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Drive In More Leads

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By Jack Swymer in February, 2019 | 9 minute read

Web Design - Design Marketing

How Bad Website Design Can Drive Traffic Away

Good website design is one of the secret weapons in maximizing your business’ visibility and lead generations. However, bad website design will have the opposite effect and can cripple the user experience, keeping valuable prospects away from your brand’s valuable services and expertise. To avoid this, take note of the following examples and examinations that will illustrate how, and why, bad website design can be the kryptonite to your company’s online success.


The quality of your website design can be a huge factor in influencing the level of traffic your website receives. If you want to maximize your website’s credibility and improve the traffic it sees, then creating a clean and professional website is very important.

Avoiding clutter, oversized images, bad typography, and invasive colors are all things you should try to avoid, as they will negatively affect the user experience. Instead, focus on choosing the right visual elements and optimizing your website for various devices in order to ensure that each and every visitor to your website has a positive and productive experience with your brand identity. To help you achieve this, here are some of the major things that your website’s design can, and will, influence.

1) Credibility

The value of a first impression can rarely be overstated. When a prospective customer comes to your website, they’re going to immediately make a judgment on it. In an article in Entrepreneur, it’s explained how “It takes less than two-tenths of a second for an online visitor to form a first opinion of your brand once they've perused your company's website, according to researchers at the Missouri University of Science and Technology. And it takes just another 2.6 seconds for that viewer's eyes to concentrate in a way that reinforces that first impression.”

With this in mind, you can see why the design of your website is so important. If visitors are so quick to form opinions, then you need to design a website that quickly and effectively conveys your message, intent, and value. If your website is clean and professional, a consumer will be more inclined to believe that your company’s work ethic matches that aesthetic.

If your website is disorganized or cluttered, however, visitors might not stick around long enough to form a solid opinion of your company. At the end of the day, consumers want high-quality service, and your website will play a vital role in illustrating to prospective clients that you can and will offer them the highest quality services available.

2) Return Rate

With the internet at our fingertips, consumers are now able to browse and compare multiple web pages at the same time in order to compare cost, content quality, and more. While this is ideal for the consumer, as it broadens the diversity of their options, it can be difficult for your business, as it means facing more competition than ever.

Econsultancy, in an article reporting on a 2010 study, says that “88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience.” Of that 88%, almost half of them expressed a less-than-positive perception of the overall company after their single bad experience, and over a third of them told others about their experience.

Without a well-designed website, your content can be difficult to find. And when website visitors can’t find what they’re looking for, they’ll often leave and try to find the desired information elsewhere. This is yet another reason why it’s so important to optimize your website for the user experience. The easier it is for visitors to find the information they’re looking for, the happier they’ll be.

3) Clutter

While some people tend to dislike white or negative space when creating a website, if you try and fill every nook-and-cranny, you’ll end up with a cluttered website that can frustrate readers.  

Having a cluttered website can also affect the loading time of your website. The more clutter a website has, the more information will need to load. This can slow down the user experience and, once again, scare them away.  

This is why white space is so important to have. It provides the user with “breathing space” that will allow them to better navigate and interpret your website. However, too much white space isn’t ideal either, as it can leave your web page feeling bland and empty. As always, balance is key here. You want your customers to have lots of content and resources to use, but you don’t want to overwhelm them either.

4) Typography

Typography can easily be overlooked in website design, but it’s nevertheless a vital part of your website as it directly affects how consumers can absorb your information. As a result, fonts have to be clear and easy to read. While hand-drawn scripts and cursive fonts may look pretty, avoid them, as they can be difficult to read. Choosing a clean serif or sans serif is often your best bet, as it will be easily legible and visually appealing.  

Keep in mind, however, that you don’t want to use more than 3 separate fonts per page. Having too many fonts on your page will be distracting and can give off an unprofessional feel. In a similar vein, you also want to pay attention to the spacing of your typography. There are three aspects of spacing you should be familiar with:

  • Leading: The space between lines of text.
  • Kerning: The space between each character.
  • Tracking: The space between each word.

When designed properly, the right spacing can enhance the visual appeal and legibility of the text. But when done incorrectly it can be messy and difficult to read, driving consumers away from your website.

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5) Hierarchy

To the general person, the word “hierarchy” doesn’t sound like a word that belongs in website design. However, “hierarchy” is actually an extremely common word in the design world.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the definition of hierarchy is “A system in which members of an organization or society are ranked according to relative status or authority.” In the design world, this means that you should come up with a form of organization that will highlight the most important information and guides your eye down from there.

A website without a strong grasp of a hierarchy can result in the user failing to find the correct information in a timely fashion. You want each and every visitor to your website to know who your company is, what it does, and how it can help. This is what a design hierarchy helps to accomplish, as it clearly outlines the most important and relevant information, and helps guide the user towards their ideal destination.

6) The Mobile Experience

With the rise of smartphones, people are spending less time on their desktops and more time on their mobile devices. This means that having a well-functioning mobile version of your website is absolutely vital.  

If your website doesn’t translate well to a mobile device, then consumers can get frustrated and leave without returning. If they are unable to get all the information they want right away then they will find a different website that can provide them with everything they need.

It is extremely important to find a web designer and developer who can get this done for you. Having legible web and mobile versions of your website will show consumers you are a serious and successful company who they will want to work with.  

7) Color

Color is a great way to add a little extra spice to your website, create contrast, and evoke emotion in your consumers. However, websites that use too many colors can be distracting and difficult to navigate.  

In most cases, you want your colors to be an accent to the design of your website. They should highlight your content and design, not distract from it. This is why using contrasting colors is so useful. For example, if you were to use two colors with high contrast, like navy blue and yellow, then it’ll be easy for a user to read the content on your page.

If you’re unfamiliar with the primary qualities of some of the dominant colors out there, take a look at the following list:

  • Red: Can increase pulse and breathing rate. It is warm and often associated with romance or violence.
  • Orange: Orange is playful and energetic, evoking creativity and excitement.
  • Yellow: Yellow can activate anxiety, as it can be used on warning signs, but is generally associated with happiness and warmth.
  • Green: Green is the easiest color on the eyes. It’s very calming and relaxing and can be used to represent wealth and growth.
  • Blue: Blue, like green, creates a feeling of calmness. It also gives off a sense of trust and security and is a common color on social platforms.
  • Purple: Purple is known for being luxurious and can represent royalty. It can also be associated with wisdom and power.
  • White: White represents purity and cleanliness. It can also be aggressive to the eye if there is too much of it.
  • Black: Black can show elegance and power, but is often associated with death and other negative things.

8) Pop-ups

Intrusive pop-ups about irrelevant information can ruin the aesthetic of your page if poorly designed and can push people off of your site, instead of welcoming them into it.

Well-designed pop-ups, however, can confirm a call-to-action, ask a visitor if they need help, and connect them with the information they’re looking for in time-effective ways. If you’re using pop-ups on your website, make sure they do not block the main content on the web page and try keeping them on the bottom and/or side of the page so they can be used as helpful tools instead of annoying distractions.

9) Up-to-date

Your website should always look up-to-date. If you’re still hosting a website that looks like it was made in the 1990s, then consumers might think your company is out-of-touch, or worse, no longer active. In our growing society, it’s important to keep up with the newest trends and developments.

Having a constant web presence can help show your website is up-to-date, and regularly updating your blog posts will let the consumer know that you’re an active and knowledgeable site.  

10) Conclusion

Like Entrepreneur says, “Your website is an important part of your business. Make sure you treat it as such.” Failing to properly optimize and design your website for the user experience will not only drive traffic away from your company, but it can also negatively affect your brand’s reputation.

This is why it’s so very important to pay attention to the design of your website. Having a clean, professional, and polished website that works across multiple platforms is key to keeping your traffic rate up. Not hitting these marks can be detrimental to your traffic rate and can potentially drive people away from your website for good.

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