It’s the year 2016, and hopefully by now your business has its very own website. Regardless if you have a company website or not, it’s a good idea to have an understanding of the exact web design trends you should be avoiding in 2016. When business owners launch a brand new website, they might be stuck in the web design trends of the late 1990s—this is especially the case if they attempt a DIY approach on designing a custom website.
But if your company website has been around for a while, this overview applies to you, too. Sometimes business owners don’t realize how a refresh for your website can really put a new spin on your brand. If you’re using any of the following old (note: bad) web design trends from years past, you’re overdue for a revamp on your company website.
Web Design Trend #1: Websites That Aren’t Optimized for Mobile
In 2016, it’s vitally important to have your website optimized for mobile. This is because more searches are conducted on mobile platforms than desktop. With more customers searching from their mobile device than ever before, you’ll need a mobile friendly version of your website to give the best customer experience possible.
Why is it so important to have a responsive website? There are several reasons. First, websites that aren’t designed for mobile viewing will require a lot of pinching and zooming on mobile screens. If you’ve experienced this situation first hand, you’re well aware of how quickly this becomes annoying. In fact, it can become so annoying that customers may choose to visit another website to get what they’re looking for.
Yes, you can lose business if your website isn’t optimized for mobile.
Furthermore, a responsive website is important for SEO purposes. Google released an update in 2015 that was dubbed as ‘Mobilegeddon,’ which was forecasted to have negative effects for businesses with websites that aren’t mobile friendly. One study concluded that nearly 50% of websites that weren’t mobile friendly dropped in rank after the update.
The bottom line is that without a mobile friendly website, your website’s design will look less than appealing on mobile devices. Your website’s search engine ranking can suffer for it, too.
Web Design Trend #2: Massive Navigation Menus
Back in the early 2000s, dropdown navigation menus were in their glory. Anyone who had a modern website would have a streamlined drop down menu front-and-center, and often times these menus would contain dozens of links. These links would expand the drop down menus, and they would sometimes take up as much as 25% of the screen.
If you’re still using large navigation menus, it’s time to condense those links. This isn’t to say that you should get rid of content—please do your research before you delete anything. You should carefully review your content and consider what can be combined and condensed to make your navigation menu easier to use.
Massive navigation menus can easily overwhelm your customers, making them unsure of where to start first. Remember the “keep it simple” rule when you’re planning out your navigation menu.
Web Design Trend #3: Bad Stock Photography
Luckily, this is one of the web design trends that are slowly fading away. However, there are still company websites that are portraying a less-than-professional image thanks to bad stock photography.
Although we give credit for business owners investing in stock photo subscription vs. swiping copyright images from the web, there still needs to be an intervention on this. Bad stock photography brings down the value of your website and makes your company look like it’s way behind the times.
What’s classified as bad stock photography? Think about tacky stock photos that you see on business websites—like the photos that have generic groups of people sitting around a table for a discussion. A lot of stock photography that focuses around an office or business looks incredibly cheesy, and you’ll have to be selective if you decide to use these types of photos for your business.
Get the full effect of bad business stock photography over at Hubspot’s 13 Hilarious Examples of Truly Awful Stock Photography.
Web Design Trend #4: Free Web Design Templates
While there’s nothing wrong at all about using a template for your website, especially if you’re not a professional web designer, there’s a place to draw the line. Free web design templates for WordPress and other content management systems can look downright awful if you don’t know how to customize and make it your own.
Not to mention, free web design templates actually impose security risks to your website. Most themes require to be updated every so often, and not doing so can open your website up for exploited scripts and hacking incidents. Some free web design templates even come equipped with their very own loopholes to purposely allow hackers into your website. Unfortunately, there is no way to tell if your theme is vulnerable without a professional. Our best advice is to spring for a paid theme that you can customize, or hire a web designer to design a theme for you.
Web Design Trend #5: Embedding Font Into Images
Embedding font into images is one of the best way to showcase beautiful font on your website, but it’s a bad trend that needs to come to an end. This is because font embedded within images can’t be read by web crawlers, which makes it difficult (if not impossible) to achieve good search engine rankings with text in images.
If you want to make a statement with your text, consider using H1 and H2 tags for headlines. You can use CSS to make these tags pop without using any SEO value in the process.
How is Your Website Performing in 2016?
Your website’s performance isn’t just based on SEO, but also user experience. A poorly designed website equates to poor user experience, which will send customers clicking away to your competitor’s website. Keep your website’s design modern and polished, and conversions will surely follow.
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