5 Signs of an Amateur Website
Do you ever go poking around on other people's websites? Maybe your competitors? Or maybe just to see what others are up to? We poke around often. We went looking around a ton of different Kansas City creative's websites recently to collect email addresses and promote a hashtag (#kccreativelife). While we were on a mission to find email addresses, we discovered that there are some badass websites out there and some websites that have potential to be badass but have some things that make the sites look super amateur. So we got to thinking that this is probably true for all creative's, not just those in KC.
Here are a few things that we found that made a website look amateur compared to others...
Too stocky looking photos.
Or just bad photography. Nesha shares about the No. 1 Thing That Will Make Or Break Your Website and we couldn't agree more. Your website photography matters and it matters more than you think. But, it's an investment and that's the part that scares people. Do not invest in bad stock photography because it's cheap. Check out Stocksy.com - it's our favorite! You can snag awesome (and relative) photos for just $15.
You don't have to pay a ton of money to have a brand. Although we recommend hiring a designer to help you build a logo and brand you can still have a brand with two things - a consistent typeface and color palette. Check out creativemarket.com for unique typefaces. Start small but be consistent. Once your budget grows, you can hire a designer for a brand re-fresh.
Not enough copy/info.
One of the most common questions we get asked when people inquire about building a website is "what if I want more than 7 pages on my website?". Rarely do we ever build a site that needs more than 7 custom designed pages. Why? Because too much information overwhelms your reader. Also, too little information (copy) underwhelms your reader. You need to find a happy medium between copy and photography.
If you have 25 pages or too much copy the average viewer will not read it all or click through all your pages. They will search for the important stuff, if they can't find it, they'll be done. Don't make this mistake.
No contrast in the color palette.
Your color palette needs contrast. Bold colors are fabulous. We've never met a color we didn't love BUT you need to compliment them with at least one soft color or lighter color. All bold colors create a cluttered look if the design isn't of immaculate quality. Even if you simply just add black and white as two colors to your color palette. These are the most contrasting colors of them all.
Have you read our post Website Mistakes You Can Remedy in Less Than 5 Minutes? In that post we shared that we visited over 200 different creative sites and the number one issue with most sites we visited is that it was HARD to contact them. Because, there was missing information. They didn't have their email address readily available (in the footer or on their contact page). On some sites they didn't have a contact form or the form wasn't working.
When you review your site you really have to put yourself in your reader/viewer's shoes. Think about how they would read your site, where they would click, what information is important to them, etc. You really have to make the usability of your site and the information you provide more about your reader than yourself. Which... is super hard to do because it's your business, right?
This could also fall under 'missing info'. The most important thing about call-to-actions is where they are located on your site. No one should get to the bottom of your site or a page and have no where to click or no where to go. The browser 'back' button shouldn't serve as a call-to-action or navigation on your site.
Are you making any of these mistakes? Our recommendation is have a few users read through your site and then ask them some simple questions and get their opinion.