Bad websites are everywhere.
If they were humans, they’d be a bunch of ne’er’do’wells with a proclivity for hanging around disused railroad tracks, sharing mumbled jokes and spluttering between cigarette inhalations.
They dig their insidious claws into their digital prey and let their tendrils of mediocrity permeate throughout page after page, mismatched font after mismatched font.
The battle, nay – the war – against bad websites, is (justifiably) not one that captures much attention. Accordingly, the little blighters are everywhere. To the presumable relief of purveyors of beauty everywhere, we’ve put together a handy list of ways to identify (and thus fix) an errant website.
1) Mismatched Fonts
To the dismay of Pic’n’mix fans everywhere, the mix’n’match approach to pairing fonts has an unerring tendency to result in what is technically referred to as hot mess. This is also what typically happens when too many fonts appear on the same website (and even more so, on the same page). A good rule of thumb is to use two of three fonts across your website, ideally reserving one for Headings and one for the main body text.
As for which fonts to use, let your imagination guide you. Open Sans is always a winner, as are Proxima Nova and Verdana. Look for fonts that are consistent with each other, balance out well (e.g. a Sans-Serif with a Serif) and, above all, mean that the text on your website is legible (duh).
Kerning is also important (however odd a sentence that must be to read); the process of adjusting the spacing between individual letters or characters. Juxtaposing fonts which embody contrasting approaches towards kerning ensures that the proverbial sore thumb effect is achieved.
2) Website Speed Issues
As exciting as an interactive video of a digitally-rendered dinosaur walking down a busy promenade may be (and trust me, it’s exciting), excessive use of video is one of the primary means by which a once-lightning speed website can grind to a halt.
People are impatient. As this handy graphic details, visitor drop off rate increases at any exponential rate of knots as load speed increases. We talk about how to speed up your website here, if you’re worried about page speed.
A handy rule of thumb is that each page should load within 3 seconds. If that’s exception rather than the norm, it’s time to start thinking about compressing images and hosting any videos on a video hosting platform. As disappointing as it may be to simplify a design or sacrifice a video, there’s no point in being the proud owner of a beautiful website that is too slow for its clients to use.
3) These mobile phones surely won’t catch on…
Mobile devices account for 80% of internet usage in the UK. This staggering statistic not only explains what those couples you see in restaurants hunched over their phones are doing, it also highlights just how integral it is for a website to have a mobile version, given that the overwhelming majority of its users will be consuming its content in this manner.
Most modern websites – particularly those that use a WordPress template – come equipped with a mobile variant. This is an excellent start but it almost always needs custom tweaking to provide the same experience that the desktop version does. Mobile-first design isn’t just a buzz-word, it comes about as a direct result of the evolution in how people browse the internet.
A bad mobile experience is also indicative of a bad website.
Feel free to get in touch if you’d like advice about how to improve your next website. We specialise in helping clients who choose WordPress, providing the low-cost expertise of a trusted digital partner.