When thinking about which elements you want incorporated into your website or when outlining what content you want included, keep in mind these common design mistakes to make your website more appealing to your visitors.
Links are not obvious
The internet is called the internet because all the content is “inter-connected.” This is possible through “links” whether they are image or text-based. Visitors to your site would like to navigate your content, but if your links are hard to see (same color and style as the rest of the text), then your visitor will leave your site. Make your links easily visible to increase time spent on your website. You may also consider interlinking your pages to each other as a method of optimizing your website.
We’ve all visited websites where background music is playing, right? For most people, it’s an annoying distraction that should be avoided. It’s not proper “netiquette.” Many visitors are using a computer in a public location and are embarrassed when music, they did not click on, blares over the speakers. Or perhaps they may be listening to their own media, and therefore don’t find it polite to be interrupted with another audio stream. The same holds true for sermons playing as soon as the website loads. Be courteous to your visitors and let them make the decision to play your audio files when the time is appropriate.
When composing your content for your website, keep in mind you’re writing for an online medium, not a print magazine or book.
For internet content, your text should be broken up into smaller paragraphs, preferably with headings. This makes your content “scannable” and easier for your visitors to find what they are looking for.
Small font size
Using really small fonts is a big deterrent to many visitors. Combine this with line after line of text, and most visitors will leave your site before reading the first sentence.
Typing in all CAPS
In the digital age, typing in all CAPS usually implies the writer is shouting or angry. If something you write is really important, try making it bold instead of SHOUTING IT! Also, all CAPS text is much harder to read and is many times skipped over (think of legal documents).
If your goal for your website is to make money from advertisers, then you can ignore this paragraph. However, if the main focus of your website is to inform visitors about your ministry, then advertisements on your website will be a distraction and will “cheapen” your testimony. If you have a website with a “free” hosting company, you have ads on your web pages. If your ministry’s only online presence is a Facebook page, you have ads on your pages. To have an ad-free website, you would need to pay for your own hosting service.
When compiling the content you want displayed on your website, take extra care to ensure it’s organized. The more organized the content is, the more organized the website design process will be. Disorganization leads to poor navigation on the website. This will frustrate your visitors as they struggle to find what they’re looking for. Also, many unprofessional designs result in inconsistent appearances from page to page. For example the navigation links may be on the top of one page but then on the left on another page. This visual disorganization will also put your ministry website at a disadvantage.
Speaking of content, make sure you keep your audience in mind as you organize your text and images. What types of visitors do you expect or are trying to target? Anticipate what visitors are looking for and then add it to your content. If you consistently get emails that ask the same question, it’s a good indication that it’s not answered on your website. Here’s a list of ideas you may want to consider.
Most internet users are like little kids: they want pictures with their text. Pages and pages of text are fine in a book, but on the internet pictures are needed to break up the monotony. However a common mistake is to use cheap graphics. The main types being used are “animated GIF” files or “clipart.” The animated GIFs are moving images displaying things like waving flags, burning fire, revolving crosses, etc, while the clipart looks like a cheap logo design. If you want your website to look first-class, then stay away from these elementary graphics. Instead use high-quality, professional photographs or illustrations on your website.
I know there are many more “no-nos” in the website design world, but this list reflects the most common culprits. If you’ve been doing your ministry’s website yourself and are guilty of a few of these mistakes, then most of these are a simple fix. Or if you’d prefer to lessen your load, let Calvary Publishing design your website for you! Just contact us here to get started!