Web Design is one of the biggest ways that people fuel the web traffic which they rely upon. That’s why good web design is a moving target. To be good at it, a web designer has to view and understand lots of different examples of great web design, then implement these features into his or her design decisions. These are the kinds of insights that make web design companies like WSI successful, the ability to link trends and classic design elements, and link them to measurable results from real customers and web users.
It’s not an easy job, but there are many people who do it well. Still, there are also a lot of people who don’t do it well, and the bad habits they keep are easy to notice online when you know what to look for. End users don’t always recognize these mistakes and bad-choice examples as problems in and of themselves; they may simply result in a bad experience which the user doesn’t want to replicate. But good design results in repeat traffic. Here are three ways that lots of web designers are hurting their traffic.
1. Cluttered Elements: “Streamlined Modern” is one of the most popular design terms today in modern web design. This way of doing things emphasizes clear communication with the end user. And it has been championed by the best stuff that Apple produced over the last decade. Many people have commented about how you don’t have to learn how to use an iPad, you just have to pick one up and start tapping around. This isn’t because the people who use the device are geniuses. It’s because the design is great. Your website needs to function the same way, and one of the best ways is to ensure that it is not cluttered, giving the user a clear path to the content they need.
2. Too Much Content: Everybody has seen news aggregators which have hundreds of available articles and ads on every page. It takes a lot of traffic and a lot of know-how to do this right. For everyone else, it’s important to curate materials so that a reader, user, or viewer can find good content within a few seconds of stumbling across your site for the first time. If everything is organized in a messy way, with too much information accessible at all times, then this is going to be confusing to the user.
3. Pesky Advertising: Some websites are very forward in their advertising, demanding subscription fees to view content and asking for personal information at every turn. These elements may be present, but they have to be courteous. For instance, instead of asking for an email address to make an article viewable, why not ask for the email after 45% of the article has been read? There are lots of WordPress plugins and sophisticated ideas about how to make advertising a lot more bearable for your end user.
There are obviously a million more ways that design can help or hinder traffic, but these are the ones that stand out during recent surveys, at least to this author.