASKS
You can take control of these items to refine your website. If you do, you’ll find that it functions much better.
• Quality content. Prioritize your website’s space and information.
• Audience-minded. Craft your message to cater to your website’s audience.
• Balanced. Consistency is key, from fonts to colors to imagery.
• Responsive. Remember the power of a responsive website.
• Easy navigation. Make sure your users can find what they’re looking for.