There are lots of things that can drive marketers crazy. Unsolicited sales calls, poorly targeted vendor emails, and missing out on the last slice of pizza in the break room.
One of the main pain points we experience comes when working with websites. A web design fail, you might say. There are lots of elements that go into a good website, and lots of subjectivity too. We blogged recently about the elements of a marketing-optimized website. With that in mind, here are a few of our most notable web design fails. The things that make us go “ugh” when setting up a campaign or considering a strategy.
- Bad metadata
Not only is metadata important for accessibility and SEO, good metadata supports social sharing, social media engagement and more. Having appropriate (and not duplicate) page titles and descriptions helps marketers save time and users have a better experience. Even better? Ensure you have appropriately sized images on every page. This way, platforms like Facebook and Twitter will have something appropriate to feature when links to your website are shared.
- Bad responsive design… or worse…no responsive design
I believe I can speak for everyone who uses websites when I say that responsive design should be a given. For marketers, non-responsive design can increase bounce rates, decrease conversion rates, and leave users with a frustrating experience. Bad responsive design can exist in a number of ways, from a page loading so small that you can’t read the words, to forms that get super tiny and hard to click when users are on mobile devices. In any case, having a site that looks good on mobile and other devices is well worth it.
- Lack of engaging content
Not only can bad copy (e.g. too much jargon, unclear about site’s purpose) be a hurdle for marketers. But a lack of engaging, value-adding content can also put a strain on our efforts. If you’re interested in an inbound marketing strategy, content is invaluable. Oftentimes, we may discover that there is no balance between value-adding content and purely sales-driven content on an organization’s blog or website. It’s hard to build trust when you’re being sold to. Plus, interesting soft-sell content helps support marketing tactics like email and social media.
- Bad visual design
Low-res imagery, style inconsistencies (weird spacing/indents, multiple fonts, too many font colors), overall busy look and feel. All of these things can lead to problems for marketers. Bad design can even affect conversion rates in a big way. Something as simple as the color of a button can increase rates by up to 20%. Be wary of how the look of your site can affect results. Utilize A/B tests to help you understand your specific performance. Measure your progress against benchmarks.
- Confusing navigation
As marketers, one of the most frustrating web design fails is navigation. We want a website that is as easy for prospects to navigate as possible. Having easy-to-find contact information, about pages, and conversion points is a must. The last thing you want is for someone to land on your homepage and not know what to do. From an SEO perspective, making sure you don’t have Orphan pages and other SEO-no’s is a must as well.
- Accessibility issues
If you’re not yet familiar, web accessibility is one of the more important changes to the web design landscape. While having an accessible site benefits your organization through inclusivity alone (over 7 million americans are affected) there are a number of other benefits, not the least being SEO. Compliant websites must have clean HTML5 with CSS3 code and current code libraries. A benefit to clean code is enhanced SEO performance, as clean code allows the Google spider to index content easily.
All in all, websites are a complex ecosystem with a lot of moving parts. They affect almost every aspect of your business. If you go into it with a “set and forget” mentality, you’re not putting your best foot forward. Keeping your foundation sound, your content updated, and your website organized can go a long way for the success of your marketing efforts.
is the Director of Digital Marketing Services and is completely obsessed with the ups, downs, ins and outs of the digital landscape. You’ll know it’s her by her “irresistible” fake British accent and steady stream of quips. Remember, if you didn’t ‘gram it, it didn’t happen. Follow her on Twitter @SJohnsonRI.