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The first thing that springs to mind when it comes to a website is the design. It’s one of those things you don’t think about until someone points out a flaw in your site and how it might affect your SEO. 

The truth is, there are many mistakes that can take place from the beginning stages of web development all the way through to marketing so what we’ll be discussing today are some common mistakes made by businesses that will have an impact on their SEO strategy. 

You have only one shot to impress your potential users. According to web design research, a visitor takes only 50 milliseconds (0.05 seconds) to form an opinion about your website. 

So, you have to design your website in a way that can help visitors to form a positive opinion in less than a minute and visit your site again and again. 

But that is only possible if you stop making common website design mistakes right away. There are over 1 billion active websites available on the internet today. Thus, to make your presence known among so many great websites, you need an aesthetically stunning and SEO-rich site. In fact, a poor website design can hurt your SEO score and instantly drop your search engine ranking. 

But no need to worry. This post will walk you through the top website design mistakes that you can avoid in 2023 to grow. So, let’s get started. 

The Best SEO company in Missouri

Mistake 1. Stop Using Flash

Planning to use Flash for your website? Stop right there. The Flash era ended back in 2010 with Steve Jobs’s open letter – Thoughts on Flash. 

Mobile designs on paper. Stop using flash.

Further, for SEO purposes, Flash is the worst website design technology. It won’t allow users to create URLs for separate pages and doesn’t help to monitor outbound links. Flash-based websites are harder for Google to read, which eventually impacts the website rankings. 

So, avoid using Flash to design your website in 2023. Instead, use WordPress that allows users to better optimize websites for SEO and has millions of pre-made beautiful templates to design a stunning website. 

Mistake 2. Poor Navigation 

Whether you want to provide a good user experience or boost SEO ranking, poorly done navigation systems can hurt your website. If you have hidden navigation in the hamburger menu or don’t have a proper navigation structure, users and search engine crawlers can’t move around your site. 

Therefore, I recommend website designers go for the classic navigation menu embedded on the top of the screen. Further, create XML sitemaps to help search engines easily navigate your website. 

An XML sitemap is a file that contains addresses for your web pages, which is easily accessed by search engines. With WordPress, you will automatically get a basic XML sitemap for your website. But you can always customize your website sitemaps for better reach. 

Mistake 3. Too Much, Too Less Content 

Content is the perfect opportunity to embed keywords on a site and tell visitors about your brand. Thus, it is important to have a moderate amount of content on your website. Because too much or too little content can hurt your website SEO. 

If you use big paragraphs and long sentences on the website, it will never appeal to visitors. Always remember online people skim through content. So, provide them with short and informative website content.

However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t add content to your website. Because search engine crawlers understand the text better than images, videos, or other formats. 

Thus, you need small but precise text on your website, such as:

  • Remove all the useless text
  • Use Images in between text blocks 
  • Create engaging headlines using keywords 
  • Use short paragraphs, etc. 

For example, when Imagescape reduced their form fields from 11 to 4, they observed a 160% increase in their submission forms (Source: Conversion Cow). 

So, the best website design rule is to have only important content on the site. 

Mistake 4. Keywords Stuffing 

Keywords are indeed the most important way to SEO optimize your site. But this doesn’t mean you should go crazy with your keywords and add a keyword in every sentence. 

Keywords stuffing will only make your website look robotic and way too promotional, which isn’t appreciated by Google or users. 

Plus, nowadays, Google goes by intent. Googlebot is very smart; it can understand your content’s intent. So, no need to use exact keyphrases in the website content; you can little tweak your targeted keywords to fit in the sentence without looking stuffed. In fact, Google encourages you to be more creative with your writing. 

Also, 1% to 1.5% keyword density is perfect for SEO optimize your site. That means if your whole web content is 1000 words, 10 or 15 times keyword mentioning is fine. 

Keyword written with other scrabble letters surrounding it.

One more thing, try to evenly distribute keywords in your website, such as:

  • Add keywords in headings or subheadings
  • Put keywords in the paragraphs 
  • Use keywords on hero image, etc. 

Mistake 5. Too Many, Too Fewer Images

Like the text, too many or too few images can also ruin website design for SEO. Visual search is the next big thing, which is expected to reach $14,727 million by 2023 (Source: SEO Troupe). 

When you don’t use images in your content, it will make your website dull. But adding too many photos to your website design can reduce the website load time. Thus, you have to be very precise while adding images to your website, such as:

  • Ensure images are relevant to your website design and structure 
  • Use original images instead of stock photos 
  • Use infographics that can provide information and visual elements 

Infographics are the most shared type of content and can increase web traffic by 13%.

  • Crop and resize photos to fit the website design 
  • eCommerce sites should put multiple images of a product 
  • Use numerous styles of icons to create attractive CTA sections, etc. 

As per the latest research on web design, the most frequently used graphics are original. Source: (Many Pixels)

Mistake 6. Too Many Ads and Popups 

For many bloggers and affiliate marketers, running ads on the websites is a great revenue source. Now, there’s no harm in running ads on your site for a little side income. But don’t get too greedy with ads. 

In my opinion, three ads on a page or post are more than enough. Because too many ads will ruin the user experience and slow down a website’s load time. So, refrain from adding too many ads to your website. And try to place ads on sidebars so it won’t annoy the visitors. 

Similarly, popups can be super annoying. I totally hate when a sudden popup appears on a website while I am reading something important. Now, I get it is important to add popups to sell your products or increase the email subscribers list, but adding two or three different popups on a website is too much. 

So, I strongly recommend using one popup on your entire site. In fact, use intent-based popups that trigger only when a visitor plans to leave your website. 

Mistake 7. Not Social Integrating 

This is not a website design mistake but a major blunder. Adding social media buttons is highly crucial today to drive organic traffic to your site. Simply because social media is the biggest source of off-page SEO. 

Plus, people want to connect with the brands before making purchases. As per a new Sprout Social research, 1 in 3 customers use social media to find new products or services. In addition, 1 in 4 consumers use social media to buy new products. 

That means to please search engines and attract new users, adding social media buttons on your website is a must. 

Mistake 8. Slow Website 

If your website doesn’t load up fast, you are doomed. In fact, 57% of visitors will abandon your website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. 

Also, Google is very serious about website speed. It is one of the vital SEO ranking factors for Google. So, make sure to design your website while maintaining a good speed. 

Here are a few tips to improve website speed: 

  • Get a reliable hosting provider like Bluehost, GoDaddy, and others. 
  • Optimize images and videos before uploading them to your website. 
  • Make sure all codes are clean and crisp. 
  • Use CDN to improve your website loading time. 
  • Check plugins and themes syntax before using it, etc. 

Mistake 9. Too Many Elements 

Designers discussing website layouts

It is important to provide complete information on your web pages. But it doesn’t mean you should add multiple sections and buttons to your site. 

Never-ending websites can annoy users and search engines. Thus, try to add only relevant elements on a web page. 

However, if you offer multiple services or products, split your website into different sections. This way, visitors can open the sections that they want to check out. Plus, splitting web pages will improve the website speed and make search engines happy. 

Mistake 10. Bad CTAs

Don't Use Bad CTAs

Call-to-action (CTA) buttons help guide visitors to take action and convert on your eCommerce site. These buttons guide users to complete their business goals, such as buying products, making an appointment, or registering an event (Ex: Click here! Get coupons! Find out more about this product!) Obviously, it is very important that your CTA buttons clearly tell visitors what they should do. They should include enough information for visitors to know what they will get from taking action and what they need to provide.

On the other hand, there’s a fine line between being useful and annoying. Design your CTA so it is brief and tells customers exactly what to do. Keep the information needed to be filled to a minimum and give visitors a few minutes on your site before letting the CTA appear.

Mistake 11. Unfriendly Mobile Website

Another common web design mistake is creating websites that don’t work on mobile phones.

An interesting fact says that between February 2019 and March 2020, the internet market share was:

  • Mobile (52.03%).
  • Desktop (45.32%).
  • Tablet (2.65%).
Unfriendly Mobile Website

These numbers show that the number of mobile users has surpassed the number of desktop users. It means that more people now access the web from their smartphones than they do from their computers.

Another important reason to invest in a mobile-friendly design is that it is one of the ranking factors of Google. This is mainly so because the company wants to provide its users with a good experience.

And if you have a site that is not mobile-friendly then you may miss the opportunity to increase your traffic and boost your conversions.

Mistake 12. No Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS)

Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is a protocol whose function is to keep your website as well as the communication and client data safe.

Not investing in it can have many disadvantages.

While only 58.8% of websites use it, studies show that hacker attacks happen every 39 seconds.

This is one of the most common web design mistakes to avoid because if your website gets hacked it may lead to:

  • Loss of important information and files.
  • Financial loss.
  • Damaged reputation.
  • Misuse of client data.

However, another downside of not using HTTPS protection is that without it you are missing the chance to increase your revenue.

Even if your prospects are at the bottom of the sales funnel and are ready to buy your products or services, they may not convert because they won’t share their personal info including bank card details to a non-secure site.

To Sum Up 

There you have it. Now, you know what not to do while designing your website. 

Just remember one thing, user experience, and SEO move together. So if you design a user-friendly website, it will automatically make your website SEO-friendly. 

So, I will now let you go! Meanwhile, if you have any suggestions to make an SEO-rich website, jot them down below. 

Contact Matchbox Design Group Today!

If your website could use a refresh or you’re looking to drive more traffic to your site, fill out the form below and we’ll contact you to learn more about your digital needs.

Categories:  St. Louis Website Design

About the Author

James McMinn

Senior Digital Strategist

James is a savvy digital marketing specialist with a Masters of Science in Internet Marketing. For the past fourteen years, he has been specializing in SEO, PPC & Marketing Strategy. He has a super sharp analytical mind and a finely tuned creative eye for marketing initiatives that optimize brands.

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