16 website design myths you might be falling for
Just because a lot of people are doing it, does not mean that it’s the best way to design your website. Design norms exist for a reason and you need to make sure your website serves your followers. Don’t fall for these website myths!
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Funny Life Myths You Might Have Heard
There are a lot of myths out there about website design and they can actually be risky to your business. I’m guessing you probably believe some (if not all) of them.
How do I know that? Well, because I have worked with a lot of design clients. I have a lot of people in Tech Check. I get emails, I get DM’s. I know the questions that you have and the things that you believe are damaging your business.
Are you familiar with The Johnson Files on Instagram? If not, you need to be – they’re hilarious. They have a story highlight called “Confessions” and these are confessions from childhood that you don’t really want people to know. Many of them are based on misinformation, things people believed or things people taught others to believe that were not true.
Here are a few:
- My brother told me that it was illegal to mix milk and orange juice, and I thought it was true until I was 13 years old.
- I told a girl that I babysat that bread crusts make your teeth whiter. And she believed it until she was 18..
- I used to believe women who were pregnant couldn’t poop.
While these examples of misinformation are pretty funny, sometimes misinformation can really lead us astray. And that’s what I want to talk to you about today.
16 Website Design Myths that can hurt your business
I have 16 myths to share with you. There is one common thread that is true for all 16 of these design myths. These myths stem from the idea that our website is a service for us, or we create our websites for ourselves, instead of creating our websites as a service to our website visitors.
If you want to understand a little bit more about that concept, go listen to episode #83 of The Goodness Squad podcast, where I compare your website to Home Depot.
Myth #1 – You have to love your website
Not true. It’s okay if you don’t love your website, as long as your website visitors do. One example of this, I don’t love the colors on my website. I don’t love orange. I don’t, but orange evokes certain emotions that I want my people to feel. I chose orange for my website because my website is built to be a service to my readers.
Find more info in episode #86
Myth #2 – I need to sound really smart on my website
Wrong, not true. In fact, if you sound too smart, you are going to confuse your readers because guess what? You have the curse of knowledge! You know more about your topic than your readers. That’s a good thing because it will allow you to teach them. But when you speak as if you know more, you will use words that they don’t understand, at least words they don’t understand yet. And this can confuse them.
This is why the For Dummies books are so popular, right? Because they bring the language down a notch and make it easier for people to understand a concept. Your website needs to be a for dummies website.
Find more info in episode #88
Myth #3 – You need to tell your whole story on your homepage
Yes, your homepage is a very important page, but it needs to be strategic. You do not need to have every service, every blog post, every idea you’ve ever had, and your entire life history on your homepage. That will make it far less effective and overwhelm your readers. I get it. You do this because you want people to get to know, like, and trust you, but that’s not the way to do it. It will simply overwhelm your reader.
Find more info in episode #89
Myth #4 – Your about page is about you
Wrong, not true. Your about page needs to be about how you understand your website visitor and how you can help them.
Myth #5 – Stock photos will do the trick
Wrong. No. What if you went to your hairstylist and she had a bag over her head that had a picture of somebody else. Uh, Nope. Not going to help your readers, get to know, like, and trust you. Again, this is a service for you because you either don’t want to pay for pictures, you’re nervous about having your pictures taken. So you put up stock photos instead. Nope, not going to serve you.
Find more info in episode #90
Myth #6 – $5 a month for hosting will do the trick
Nope. It won’t. That’s, again, a service for you because you don’t want to pay more for hosting, but guess what? It’s going to create problems. Your website’s not going to be as fast. Your website is not going to be as secure. Your website will be down more often. That does not serve your readers.
Find more info in episode #91
Myth #7 – Design it once and you’re done
My current website has been live for about a year and a half. And you would think that really isn’t that long, but guess what? I have redesigned, or at least tweaked it, almost monthly because every single time I learn something new about you, I want to tweak my website to better fit your needs.
Find more info in episode #92
Myth #8 – Your homepage is what matters most
If you have watched my MAP Method Makeover, then you know that I teach that your homepage is a really, really important page on your website. And it is because it’s where people go after they’ve met you on social media, through a blog post you wrote, because somebody referred them to you. That’s where they go after they’ve already been introduced to you.
But guess what? Those pages, where they are introduced to you, are even more important. Your homepage is important because lots of people will see it, right? Whether they come to your website for blog post A or blog post Z, they’re going to eventually head to your homepage to learn more about you. But blog post A and blog post Z both have to be effective at convincing them it’s worth checking out your homepage.
Find more info in episode #93
Myth #9 – Mobile responsiveness is enough
What do I mean by mobile responsiveness? Well, mobile responsiveness is very different from mobile friendly. Mobile responsive means that your theme, or your website builder like Wix or Weebly or Squarespace, they are mobile responsive and it will automatically move your picture on top of your text instead of side-by-side.
So you might have a picture on desktop that is a picture and text that are side by side. But if your theme or your builder is mobile responsive, it will automatically put that picture on top of the text when somebody is looking at your website on mobile.
Now this is great, and it’s a great starting point, but it doesn’t necessarily mean mobile friendly. There are themes that happen automatically like that, that look really ugly on mobile. And you need more refined control of your mobile website, because if I had to venture a guess, at least half (if not a majority) of your website visitors are viewing your website on mobile. It must be mobile friendly, meaning you must have fine-tuned control of your website, in order to make the most of the mobile website, which is essential.
Find more info in episode #94
Myth #10 – My visitors will read my website
No, they won’t. I know it might come as a shock that your website visitors are not going to read every single word on your website. They simply aren’t. They don’t have the time. And it just isn’t that interesting. They are going to read what is most important for them. This is why you have to have headers, short sentences, short paragraphs, bullet points lists. This is going to make your website scannable, which is essential.
Find more info in episode #95
Myth #11 – If I build a beautiful website, lots of people are going to come
Nope, not true. You have to drive traffic to your website. And there are three ways to do this.
- You can do this through SEO, which basically is a waiting game. You have to know what you’re doing with SEO, and then you’ve got to wait for it to work.
- You can do this through collaboration with other people, getting to know other people in your industry and collaborating with them and growing your audiences together.
- You can do this through paid ads.
Find more info in episode #96
Myth #12 – Sliders are sleek
I cannot tell you how many times a website design client has asked me for a slider at the top of their website. Don’t do it. This is a service to you, not to your reader. You think it looks cool. You think it’s trendy and you want to be part of it. And so you put the slider up there, but guess what happens?
Somebody is reading the first slider and it moves to the second and they weren’t done reading. It frustrates your readers. I promise it frustrates your readers. You are not helping them by putting a slider, a tech slider, at the top of your website.
This is true of more than just sliders though. This is true of movement, of animations, of the screen moving behind while you scroll. Those types of things, more often than not, are distractions to your readers. It takes their eye and their focus away from the content that will actually help.
Remember my story back in episode #83 about Home Depot and the nails? So I’m headed to that nail aisle and I see the sign that the nails are in this aisle and I’m headed over there. But then I see Santa Claus dancing over to the right. I’m going to get distracted and I’m going to go look at Santa Claus instead of my nails.
You don’t want your website readers to do this. Stop distracting them with lots of movement and animation and motion on your website.
Find more info in episode #97
Myth #13 – If your website is pretty enough, people are going to sign up, purchase, enroll, schedule, whatever
Not true. You have to ask them to do it. You have to ask them to shop or buy or enroll or schedule. You must have effective, clear calls to actions on your website.
Find more info in episode #98
Myth #14 – Everyone should love your website
Mm, not true. Stop asking your mom for feedback on your website. The only people who should love your website are your ideal client, the dream person, the person that you really enjoy working with, and that you are best at helping. They should love your website. Not you, not your mom, not your best friend, not your sister, not your neighbor. Not everybody on Facebook that you ask for feedback from stop asking for feedback from everyone because your website needs to serve the person it’s meant to.
Find more info in episode #99
Myth #15 – The more choices, the better, right?
This creates analysis paralysis. If you give people too many choices, too many next steps, too many ways to work with you, too many options they become paralyzed and they don’t know which option to take because there’s too much to analyze.
They think, “Oh, I’ve got five different options. Oh, I don’t have the time to learn about all five options. So I’ll do that later.” And they close the website and you’ve lost a customer or an email subscriber. Don’t do it. Make their options very, very few and guide them through your website.
This is like if I’m in that nail aisle at Home Depot, and I see that there are 50 different types of nails, I might just walk away because I just don’t even know where to start.
Myth #16 – My website must be unique
No, please stop. There are design norms for a reason because they serve your reader. When you want to make your website crazy unique, what you are doing is confusing your reader.
This is like if I go into Home Depot and instead of the sign for nails being up above the aisle, it’s down on the ground. I don’t know to look there and so even if I do eventually find it, I’m probably going to be frustrated when I do so. Stop putting your navigation in a clever place. Make sure that your contact information is in your footer. There are design norms for a reason and it’s because they serve your visitor.
The purpose of your website is to serve those who visit it
If you want to dispel all 16 of these myths, you must remember that your website is meant as a service to the visitors, not to you.
If you want more help making your website a service to your readers, then sign up for my Homepage Makeover Masterclass, where I walk you through how to make over your website using my MAP method. MAP stands for money and people, meaning we want your website to earn you money and serve your people.
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