It’s never been easier to DIY your own website! There are templates that make it easy to drag and drop elements, which people can use to create a finished website design. This is the draw of free DIY websites; however, they’re often not polished, attractive or professional.
DIYers often don’t have the knowledge needed to create a beautiful site and end up making novice-like mistakes. The mistakes range across issues such as technical problems, to typography, colors, and more. DIYers may also not utilize SEO optimization or even create responsive websites.
We’ve created a list of the most common mistakes made by DIYers.
Building a Site without a Purpose
No matter the type of website you’re building, it needs to have one or more reasons to exist. Every website needs a goal, whether that’s to have a place for visitors to learn about your business, an ecommerce site for sales, and more. The purpose/goal of a site needs to be considered before building the site.
During this part of the process, it’s helpful to think about what your website needs to do. Do you want it create sales, building up followers? Do you want to become an affiliate marketer? Just what do you want the site to do?
Not only does the website as a whole need to have goals/purpose, but each page does, too. And the goal can be different for each page—that’s OK. Even so, the goals should fit in with the ultimate goal of your website.
Creating an overall goal for the site, and individual goals for each page will give your site purpose. You’ll come up with a design that fits your goals, instead of a design that does nothing. You want the website to work for you in some way, so consider this before starting your site.
Make the Site Your Own
Many DIYers look for templates as a way to make things easier to design the site. Templates are great! Most people building their own sites can do a great job with these. The problem comes up with you don’t customize the template in some way.
This is important because you have to realize there are other people out there using the very same template. This is like writing books that have a different interior, but the cover is the same on all the books. It’s boring and confusing for site visitors.
So, to keep from falling into a trap of that kind, it’s important to switch things up a bit. That means using different colors, loading your own media and images, and using great content. These are ways to individualize the template, so it looks more unique on your own site. Plus, it will end up being a better fit for your business, too.
Don’t be afraid to mix things up and make the template unique for your site.
Using an Inconsistent Style
While each page on a site is unique, it still needs to share some aspects with the other page on the site. Each page should blend with the next. If not, then you’ve created an inconsistent style, which can be very frustrating and confusing for site users. They need to be assured they’re with the same brand when moving across the site, visiting different pages on the site.
Part of the confusion comes in if the colors, typography and other style elements are different across a site’s page. Site visitors clicking on a link may believe they’re on a completely new site if the colors and everything is different.
The goal is to make the user experience consistent across your site. Make sure each web page on the site looks similar to the others. This means colors need to be consistent, as well as menus and footers. Logos should be put in the same place on every page. The recommendation is to have the logo on the upper left corner of each page.
So, when developing your site, be sure to come up with a style guide. Once you have the style figured out, then stay with it. This way site visitors will know they’re still on your site. They won’t feel confused and leave.
Fail to Design the Site with Visual Hierarchy
This is another important design element that DIYers forget. It’s crucial to keep all important information for users at the top of the page, with other non-essential information placed further down on the page.
It’s a fact that most site users will not scroll down the page. If your most important information is placed there, they won’t even see it. So, page organization is extremely important. Then consider the fact that mobile site users don’t even have a page that’s very large.
The goal is to hook your site users’ attention quickly. This means placing the most crucial information at the top of the page. This also includes calls to action.
Calls to Action (CTAs) are Sometimes Forgotten
If you’re not sure what a call to action is, this is nothing more than words or content that are meant to get the site visitor or user to perform a specific action. This may be to buy something, sign up to a newsletter, and more. CTAs should be clear and easy to follow.
CTAs are usually best placed near the top of the page. The reason is you don’t want the site visitor to leave the page.
So, be sure to include a CTA and please these near the top of the page.
Site Loads Slowly
People (and search engines like Google) expect a website to load within seconds. Slow-loading sites do not meet this expectation, which leads site visitors to quickly leave a slow-loading site.
Slow websites can be caused by a number of problems including a site hosted on services with other sites. Other issues may include the use of too many plugins, large graphics, and more.
When designing your site, test its loading speed and make necessary changes. Otherwise you’ll end up in the bottom of the search results with little to no traffic.
Hiring a web designer may seem like it’s too expensive. We understand. However, the right way to look at this is that hiring a designer is actually an investment in your business. You’ll have the benefit of creating a beautiful website that draws in business that converts.
Liam is a website designer and digital marketer based in Leeds, West Yorkshire. He spent a decade working within the charity sector before moving into the marketing space a number of years ago. Liam always strives to do something slightly different with every project and always designs to deliver results, not just pretty websites.