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“If you build it, they will come”.

For many, this quote is most associated with Kevin Costner and the film ‘Field of Dreams’. However, these famous words were actually first spoken by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1938, about the building of the Panama Canal.

However, in the world of website design, the sentiment in these words could not be further from the truth. Even if you build it and they do come, if your website is not well-designed, they will leave faster than they arrived.

Google Analytics defines the percentage of single-page visitors to your site as the ‘bounce rate’. If you're asking yourself, "why is my bounce rate so high?", the good news is that by fixing the following 10 common design mistakes, you can encourage your customers to stick around and buy more from your website.

1. Your Design Is Outdated

When it comes to web design, unfortunately, we are all pretty fickle. If your website looks like it has been beamed in from 1984, people are not going to get all nostalgic – retro chic simply doesn’t apply to web design.

Similar to how a pin-sharp suit or a tailored dress might work for you, a website with the ‘right look’ can help to create a sense of trustworthiness. Therefore, if your website’s design is starting to look old and tired, it’s time to seriously start considering a site-wide face lift.

2. Your Content Is Difficult to Read

Web design isn’t just about images, colours and fancy graphics. The easier your text is to read, the more likely people are to stick around. Therefore, the fonts you use, plus good spelling and grammar, are all key components in earning more conversions.

In terms of choosing which fonts to use, there are no rules set in stone. That said, you should look to avoid using fonts that are too complex or overly harsh on the eye. Wherever possible, you should also look to create clean, high-contrast colour combinations between the font you use and your choice of background.

3. Your Navigation Structure Is Unclear

When you designed your website, did you think the navigation through from the point of view of your customer? Adopting this mindset is the number one rule of site navigation design. And if you did not take these initial steps, your potential customers will be the first suffer.

If you act now to re-arrange your site’s navigation, with your user’s needs at the forefront of your mind, you can stop potential customers leaving in their droves. UserTesting tools are great for finding out where your visitors are having trouble accessing the information they are looking for on your website.

4. Your Site Lacks Personality

What is the first thing you look for in a new friend? The correct answer to this question should be a good personality. Many people, sometimes without realising, will look for the same thing when they encounter a website for the first time.

Think about what personality you want to convey to new customers. Is a sense of professionalism the most important thing? Or, are you trying to come across as warm and approachable? Once you’ve decided the type of personality you wish to convey, the design - and by extension, the personality - your website will need to reflect this.

It’s also important to note that the type of personality you choose to express will need to complement the product or service that you offer. If it doesn’t, today’s switched on customers will suss you out and you’ll lose credibility in an instance.

5. Your Site Is Too Slow

Research indicates that 47% of customers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less. What’s more, 40% of customers abandon a website if it takes more than three seconds to load. Three seconds doesn’t sound like a lot, but in terms of page speed, it can make or break your website.

Google Developers have created a PageSpeed Insights tool to help provide you with the information you will need to fix web pages that are slow to load. Even if you’re confident your website is a fast-loading phenomenon, we suggest you check this tool out, just to make sure

6. Your Product’s Benefits Aren’t Clear

As the old adage goes, “features tell, benefits sell”. It’s simple: if your benefits are not clear enough, your website will suffer. Yet too many e-tailers still focus on complex features when selling their products and services online.

It’s hard to imagine that many people get excited about the purchase of a new bed, for example. What people are really looking for is a good night’s sleep. Therefore, you must go beyond simply listing features and tell your customers what your product will allow them to do.

7. Your Site Isn’t Responsive

Two in three UK adults now own a smartphone, and it’s changing the way people shop online. For this reason, Google dropped a major update to its mobile search algorithm in April. To mark the occasion, we created a blog outlining 10 reasons why your website must be mobile-friendly.

Responsive design is recommended by Google because it ensures your website’s content has a single URL and HTML across all devices, including mobile. This, in turn, helps customers to fully engage with your website, irrespective of the device they are using. So if you haven’t made the switch to responsive design yet, now is definitely the time to do so.

8. Too Many Ads (Including Pop-up Ads)

When you’re searching for stuff online, do pop-up ads get on your nerves? If the answer is yes, you’re not alone, as a massive 95% of users admit to hating pop-up ads.

Even so, lots of well-known sites still use them, with Forbes being a culprit that springs immediately to mind. People hate pop-up ads because it prevents them from reaching the content they clicked-through for quickly. For this reason, if you still use them, it might be time for a re-think.

9. There Is No ‘About Us’ Page

If your website successfully interests potential customers in your products or services, many will naturally head over to your ‘About Us’ page. For this reason, the About Us page is one of the most frequently viewed on any website.

Not only that, but the page represents your best chance to convince your customers they are making the right choice by buying from you. As a result, an ‘About Us’ page is another key factor that can make or break your website.

10. You Never Give a Clear Call-To-Action

Within digital marketing circles, it’s no secret that high converting landing pages often possess a very strong call-to-action. Yet according to Small Business Trends, 70% of small business B2B websites lack a solid call-to-action. However, call-to-actions are an essential way of prompting site visitors to take the action you desire.

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