Growing up I had the great fortune to be raised by a very anal-retentive Mother. To say she was perfectionist would be an understatement – and any slightly rucked rug or speck of dust would come under instant scrutiny as soon as she came in the room.
For a long time I never really understood this perfectionism, and perhaps it was growing up this way that caused me to rebel against it and be a lot more laid back in my own home-keeping. However I have more recently come to understand it at least a little more since I took up web design – and these days I have the same laser-like accuracy when it comes to seeking out tiny imperfections on my site and that’s something that’s helped me a great deal to increase my traffic and my revenue.
You see even the smallest imperfection in your web design can actually have huge repercussions if you aren’t careful. Once people see one small fault in it, it can ruin the entire sheen of your site and even reflect on your business. You’ll notice that big companies like Microsoft and Virgin don’t have ugly graphics or dead links on their site, and that’s no coincidence.
To help you develop that ‘perfection vision’ then, let’s take a look at some of the smallest problems in web design that can make the biggest impact in damaging your traffic and your reputation.
Resolution is very important when it comes to professionalism, and one of the biggest tell-tale signs of a spammy site is low resolution icons and buttons. If your images aren’t as crisp as they possibly can be then this is something you should absolutely prioritise if you want to avoid losing visitors.
Too Many Ads
Another sign that a site may have been built by an organisation lesser than Microsoft is it being completely covered with ads. Actually having one or two adverts in some cases can help give people more confidence in your site because it at least suggests that you run sites professionally. At the same time though, it’s also important to ensure that your site isn’t covered in ads, as that suggests you’re just trying to make a quick 2cents and that you don’t care about the user experience at all. Which isn’t good…
An Ugly Font
Typeface is something that casual web designers often won’t think about, but it is incredibly important. In fact it’s fair to say that Apple’s products almost owe their success to fancy typography. While you don’t need to learn calligraphy though, what will help is simply spending some time to choose your font – and sticking with the default will only make you look amateurish.
You might not think that one dead link is a big deal, but think about it from your visitors’ perspective: to them this could well be indicative of the reliability of your entire site. Now imagine that they input their card details to make an expensive purchase and then the site cuts out again leaving them wondering whether the payment’s gone through. Now can you see why that’s kind of a big deal? And besides, it’s also something Google picks up on so it can damage your ranking even if people never find those dead links.
While I’m not as uptight as my Mum, I do understand why she hates looking at crooked pictures – I believe it could be used as some form of cruel and unusual torture. The same goes on websites: if you have two icons that clearly should line up but don’t, then you shouldn’t expect visitors to stick around for very long without being driven mad. The strange thing is that if you asked them what was wrong with the site, they probably couldn’t even tell you: but that won’t stop them from wanting to get away and fast.
The whole point of the internet is to deliver us with the information we’re looking for and the contacts we want to speak with quickly and efficiently. We’re not used to having to wait around then, so if your site takes even a fraction of a second longer to load you might just lose your potential visitors. And if it takes a fraction of a second on your PC, imagine how it might load on something older or an old phone… Do you really want to exclude visitors from using your site?