Date updated: 21 February 2024
Having analysed a huge number of websites over the past few years, I've noticed that a few mistakes tend to appear again and again. Have a read of the following article and make sure you aren't making the same mistakes on your website.
1. Your images are too large
Digital cameras and mobile phones are capable of producing large, high quality images. These are great for printing, but they can have a negative impact on website speed. Never upload photos directly from your camera or phone to your website. Instead, compress the images first with a software program like Adobe Photoshop or GIMP, or an online tool such as Tinify.
2. You are using low quality images
Although I just warned you about uploading high quality images to your website, it's not recommended to apply too much compression either. Too much compression can result in very small, pixelated images which will look blurry and unprofessional on your website. The key is to apply enough compression without compromising too much on image quality.
3. Your website isn't mobile-friendly
With such a wide variety of devices used for browsing the internet nowadays, it's essential that your website's design is responsive, especially on mobile. By “responsive”, I mean that your website should work well on devices with different screen sizes (desktop, laptop, tablet, mobile), orientations (portrait, landscape), and internet connections (wi-fi, 3G, 4G). Most website builders allow you to preview your website on at least two views (desktop and mobile), but it is always better to test on a real device. And if possible, get a friend to test it on their phone or computer too.
4. No SSL certificate
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is a technology that encrypts the data which is sent to and from websites. When an SSL certificate is installed, the address of the website begins with https://. If there is no SSL, the address begins with http:// and the browser will display a warning message, or the website may even be inaccessible. Non-secure websites are less common nowadays, but if your website doesn't have an SSL certificate installed, check if you can purchase one from your hosting provider.
5. Broken links are present
Have you ever clicked on a link and got the "404 page not found" error? That error indicates that the link is broken. Broken links are frustrating for website visitors, and they can also affect SEO (search engine optimisation). Go through all of the links on your website and check that they are working. If you find a broken link, update it to point to the correct page, or remove it entirely.
6. URL slugs are not optimised
The “slug” is the part of a web page's URL that comes after the domain name. So in the example below, the slug would be common-website-mistakes:
- Example 1: https://sybiltec.com/common-website-mistakes
By default, the slug is usually generated based on the title of the page. So if your page has a very long title, you could end up with a URL like this:
- Example 2: https://sybiltec.com/the-20-most-common-website-mistakes-and-how-to-avoid-them
Or sometimes, the slug is generated from the post ID of the page, like this:
- Example 3: https://sybiltec.com/?p=956
Examples 2 and 3 are not SEO-friendly. Example 2 is too long, and Example 3 isn't helpful to search engines as the slug doesn't describe what the page is about. You would want to create something like Example 1.
So whenever you are creating a page, check the slug that is generated and amend it accordingly. Tip: you can use the SERP Snippet Optimization Tool from HigherVisibility to create the optimum length of URL for your web page.
7. Your website is not indexed in search engines
If your website isn't receiving traffic from search, it could be that some or all of your web pages haven't been indexed. This is more common when a website is new, as it takes time for search engines to discover your website and crawl its pages. If you don't take any action, the pages will get indexed eventually, but it is possible to speed up the process. Connect your website to Google Search Console and submit your website's sitemap. Google Search Console is a free tool provided by Google that helps you to track your website's search performance. Read my article, How to Use Google Search Console: a Quick Guide, for further information on how to use the tool.
8. Your website is too slow
Ensuring that your website loads fast is of utmost importance when it comes to user experience and SEO. Your customers don't want to be kept waiting and if they find your website to be too slow, they will likely leave it and go to a competitor's website. Website speed can be affected by a range of different factors, including large images (as I mentioned in point 1). If you own a WordPress website which is suffering from long loading times, please refer to my article, "10 Reasons Why Your WordPress Website is Slow".
9. The contact form doesn't work
Have you wondered why you aren't receiving any enquiries through your website? It may be that your contact form isn't working. Do a quick test by sending a message through the contact form and check your inbox for a notification that you've received a new enquiry. If you didn't receive any notification, check the configuration of your contact form and test it again.
10. The copyright year isn't current
This is a minor issue, but an out of date year in the copyright notice in the footer of your website can make it look as if your business is inactive. Some website builders allow you to add code which displays the current year automatically, but if yours does not, you will need to update it manually every year.
When creating a website, there are many things that need to be taken into consideration. If these factors are overlooked, you could end up with a website that looks unprofessional, is not SEO-friendly, or doesn't provide your customers with the best user experience. In this article, I outlined 10 common pitfalls of website design and how they can be avoided.
If you need help with improving your website, why not contact me for a free consultation?