Top Web Design Mistakes That Drive Customers Away [2021]

A good website should do more than look pretty: it should help you grow your business. Unfortunately, many web design mistakes are made by amateur website designers or by cash-strapped business owners who are building their own websites.

Common website design mistakes include:

  • Creating a website design that doesn’t include brand colors.
  • Focusing on the sales funnel after building the website.
  • Designing a website that doesn’t reflect your target audience.
  • Not using calls to action throughout the website.
  • Not including Google reviews from customers in the website design.
  • Crafting horrible headlines in the website content.
  • Not handling website maintenance after launch.
  • And loads more…

When you fix these mistakes, you can transform an outdated, money-wasting website into a money-making machine…

Are you ready?

Okay, let’s get fixin’…

No logo colors in the website design

When clients visit your website, they expect to see the

Too many companies try to trash the established aesthetic and design elements of their industry without recognizing that they are standards within that industry, not trends.

There’s a difference between a trend and an industry standard.

A trend comes and goes.

But industry standards are the measuring stick that leads will use to quickly judge your brand’s professionalism and credibility.

When you don’t meet your industry’s standards, you end up with a website design that looks awkward within your industry.

So, as you’re designing or redesigning your website, remember to include your brand logo colors.

It gives you brand cohesion, uniting all of your graphic designs into a recognizable brand identity.

The website doesn’t match the user journey

Too often, web designers create websites that don’t match the journey of their customers throughout their website.  This concept is known as customer or user journey mapping.

A user journey is the sequence of actions that you expect users to take on your website.

It’s a vital part of any website design.

Unfortunately, many website owners skip customer journey mapping in their rush to get their beautiful new website launched.

Let’s look at a typical user journey for a Seattle paintless dent repair shop.

First, let’s define the target audience.

Lots of people get hung up here, but we’ll make it simple.

RemoveYourDent provides paintless dent repair services in Seattle.

So, it follows that their target audience would be Seattle car owners with dents in their vehicles.

Now, let’s look at a website user path for RemoveYourDent.

One of the first things they’d do is google “paintless dent repair Seattle”:

Once they see the list of search results, research shows that they’ll most likely click on the first result they see in Google Search, just like 25% of people.

That first result just *happens* to be RemoveYourDent.

After clicking on the website, RYD website users see this:

Now, if we’re considering our website users, we can safely assume that they will want to do a few things while visiting the website:

  • Form an opinion RemoveYourDent’s professionalism based on the quality of the company’s web design.
  • Check out previous paintless dent repair work to see if RYD knows what they’re doing.
  • Look at reviews from other customers to check their experience with RYD.
  • Get a PDR quote so they can see if it’s within their budget.

Considering all of those possible actions, we can see that RemoveYourDent:

  • Gives users two ways to quickly request a PDR quote: phone or contact form.
  • Links to their Instagram account since they often post pictures and videos of their PDR work there.
  • Includes micro-copy that guarantees a timeframe in which users will receive a quote.

When people land on RemoveYourDent’s homepage, they can easily find exactly what they want.

Shameless plug: RYD is one of over 300 amazing companies on our web design & SEO plans…

Specific user journeys vary for every website. Thinking about the user journey, however, helps you create a logical site structure that works as great as it looks.

To get started, ask yourself, “What will people want to do when they visit my website?”.

Your response will help you structure an amazing website that people love to use.

The website doesn’t reflect the target audience.

While we’re talking about common web design mistakes, it’s worth mentioning that you should consider your target audience in your website design.

A customer focus will impact all areas of your website design, including:

  • Fonts
  • Colors used
  • Words and terms
  • Icon types
  • Social proof types
  • Content readability goal
  • Website hierarchy

Let’s say, for example, that you’re targeting younger customers, ages 18-25. You’d likely use bold fonts, edgy phrasing, and strong colors. If you’re using stock photos, you’d search for images using keywords like “millennial”, “gen Z”, or “young people”.

If you need inspiration for a customer-focused website design,  refer to other websites in your industry that you know are successful.

What kind of colors are they using in their web design?

What types of images or graphics are used throughout their website?

How do they talk about their product and company on their website?

Questions like these will guide you toward a website design that speaks to your potential customers.

Not using calls to action throughout the website.

Call-to-actions (CTAs) buttons are the buttons that you use to guide website users toward a goal or conversion, like newsletter signup or a product purchase. 

The goal of CTA buttons is simple: get people to act.

In the web design world, most designers know about this.

However, many small business owners misuse calls to action in their website design. Either they don’t include them at all or they don’t use them well.

It’s critical that you overcome this common web design mistake and use CTAs wisely on your website.

There are three traits of a good call to action (CTA):

  • It must be visible.
  • It must have a direct, persuasive message.
  • It must motivate users with a clear benefit.

Most designers disagree on how many calls to action (CTAs) buttons you should include on your website.

However, all designers agree that call-to-action buttons should be clear, specific, and include a component of urgency (i.e., why should users act right now?).

Not including customer reviews & other social proof

Roughly 89 percent of customers worldwide read online reviews before buying (Trustpilot, 2020).

In other words, people are more interested in what other people say about you than what you say about you.

And, it’s not just perfect review ratings that matter to customers either. Too many people try to keep their enviable 5-star review rating online, even to the point of censoring unfavorable reviews.

But modern buyers are smart. According to the same 2020 Trustpilot survey, over half of buyers viewed reviews with less than 5 stars as being more authentic and genuine.

So, why does this matter for your website design?

Well, as you plan out your new website design or website redesign, include reviews from customers to build credibility and authenticity into your web design.

For example, advisory accounting firm MBS Accountancy uses client testimonials to immediately show the value of their accounting services in their homepage hero:

Crafting horrible headlines in the website content.

Advertising legend David Ogilvy said that “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”

In other words, most people will read your headline but not your content.

You see, most of us are much too busy to read this:

This is why good website designers will create websites that make good use of their headlines and subheadlines, summing up each section for skimmers.

As you write headlines, be sure to follow a proven headline formula like the four U’s:

  1. Urgent
  2. Unique
  3. Useful
  4. Ultra-specific

Not handling website maintenance after launch.

One of the biggest complaints we hear from clients about previous website designers is the lack of after-launch website maintenance.

When websites aren’t maintained on a regular basis, they can suffer from any number of problems, ranging from annoying to disastrous:

  • Outdated website plugins: impacts the way your website looks or works
  • Unsecured website: reduces the level of trust people have in your website.
  • No website backups: makes it hard to recover data in the event of a breach.

These are just a few website problems that can cause you to lose customers that you’d otherwise gain if your website was working properly.

Neglecting the loading speed of web pages

Page speed is a vital part of ensuring a great user experience on your website.

In 2020, Google announced that page experience is a vital ranking factor for performing search engine optimization on your website.

It’s more important than ever that your website loads fast for website visitors. If your website doesn’t load fast, your bounce rate will go up.

If you don’t know, bounce rate is when people leave your website after visiting only one page on your website. Ideally, you want people to click through your website, visiting the different sections of your website.

In February 2018, Google pointed out that bounce rate increases for every second of page load speed.

Image Source: Google/SOASTA Research, 2017

Using PDFs instead of blog posts or web pages

In 2020, the Nielsen Norman Group noted that PDFs are, unfortunately, used far too often in website design.  The main reasons why PDFs are bad in website design are:

  • Limiting format: Because PDFs are designed for print, they don’t translate easily to an online viewing experience. Massive paragraphs of text and multi-screen images make this format a headache for website visitors
  • Too different: It’s difficult to navigate PDFs, even polished ones. Many users aren’t aware of keyboard shortcuts and can become frustrated when they’re trying to find information.
  • Too fluffy: When writing for online use, bulleted points and shorter sentences improve readability. In a print format like PDF, the focus is on filling the page with content.

While there is sometimes a place for PDFs, it’s best to convert PDF content into a native digital format.

Not creating a web design that supports search engine optimization (SEO)

One of the most common website design mistakes is not optimizing your website for search engines.

Many website designers focus on the attractiveness and layout of the website design.

While that’s definitely important, it shouldn’t replace other, more technical aspects of web design like website speed, keyword-optimized page titles, and other elements of a cohesive web strategy.

Small business owners often don’t have the time or the knowledge to point out the all-too-common web design mistakes that many agencies or freelancers make.

We’ve helped many businesses soar to the top of search results by doing the following:

  • Optimizing each page title and meta descriptions
  • Minimizing whole-page pop-ups and other intrusive interstitials
  • Including visual elements that support the website copy
  • Ensuring the web design passes usability testing metrics
  • Avoiding low-quality images
  • Establishing a logical, visual hierarchy for the website’s structure
  • Publishing at least one wonderful article each month that educates or entertains users.

There are other SEO tactics that can help your website rank higher in search engines. However, these are some of the proven methods we’ve used while performing search engine optimization for our website clients.

Not installing Google Analytics to measure results

Before you ask…

No, I’m not going to talk about the mistaken Druckerism, “What gets measured gets managed.”

Nevertheless, it is important to measure your website performance. Otherwise, how will you know whether it’s working?

Of course, not everything in marketing can be measured.

However, that’s not true with websites.

  • Here are some top website metrics to track when assessing the performance of your website:
  • Traffic: Yeah, it’s obvious. Still, many don’t know how to use Google Analytics to track website traffic.
  • Traffic Sources: This lets you see where people are coming from, like,, etc.
  • Average time spent on site: If people enjoy your website, they’ll typically stay longer.
  • Bounce rate: I mentioned this earlier, but bounce rate helps you see if people find your website useful or annoying.

There are many other website metrics but these are the most common ones website owners want to know.

We’re website pros. We’ll fix these web design mistakes.

At AMARQUEZ, we’re challenging the status quo in web design.

Rather than do “everything” like every other digital marketing agency these days, we’ve narrowed our focus to websites. This lets us avoid making web design mistakes that are overlooked by “we do everything” agencies.

Specifically, our focus is helping businesses get more leads from their website.

Since 2011, we’ve achieved this for hundreds of companies through expert web design, fast website support, and SEO that works.

If you’re ready to take your website to the next level, reach out!

We’re waiting to hear from you!