When I built my first WordPress website over ten years ago, there was a massive learning curve and buckets of tears. And I don’t cry. Ever.
Today, starting a WordPress website is as easy as signing up for web hosting, clicking on the “install WordPress” button, picking a nice theme, and following a few simple directions to customize your site.
A few clicks of a button and—Bam! You have a website.
While website building platforms have come a long way in terms of usability in recent years, it doesn’t mean there aren’t some user experience (UX) mistakes that should be on your radar.
This post will cover the five most common UX mistakes to avoid on your website.
1. Not picking a mobile-friendly theme
Before you start browsing themes, grab a sticky note and write, “choose an extremely responsive and mobile-friendly theme” down. Then post the reminder wherever you’ll see it.
Mobile search accounts for over half of global website traffic, according to Statista. And mobile commerce is quickly becoming one of the most popular ways consumers shop. Seventy-nine percent of smartphone users have recently made a mobile purchase, and m-commerce is expected to reach over $3.1 billion by 2026.
To sum it up, consumers use their phones to search websites and make purchases. If your website doesn’t look good on a mobile device, you’ll absolutely lose potential customers to competitors with better websites.
2. Not buying enough server space to support your website
Most new website owners start with a shared web hosting plan. A shared web hosting plan is affordable (starts at $2.75/month), reliable, and has enough bandwidth to support a small website effectively.
But, here’s the thing.
If you plan to build a massive website with many different plugins, you’ll need more server space to keep your site running quickly.
Additionally, when you start seeing large surges in simultaneous traffic, it makes the server work harder. As your website grows, so does your need for server space.
If your website starts loading slowly at any time, you’ll start losing visitors. In quantifiable terms, the ideal website load time should take no longer than 2 seconds, no matter who your hosting server is, the amount of bandwidth in transit, what plugins you have running, and which browser searchers are using.
Stats show that the probability of customers bouncing out of your site rises by 32% if the page load time increases from 1 to 3 seconds.
As you start building your website, consider what you want your website to do, how much traffic you anticipate, and pick a hosting plan with enough RAM and CPU to support your needs.
If you aren’t sure which hosting plan is the best for you, reach out to our customer service team, and we will help you. We offer 24/7 support and will help you decide which hosting plan is best for you.
Remember, you can also upgrade your hosting plan at any time to match your website’s growth.
3. Cramming your website with features
Websites are like closets. How do you feel when you open your hall closet and see unfolded blankets stuffed everywhere, broken games drooping about, wrapping paper from 5 birthdays ago, mismatched linens, your kid’s lost Spider-Man costume, etc.?
Now, how do you feel when you Marie Kondo the heck out of that same closet and it looks like a display at the container store? You only have the essentials, you can find everything quickly, and it looks incredible.
Your website should follow the same philosophy.
Simplicity and swiftness are key for an outstanding user experience. The most user-friendly web home page designs include:
- Clear primary and secondary navigation menus
- An eye-catching color scheme
- High-resolution images that match the brand
- A less-is-more approach to typography
- A call-to-action encased in a clickable button
- Clear and concise copy
- Important information first
- Less-relevant links in the footer
Another good rule of thumb to help guide users through your website is to make sure every critical feature is less than three touch-points away.
For example, if a customer needs to contact you, they shouldn’t have to dig deep. All they should have to do is click on “contact” in your navigation menu and then fill out your form—two touch-points.
4. Not investing in outstanding website copy
The words on your website pages play a significant role in your website’s UX. If your copy is unclear, cluttered, or too heavy, readers won’t bother with your website.
The first half of winning the UX copywriting battle is how you format your copy, and the second half is using words that make your copy sparkle. Let’s take a closer look.
How to format your website copy to improve UX
Your website copy should look as good as it sounds. Here are some tips on how to achieve this.
Choose a clean font
Papyrus might be cute for a kid’s b-day party, but it’s terrible for a website. Stick to something easy on the eyes.
Graphic designer, Daniel Ruesch, says, “The most important criteria for choosing fonts for use in any media is to select a font that matches the tone of your message. Legibility is also critical. It does no good to use fonts that are hard to read. It also makes life a lot easier for the designer and the viewer if you can use readily available fonts such as Google fonts.”
The good news is most WordPress themes are pre-built with excellent design in mind.
Less is more
The last thing a website visitor wants to do is sift through paragraphs of text. This is especially true if someone is visiting your website from a tiny mobile device. Break up blocks of text by shortening sentences, making use of headlines, and using bullet points.
Consider the white space
White space is any space on your site that doesn’t have text or an image. White space is as important as any other design element and contributes to your website’s overall UX. You can use white space to build focal points and show users what content is essential.
Look at this example from Simpla.
Simpla makes excellent use of white space by separating two columns. In one column, you can read in-depth information. But the big block of white space forces your eyes to the right side of the page where you can read and digest the more critical information (e.g., areas of expertise and advantages).
Bullet points are a great way to break up the text, but columns are easier on the eyes. Check out this example from Wistia.
The use of four columns breaks up the copy and helps readers immediately understand the advantages of videos.
Let’s reimagine the same text in plain text and without the use of columns.
Even though the words are exactly the same, it’s daunting to read the text. The paragraph-style format is a snooze-fest galore and a guarantee visitors will click out of your website.
Copywriting tips that improve UX
Now that we’ve talked about the format of your copy, let’s talk about how to use words in a way that will help your readers navigate your website.
Write at a 6th-grade level
It’s true. You’re smart. But you don’t want to sound like a Harvard grad on your website. Use words that are easy to understand and digest. A good rule of thumb is to aim for a 6th-grade reading level.
Clearly label your navigation menus and headlines
For example, label your about page, “about,” not “me in a nutshell.”
Write clear CTAs
Every website should include clear CTAs. In other words, you should write an action statement that tells readers exactly what it is you want them to do.
Website copywriter, Kelsey O’Halloran, offers insight into what a CTA is and why it matters. She says, “A call to action is the difference between telling your friend that ‘Coffee is nice,’ versus, ‘Hey, let’s get coffee next week. How about Friday?’ One is simply a statement; the other is clear, direct, and designed to evoke an action or response.”
When writing a CTA, Kelsey says, “Before your readers will click your call to action, they want to know where it’s going to take them or what it’s going to do. So instead of getting creative with your calls to action, stick to clear, simple words that readers would expect to see, like “Buy Now” or “Sign Up.”
Kelsy’s website is also the perfect place to visit for examples of clear CTAs. If you browse through her website, you’ll see blocks of excellent copy with a clear headline, an outstanding and simple description, and a call to action at the end of each block of copy.
Here’s a look at Kelsy’s home page.
With one glance, readers know exactly where to click if they want to learn more about her services.
As you continue to scroll through her website, you’ll see additional CTAs, guiding her website visitors to take action.
5. Overdoing it on pop-ups
Here’s the deal. Adding a couple of pop-ups to your website is a great way to capture email addresses, guide your readers to a specific page, and boost conversions. Recent stats show that the average pop-up conversion rate was 3.09% in 2020.
I would encourage any new website owner to add a couple of well-placed pop-ups to their website.
However, there comes a point when pop-ups become too much, and a user will get frustrated.
Don’t set a pop-up to trigger every time someone navigates to a new section of your website. And don’t set your pop-ups to continue appearing over and over as readers scroll through your content. It’s annoying.
Whenever you add a pop-up, make sure it’s easy for readers to exit out of the pop-up. It’s frustrating for a website visitor trying to read your content to get bombarded with a pop-up and not see how to click out of it.
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