How to Tell the Difference Between Good and Bad Website Design

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With the average small business spending around $75,000 a year on digital marketing, it’s no wonder that people are looking for ways to cut corners.

One of the ways people try to save money is by looking for the cheapest website designer in town. However, if you don’t know the difference between good and bad website design, you may be driving your audience away with bad choices.

Here are five ways to ensure that you have the best design in town.

1. Is It Mobile-Friendly?

Given that mobile internet usage has now definitively surpassed desktop internet use, you need your website to be mobile-friendly.

When your designer starts working on it, ask that they take a “mobile-first” approach. If it’s already done, start looking at it on a variety of devices.

You should be able to do everything you can do on a laptop or desktop without having to stretch or scale. All the photos must be at the right aspect ratio or your site is going to look bad and cheap.

If your site doesn’t look good on every device, you need to go back to the drawing board.

You don’t know what kind of device your customers are going to be accessing your site with and you shouldn’t discriminate. Make sure your customers get the ideal experience with every type of device they access your site with.

If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, it’s not future-proof. You’re likely to have to do an entire redesign in just a year or two if you don’t make it mobile-friendly now.

2. Does It Look Generic?

If your site looks like every other site in your industry right now, you’re going to get lost in the shuffle.

You need your site to look like something totally new and unique while still feeling intuitive and easy to use. When your site looks and feels generic, you won’t give your customers any reason to come back to you.

While it shouldn’t shock the viewer with too many moving images, wild colors, or sound, it should give them a memorable experience.

When you work hard to make your business stand out from the rest of your industry, you want your site to do the same. when your site fails to differentiate you from the rest of the pack, you lose an opportunity to sell your visitors on a reason to choose you over other brands.

Talk to your designer about ways that you can take your design in a new direction. If your site looks like it was made with a template right out of the box, it probably was.

If you know enough to notice a template when you see one, your designer needs to do a better job for what you’re paying them.

3. Did Your Designer Listen To You?

When you’re working with a web designer, it’s imperative that they listen to you. Since they probably aren’t experts in your industry, there are going to be industry standards that they need to uphold.

If they don’t get that, you need to make them understand why you need things done a certain way.

If you’re in the medical industry, there are accessibility and legibility issues to worry about. If you violate rules for HIPAA standards or privacy-related legislation, you’ll be subject to lawsuits or fines.

This must be made clear to your designer before you start and often reiterated during the process.

If you’re struggling to get your designer to hear you, or if they’re telling you “no” a lot, ask them why you’re not getting what you want. Perhaps you don’t know about websites and are asking for something that’s not possible or not in your budget.

However, they should tell you this rather than just ignoring your demands.

Tell your designer if you don’t feel like you’re being heard.

4. Does It Follow The Three-Click Rule?

One of the basic standards in web design is the “three-click rule”. With this rule, you shouldn’t have to dig any further than three clicks to find anything on your site. If you do, it’s hidden too deeply into your website and your menu system needs to be restructured.

Because most of the people visiting your site are only there for a few purposes, keep your site minimal.

If people want to shop for products and services, send them to your e-commerce or shopping site. If people are looking for long-form content that you’ve written or created, send them to your blog.

Keep those sites linked to your URL so that you can collect the traffic. However, segregating them ensures that you’re not going to be clogging up your menu with shopping options.

Too much on your menu is overwhelming for your users.

5. Are Customers Complaining?

If you’re hearing customer complaints about your site, you need to take them seriously. Most people see a bad site or experience a problem and just move on. It’s rare to get any feedback at all from disgruntled customers.

If you’re hearing from customers, it’s because they care and they want more from your company. Give them what they want so that they feel heard.

You’ll build lifelong loyalty and you’re sure to please other customers who felt the same way.

If you get complaints on social media, address them publicly with links to the fixed problems. This way you’ll show you care and that you take feedback seriously.

Bad Website Design Costs Real Dollars

It’s vital to know when you’re suffering from bad website design before your site goes live. If you don’t know what you’re looking at, you need to ask for a second opinion from a colleague. A bad website is toxic for business.

For some easy ways to promote your site once it’s done, check out our guide.