The 5 Basic Website Mistakes that are Killing your Credibility

 Struggling to make your website look professional and to bring in more customers? You'll want to read this post about the 5 critical mistakes you're probably making with your website and how to fix them. PLUS a free homepage blueprint for you.

Struggling to make your website look professional and to bring in more customers? Today, I want to talk to you about the 5 basic website mistakes I see online business owners making all the time.

Essentially, these basic website mistakes all stem from the same cause — overthinking.

You’re overthinking it and that’s making this whole web design process much harder than it really has to be.

This makes your website the barrier between where you are and where you want to be. So you're not moving forward in your business.

You say things like, “Well I can’t promote my course on social media until I have my landing page up but I’m so frustrated by my website that I can’t get it to look good!” or, “I can’t figure out how to make my website look legit so I don’t want to send any traffic to it.”

My job is to remove the barrier.

I'm here to make your website easy and effective without you having to hire an expensive designer. You can do this. I promise you. Let’s start by fixing these 5 basic website mistakes…

Mistake #1: Colors that don’t work together

There are SO MANY articles about how to put together a color palette, choosing colors for your brand, and color psychology. The thing is, I think these articles are leading you to believe that it’s more difficult than it is.

I’ve had people ask me about putting together a free course on choosing color palettes, but it doesn’t take a course. I’ll give you the foolproof method for choosing your colors right now.

You only need 4 colors:

  1. White (or very close to white).
  2. Dark grey (close to black but not black).
  3. Main color (this is a color that won’t repel your target audience). 
  4. Button color (this is a complementary color to your main one).

So here’s where you could get into A BIT of color psychology if you wanted to. If you’re targeting men and women, then stick with a shade of blue or green for your main color and avoid brown or orange. Quickprout did a nifty infographic about it. But again, I caution you NOT to overthink it!

Now, you don’t need to choose the EXACT color opposite to your primary one on the color wheel because sometimes that ends up looking like baby poop. That being said, you do need to stick to that color family. For example, you’ve chosen a shade of blue for your primary color, so your button color will be a shade of orange. It can be more of a reddish orange but it’s not going to be green or purple. Get it?

Of course, you don’t have to follow these rules all of the time but, if you’re one of the overthinkers, then please just follow these steps and make your life easier by avoiding one of the most common basic website mistakes.

Mistake #2: Logos with too much going on

Raise your hand if you’ve seen this in Facebook groups: someone posts a screenshot of 4-6 different logos and says, “Which logo do you like best?”. (There are a few things wrong with this method of crowdsourcing design feedback, but that’s for another time–mistake #5.) What I’m talking about here is that the logos they put up for feedback are almost always bad.  

Woah! Simmer down for a second. Don’t go grabbing your pitchfork. Let me explain. They’re bad, not so much because they look like they were made in Microsoft Paint circa 1994, but because they’re ineffective at being logos. 

So, what makes an effective logo? I’m glad you asked. Once again, this is one of the basic website mistakes that comes down to overthinking. You think you need to have an icon and a circle around it and 3 different colors and 2 different fonts. But YOU DON’T.

An effective logo is:

  1. Simple — Simple is sexy. If I teach you nothing else from this lesson, remember that.
  2. Monochromatic — Even if the final display logo is 2 colors,  you want the logo to look good in a single shade of grey or white.
  3. Scalable — If you shrink it down to a small size (say 50px wide) or blow it up to massive proportions, it should still look good and stand for your brand.

I wrote a step-by-step tutorial on the exact process I use to design effective logos, which you’re welcome to try for yourself.

Mistake #3: Inconsistent typographic hierarchy

When it comes to fonts, just like when it comes to every other element of design that I’m teaching you here, LESS IS MORE. Don’t use more than 2 fonts on your website. Yes, a person can use 3, but I’m not sure that you’re ready for that. Stick to 2 (one for headlines and one for body text).

Now, once you’ve selected your headline font and body font, it’s important that they’re always consistent in size. Heading 1 is the largest, heading 2 comes next, heading 3 is a bit smaller still, and then the body copy (which should be no smaller than 16px) is obviously the smallest.

The last thing I’ll say about typography is that you need to allow more white space around your paragraphs than you’d think. Give your words room to breath. Keeping your paragraphs under 75 characters wide is ideal for readability.

And, let’s face it, people don’t read websites anymore, they scan them. So by designing your text in this way, you’re also optimizing it for scannability.

Mistake #4: Layout is an afterthought

As a user experience designer, much of my design focus is centered on website structure. The layout of your website actually matters rather a lot 😱.

Now, let’s talk navigation:

  1. First, the data shows that having your logo in the center is not as effective as having it to the left. 
  2. Second, don’t clutter your navigation with drop-down menus, rather, put the important things up front. If a user has to go on an easter egg hunt to find something, they’re going to leave. 
  3. Third, keep your main navigation to 6 links or fewer.
  4. Lastly, your top navigation should be at the top of your page, not halfway down the page, not below your logo and tagline.

If you’re ready to get your website homepage into shape, then I’ve created the perfect resource for you.

It’s called the Foolproof Homepage Blueprint Masterclass and it comes with a wireframe (like a web page blueprint) that lays out the exact structure that you need to craft a killer homepage. I’ve also included a plug-and-play copy template to get your homepage copy on point, avoiding most of the basic website mistakes AND the video masterclass.

Mistake #5: Your site doesn’t pass the 5-second test

If I asked a bunch of people to look at your homepage but only gave them 5-seconds to view it, would they be able to tell me what your business is about and who you serve? 

The truth is, they probably wouldn’t. You want to make sure your homepage instantly conveys who you serve and what you do. And that’s exactly why my Homepage Blueprint is so great. 

Side note: I actually do 5-second tests using UsabilityHub. They make it super easy with pre-built templates to survey your own audience or pay for people to take your 5-second test and it’s totally worth it.

To wrap things up:

Simple is sexy, stop overthinking it (because you’re making it so much harder than it actually needs to be), and trust the process (or, in this case, the blueprint 😉) and you’ll avoid these 5 basic website mistakes like it’s no big deal (because it isn’t).