Responsive Design: 7 Design Mistakes that Can Cost You Leads

You want your website design to generate leads – not send new visitors clicking to find information elsewhere.

The best website design is a reflection of the quality of your company’s products and services. Your website needs to do more than look good; it needs to be clear and intuitive for users.

Here are the Top 7 mistakes I see when newbies design websites for lead generation.


Where Is Your ‘About Us’ Page?

Data analytics company Chartbeat says the majority (55%) of visitors spend less than 15 seconds on your page. Forget the 30-second elevator pitch. You’ve got mere seconds to retain visitors and convert them to customers.

  • Make your “About Us” page easy to find. Put it on the top-level navigation menu.
  • Use clear and direct language that explains what you do and how you do it.
  • Avoid jargon. It does not make you sound smart.
  • Avoid empty sentences like this: “What makes us unique is our commitment to customer service. We want our customers to succeed.” Everyone says that. That doesn’t make you unique.
  • Answer this question: “How can you make your visitors’ lives better?”
  • Find that one thing you do better than your competitors and highlight that.


What’s Your Call-to-Action?

Your home page is the top of your sales funnel. If you have more than one funnel – and that’s OK – make sure your target audiences for each funnel can find their paths.

Copyblogger recently posted an infographic called “9 Landing Page Goofs That Make You Lose Business.” It likens a visitor’s path on a poorly designed website to a road trip plagued with fog, unsuitable paths, too many road signs, signs hidden behind trees and potholes. Make sure you understand what you want your website to do, so you can extend that invitation to your audience.

If you want to capture users’ email addresses, entice them with a pop-up that promises exclusive offers via email. If you want them to buy your products, you might include a banner with a coupon code. If you want them to follow you on social media, let them know Facebook (or your preferred channel) is the place to find alerts on last-minute savings and product news.

Why Isn’t Your Site Mobile Friendly? estimates that 64% of Americans own a smartphone, and most use them to access the Internet to get information about health issues, do online banking, look at real estate, look for jobs and, of course, to shop.

Your design should be “responsive,” which means it will adapt to screen sizes for smart phones and tablets. In April 2015, Google expanded its ranking of mobile friendliness in its search algorithms. If your site is not already friendly for mobile users, you will want to make your website mobile friendly. Otherwise, you could be penalized in search engine results and this will dramatically impact your business.

If you’d like to test your website, use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.

Do You Know Your Target Audience?

If you don’t know whom you’re selling to, how can you know how to talk to them? How do you know what their problems are? How will you find them? More importantly, how will they find you?

Ideally, you’ve been collecting data about your users from Google Analytics or another tool, which include insights about your users’ demographics, behaviors and attitudes. If you’re just launching your website, you don’t have this information, and you aren’t in a position to spend thousands of dollars on a full-fledged persona/audience study. And you don’t need to.

Do an exercise in brand persona development, which is beyond the scope of this blog post so I’ll recommend HubSpot’s buyer persona free guide, which includes templates for personas. One piece of advice about audience personas: Be open being wrong. Install Google Analytics on your website to collect data about your users. Review that data and hold quarterly review sessions with your team to edit, update and change your audience personas.

Do You Really Need Text-Heavy Pages?

I don’t have a hard-and-fast rule for how much text should be on a page, or a text-to-graphic ratio. The simple answer? As little or as much as needed. As you learn how to design a great website, use these design features to break up large blocks of text:

  • Shorter paragraphs of two to three sentences
  • Bulleted and numbered lists
  • Images, graphics, animated gifs and videos
  • Subheads

Consider breaking longer blocks of text into multiple pages or posts. This will keep users moving through your site and give their eyes a break.

Don’t Waste Your Space ‘Above the Fold’

“Above the fold” is an old newspaper term that refers to putting your most important entry points on the top half of the front page, so it will be the first thing readers see when they pick up their morning paper.

In the digital world, it’s the part of the page the user sees when he/she lands on a page. This area is valuable Internet real estate. Use it wisely and efficiently:

  • Have multiple entry points.
  • If your page is deeper, make sure users know to scroll down.
  • Your most important information should be at the top.

Let me rephrase the last bullet: The information most useful to your users should be at the top. It should tell them (in 15 seconds or less) who you are, what you do and why they should trust you.

Your ‘Contact Us’ Page Isn’t Inspiring

Even worse than an uninspiring contact page is one that is impossible to find. How many times have you tried to find contact information for a business and gone to its competitor because you couldn’t find it?

Unless you don’t want to be found … access to your contact information should be on every page of your site: in the header, the footer and along the side rail, if you have one. If your audience has to work too hard to find you, they’ll leave and look for your competition.

HostPapa wants to hear from you. What are other design mistakes you’ve made and corrected? We would love to hear your feedback on this topic!

Julio lives in Mexico City and writes for the HostPapa blog whenever he's not busy fixing old American sports cars. He writes about digital trends, small business tools and online marketing.

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