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This guide will help you familiarize yourself with the most common websites errors and mistakes that are committed by business owners, executives, web design and development companies as well as digital agencies.
It is fairly simple to build a website in this day and age,
but an exceedingly good one that fulfills its purpose
and meets business goals is not. As easy as it may seem
to design a website, one crafted without an expertise,
can be loaded with problems that turn visitors away.
In this increasingly sophisticated digital age, websites
are an important key to a business success. Customers
turn to them for information, and depending on
whether or not the website adequately addresses
its visitors’ needs, can attract them, engage them, or
encourage them to look elsewhere (i.e. competitors).
To make identifying the stumbling blocks on business
websites easier, this guide provides a useful checklist
of the 30 most common website mistakes that can
cause viewership and business to plummet. It’s mostly
based on our web design, development, and marketing
experience gathered over the years and information
from a variety of sources.
Project Manager at Incore
Treating a website just as
an online brochure
Unclear Website Purpose
Treating a website merely as an online
brochure is not a real website issue, but an
issue that concerns approach. These days, many
businesses still think that a website is just an
online brochure, a digital business card - it is
not. That mindset leads to neglecting business
opportunities in the digital world. A website
is a sales tool, or a lead generation platform.
It is a formidable and tireless sales/marketing
machine that works for you 24/7. Therefore, you
should move your website from the right to the
left side of your balance sheet, it is your asset not
a liability, and you should treat it as such.
A critical success factor for website design
and development projects is to ensure that an
executive, or a team member appointed to the
project sees a big picture and understands what
is possible these days in digital world, as well as
what can be accomplished thanks to technology.
A simple question that arises regarding the
assessment of a professional website is “does
the website pass the blink test?” The blink test
may seem like a trivial test for a website to pass.
However, it was created for a reason. It has
a simple logic behind it: If the viewer is not
intrigued, or doesn’t understand what the site
is meant to address in a short first glance, he or
she will most likely move on to something else
that is more intelligible.
500 milliseconds is all the time we need to get
a “gut feeling” about an object that we look at.
A minuscule half a second can determine your
business’s fate as it relates to a sites’ ability to
engage a viewer. This number is not arbitrary,
but is derived from a study conducted at
Canada’s Carleton University . The research
gave credence to “the infamous statistic that
Web designers have 500 milliseconds (i.e. half
a second) to impress and engage a user landing
on their page for the first time.”
Realizing how short and influential the first 500
taken to create a site with an eye catching design
that communicates its message to customers in
a clear and immediately recognizable fashion.
3Page30 Most Common Business Website Mistakes
Poor Navigation Too Much Clutter
Crowded menus, elements that are too close
to one another, and vague sense of direction as
to which elements are actionable are all design
problems that beg a viewer to leave a website.
No one wants to be digging around extensively
for information that should be easily accessible,
and no potential customer wants to bother with
clicking everything on the page in an attempt to
find what he or she is looking for.
Low affordance leads to a lack of functionality
and control. Affordance of a site should give
the viewer an intuitive user experience (UX).
Functionality and control go hand in hand to
immediately prove to a viewer that the business
is trustworthy, has a clear purpose and is
knowledgeable in its subject matter. As Steve
Krug stated in his book “Don’t Make Me Think”
about web usability “Your objective should
always be to eliminate instructions entirely by
making everything self-explanatory, or as close
to it as possible.”
Clutter on a website is an obvious mistake. Too
many elements fighting for the attention of the
viewer is a turnoff. Information jammed onto
a page creates information overload , and
evidences a poor design. The outcome will be
a decrease in the conversion rate and more
You know what you want your website visitors
to do, but do they? Often, the answer is no. This
is a common and harmful website mistake. For
example, if service is described and offered on a
site, then a call-to-action must encourage them
in explicit way to make an inquiry. It is hard to
stress enough how important calls-to-action are
for ROI of your website.
Your objective should always
be to eliminate instructions
entirely by making everything
self-explanatory, or as close
to it as possible.
4Page30 Most Common Business Website Mistakes
Complicated Calls-to-Action Ignored Mobile Devices
Asking for more user’s information than it
is necessary is killer for website conversion
rates. Too many fields in contact forms and an
overbearing amount of effort that the viewer
must put into moving forward will lessen
probability of clients’ conversion. Get the bare
minimum of what you need – you can always
ask for more info down the road.
What’s In It For Me (WIIFM)? Not stating clearly
what visitors can expect after submitting forms
may lead to customers not submitting forms
at all. If there is no clear and communicated
outcome for their efforts, the viewer will not
bother to take action at all. Website visitors need
to know that their actions will benefit them.
Leads will be lost if a website falls prey to this
A website that is not ready for mobile devices
such as smart phones and tablets will harm a
business. The personal computer is no longer
the only device customers have at their disposal
to browse the web. Mobile traffic is increasing
exponentially. Ignoring these devices puts a
business at huge competitive disadvantage.
devices is especially harmful to e-commerce.
Buyers in this era use them to make purchases.
To be current and to stay relevant, businesses
must meet the customers where they are, and
take customers’ mobile devices into account.
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5Page30 Most Common Business Website Mistakes
Too Many Calls-to-Action Long Load Time
The longer a website takes to load, the more
likely it is that the website will forfeit visitors,
thereby losing to the competition.
According to Jakob Nielsen of the Nielsen
Norman Group , one-tenth of a second is
the amount of time it takes for the viewer to
feel that the site is responding instantaneously
to their actions, 1 second is the time frame for
their train of thought to remain uninterrupted
and 10 seconds is the slice of time given to retain
the viewers’ attention.
This aforementioned point is especially
important for eCommerce. Website load time
can directly affect sales rates, search engine
rankings, and customers’ loyalty.
6Page30 Most Common Business Website Mistakes
Too many choices can overwhelm a potential
customer, and can result in the making of no
choice at all. In order to limit possible confusion
there must be a limited number of available
Psychologist Barry Schwartz discusses how
innumerable choices can cause paralysis instead
of the realization of freedom in his presentation
The Paradox of Choice in his TED Talk.
Although Schwartz’s speech addresses how
the plethora of choices we have affects us as a
society, the same principle can be applied to
business websites. If there are too many options,
the viewer may become paralyzed, and not
make any decision at all.
Use of Flash Text as Images
& Irrelevant Content
If you want to take a trip back to the 1990s,
use flash and automatically date yourself. Flash
is only valid for specific reasons (e.g. video
streaming), and is completely undesirable for
most websites and an enemy of mobile devices.
Nowadays, a great majority of highly interactive
websites is created with a combination of
technologies have a much better native support
on a variety of devices, are mobile friendly, and
with constant improvements are ready for the
This issue is sort of an artifact from the
past. Back in the day, when web developers
could not use tools like Google Fonts or
Typekit for a beautiful typography on a
website, it was a common practice to replace
text with images to go beyond very limited
and standard system fonts. If your website
is still using that technique be aware that
Google, Bing, or any other search engine will
not even bother to try to understand that text.
It is basically invisible to them. Since this issue
usually concerns websites’ headers it may affect
on-site Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in a
major, and negative way.
Website content that does not answer visitors’
questions is useless. There is no reason to read
or revisit a website if its content does not provide
valuable and relevant information.
Google and other search engines trust and pay
more attention to websites that have unique and
up-to-date content. Frequency of the Google
spiders visiting your site depends on how often
you update it. For sites that are constantly
adding new content, the Google spiders will
automatically crawl more often – sometimes
multiple times a day! However, for a site that is
rarely updated or abandoned, the Googlebots
will only crawl every few days or even weeks.
7Page30 Most Common Business Website Mistakes
Too Little or
Too Much Copy
Lack of Social Proof
& Trust Signals
Not having enough information will force the
visitors to go looking elsewhere for the content
that they need; too much fluff will put them to
sleep and send them away, most likely to your
Having valuable information on your website is
important, there’s no doubt about that. At the
same time, presenting it in an interactive and
engaging way is equally or even more important.
Incorporating images, charts, videos, and other
dynamic elements into copy will create a better
User Experience. Creating an interactive content
also pays back in the form of social shares and
backlinks; which, in accumulation, translates
into better search engine rankings.
Not providing testimonials, awards or a portfolio
will decrease the amount of trust the viewer
has in the website and the business. Obviously,
trust is a key, and an important factor that is
taken into account by the user in the decision
making process. Take action to demonstrate
8Page30 Most Common Business Website Mistakes
A mistake has potentially been made if the
website was not tested on alternate and older
browsers versions, and different devices.
(e.g. Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari,
etc.) and devices to be able to reach all potential
visitors effectively. If someone cannot reach
the website, then the chances of him or her
converting are nil. The site must be available
everywhere to open the door to all potential
visitors, and subsequent sales.
Analyzing data collected by tools like Google
your website visitors use. Then the decision
should be made as which browsers’ to support.
In a book of web designer Dan Cederholm
“Bulletproof Web Design ,” we can read
“No matter how visually appealing or content-
packed a Web site may be, if it’s not adaptable to
a variety of situations and reaching the widest
possible audience, it isn’t really succeeding.”
Lack of User
Too much emphasis on the company, while not
adequately addressing potential customer needs
will turn them away. A self-centered website is
unwelcoming and gives no sense of offering a
To avoid this, simply answer user’s questions,
understand what they are coming to the website
for and provide it to them clearly and efficiently.
Let the visitors know how the business can solve
their problems or dilemmas first and foremost,
then introduce the company in a way that
demonstrates its quality and trustworthiness.
The information on the website can be hard to
contrast between text and background, poor font
color and size combination). Another problem
is when the copy is not written in the language,
or tone, that is used and understood by the
viewer. Both of these common website mistakes
are fairly obvious, but highly important for
success. Legibility is a necessary first condition
for success in communicating information
effectively, and starting a conversation with a
9Page30 Most Common Business Website Mistakes
An easy way to make a preliminary test to
see if your website is indexable is to visit
www.google.com and search for “site:www.
your-domain.com”. If Google does not return
any results it is highly probable that you website
is invisible to search engines. The effort made
to generate content has been wasted, if search
engine crawlers aren’t able to index a website.
Although, even if a search engine returns some
results, it does not necessarily mean that your
website is indexed correctly. As verifying this
issue is crucial we recommend to contact your
web design company or digital agency that you
Broken links disappoint users, and are
unacceptable for professional business websites.
Not only will visitors be put off by them, so
will Google. The website will lose traffic, and,
because of broken links, will not be properly
indexed. This will result in the loss of potential
Lack of Tracking Tools
Neglecting to collect information that tracks
how a website is utilized is forfeiting the use of
valuable data that is primordially necessary for
determining how customers interact digitally
with a business. Tracking visitor behavior has
become easier than ever. Free or inexpensive
tools that do it well are widely available to the
website owner. Make sure to use information
made available through the use of such tools
to reinforce site strengths, and improve upon
paths, as well as heat maps have the potential to
illustrate visitors behavior patterns on a website.
These tools can be extremely beneficial in that
they can provide the feedback required to make
10Page30 Most Common Business Website Mistakes
Useless 404 Error Pages
Having a default server 404 error page, or an
almost empty custom 404 page is tantamount to
asking the visitor to leave the page. This kind of
error gravely damages the website’s credibility,
and must be fixed. Provide visitors with
information that gets them back on the correct
The web site hosting
server will typically
generate a “404 Not
Found” web page
when a user attempts
to follow a broken or
dead link; hence the
404 error is one of the
errors users can
find on the web.
Lack of On-Page SEO
Missing or duplicated meta titles and/or meta
descriptions, duplicated content, and poor
internal linking are all examples of common
on-page SEO mistakes. Sloppy practices, are a
signal to Google that a site is of questionable
quality, and, if not corrected, will affect its
visibility on Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
11Page30 Most Common Business Website Mistakes
Collected Data is Forgotten
is the same as not having gathered data at all.
Collected information is useless, if there is no
application of it towards betterment of the site.
Analyzing collected data is key to understanding
how users behave, and improving conversion
rates. By paying attention to user generated
data, a website owner can make adjustments and
improvements to meet the needs and demands,
as well as to address the preferences of visitors.
This will result in increased business.
Not Taking Actions on
Gathering data and analyzing information is
important, but what really makes a difference
concerning a site’s performance is taking action
based on analytical findings. Settling for “okay”
or “fine” is a website mistake. Not implementing
recommendations that are generated as a result
analyzing users’ behavior is to be negligent,
and will result in the loss of revenue. Drawing
conclusions and acting upon them for the
betterment of the website will improve its results.
12Page30 Most Common Business Website Mistakes
& Unprofessional Images
Blurred photos and low-resolution images will
diminish the credibility of the website, because
they are unprofessional looking. Humans are
visual beings that cannot help but judge a book
by its cover. Knowing this makes it clear that
presenting quality visuals correctly, and in a
pleasing manner is important.
No Social Media Integration
Social media is, in essence, digital word of
mouth, and really powerful marketing tool. If
the content on your website is valuable, and
presented in an engaging way, visitors will share
it – if you encourage them to do so. Make sure
that you let visitors share and publish your
content on their social media profiles.
Buried Contact Information
It should not take a visitor more than five
seconds to find contact information. If it does,
fix it immediately.
Targeting the same keywords on different pages
will cause the website to compete with itself.
Google only shows one result a site for any given
query (unless it thinks more than one page is
really relevant). That means website owners
should make sure that the page that shows up in
search is the one with the greatest relevance and
Website layouts that change drastically from
page to page are distracting, and can be visually
overwhelming. Simplify the layout, and avoid
complex changes. If design mechanisms are not
coherent and tastefully applied, visitor loss is a
Inconsistent placement of navigational elements
on a website is against the fundamental
principles of User Experience (UX). To do so
is not intuitive, breaks feeling of a seamless
experience, and force visitors to think about
something else than what you have to offer on
a given page.
Make sure that navigation stays the same across
the whole website, and clearly indicates in which
section of the site a user currently is.
13Page30 Most Common Business Website Mistakes
A brand is simply an organization with a
of a brand online. Brand consistency plays
an important role in establishing a solid and
effective business presence on-line and offline.
Today, there are more platforms than ever to
convey brand message – this makes it even
more challenging to be consistent. From smart
phones, apps and mobile websites to social
networks, the face of marketing has changed
drastically. To give consumers a clear depiction
of brand, the effective marketer must deliver a
cohesive message across all channels.
This list of the 30 most common website mistakes
may seem quite simple, trivial and unimportant at
first glance, but, if the information in this article is
left unheeded, these common website mistakes will be
made to the detriment of your business and its future.
Consider them seriously, as they can make or break
the success of a website and the growth of a company.
Understanding the nature of common mistakes, and
preventing and eliminating them, will put you in a
better competitive position to achieve both short and
Knowledge is not power…it’s
potential power. Execution will
trump knowledge any day.
We would love you
to be our next success story.
Let’s make it happen!
990 CEDAR BRIDGE AVE
BRICK, NJ 08723
1. Treating a website just as an online
2. Unclear Website Purpose
3. Poor Navigation
4. Too Much Clutter
5. Missing Calls-to-Action
6. Complicated Calls-to-Action
7. Ignored Mobile Devices
8. Too Many Calls-to-Action
9. Long Load Time
10. Use of Flash
11. Text as Images
12. Outdated & Irrelevant Content
13. Too Little or Too Much Copy
14. Lack of Social Proof & Trust Signals
15. Cross-Browser Incompatibility
16. Lack of User Centered Approach
17. Poor Legibility
18. Indexability Issues
19. Broken Links
20. Useless 404 Error Pages
21. Lack of Tracking Tools
22. Collected Data is Forgotten
23. Not Taking Actions on Analyzed
24. Lack of On-Page SEO
25. Keyword Cannibalization
26. Poor Quality & Unprofessional
27. No Social Media Integration
28. Buried Contact Information
29. Inconsistent Interface Design
30. Inconsistent Branding