Are you building your own website? After many website rehab sessions and client intro calls, I’ve noticed some of the same mistakes over and over, that people make when they build their own website.
If you’re a newer business owner, I actually recommend you build your own website. That might come as a surprise, but you may not feel clear enough to really invest fully in a custom website yet and that’s ok.
Maybe you have one of our templates or another designer’s templates or you may have even started from scratch. Of course, going the DIY route is also less expensive than hiring a website designer.
Just be sure if you DIY your website, that you steer clear of these 11 DIY website design mistakes.
1. Burying content behind too many clicks
People want to conserve calories no matter what they’re doing every day. Browsing websites is definitely one of those things that they don’t need to be confused about. If you have a services page or another important goal for your website DO NOT hide it behind multiple clicks on your website.
Most website visitors will only make one or two clicks at most and that’s if they’re really interested. Put your best stuff front and forward-facing.
2. One big image on the homepage and nothing else
I’ve worked with a lot of interior designers that this is their default look and feel when they’re describing what they want in a website. For some it’s a good fit but I always push back at first letting them know what a big opportunity they’re missing by not explaining what they do on their homepage.
Statistically, home pages are visited more than any other page and if all you’re doing is showing them one large wedding photo or interior photo you’re missing out on telling part of your story and possibly capturing them as a client.
3. Amateur images
Your iPhone can take great pictures. That doesn’t mean that you need to use them across your entire website. There are free and really reasonably-priced paid stock photography sites all over the internet.
There are also ways to shrink your images so that they are still clear and crisp which is the ultimate indication of a professional photo. Don’t let your pictures be blurry!
4. Mixed style of graphics and fonts
Even if you don’t have a great eye for design I would bet money that you could tell me when a design is more modern or more retro, or very classic.
Pick which direction you’re going and make sure that your graphics and fonts line up with that. For example, if you are making a modern style website, you will want to use modern, clean, and bold fonts and your graphics will be more eye-catching with pops of colors. You would not mix in watercolor artwork and a bunch of script fonts with a super modern website design.
5. Font sizes all wacky
Many website building platforms today, including Elementor which is one of our favorites, along with things like Squarespace and Webflow, they all make it very easy to stick to just a few font sizes.
Remember the goal of having varied font sizes is to draw attention to what is most important and what is less important on the page. We call this “Visual Hierarchy” in website design.
If your font sizes are all over the place you’re not helping to indicate what is important and you’re going to lose the scannable aspect of your website.
6. Limit your fonts and colors
This kinda’ comes naturally after the “font sizes all wacky” above, but one of the areas your fonts can feel off to a user is when you don’t limit the number of colors you use or the styles of fonts.
You might have a brand board with six colors on it, but know that using a couple of those consistently will be easier on your website visitors than using 12 different colors across the entire site.
The same goes for the fonts you use on your website. Pick one or two fonts. Ideally, you would find a font superfamily where you could use the same font just in different weights and styles throughout your website. If you really feel the need to use additional accent fonts, limit it to one that’s different from your main font.
7. Not mixing in testimonials
Since we already mentioned that people don’t go to multiple pages on your site it’s important to know that if you have a testimonials page on your website it’s likely that people will miss that entire page.
Instead, I encourage all of my clients (rather custom-build clients or template clients, or our course students) to sprinkle their testimonials throughout their entire website.
I love it when I see at least one per page and if you are building out a sales page make sure there are as many as you have that are valuable to that product.
8. Making it all about you
So yes, your website is a representation of you… but it’s got to be about that end-user. They’re the ones that are paying for your services and so you need to draw them in and guide them through your website.
If you are talking about yourself constantly and only your achievements and how great you are, you’re going to lose that potential client.
They deserve to be celebrated and you need to make sure that your website draws them in and makes it as much about them and their success as possible. This is true whether you have a B2B business or a B2C business.
9. Using every copywriting formula you find online
A few quick Pinterest searches and you will land in a large pile of copywriting templates and formulas. Of course none of it was “done for you” as much as you would like, and if you didn’t have the funds to hire a copywriter then you probably have a hodgepodge of copywriting formulas on your website.
Find a few proven ones such as Problem Agitate Solution (PAS) and use that. Don’t try to intermix every copywriting tip that you find online.
10. Copying pages from other sites (we teach block banking instead)
We get it, it’s really fun to look through other people’s websites and get inspiration. The problem is when you are inspired a little too far and begin to copy entire pages.
We never want to copy an entire website, but even when you begin to copy big chunks of different people’s websites, that really makes your website look disjointed.
In our course, we teach a theory called “block banking” which is where we will take a collection of small areas that we like, across multiple websites, without any relation to the original site as a whole. Then we dissect what we like best about that feature, and see if it’s something that we could repeat on the website or template we’re building.
Copy the essence of it, not the whole thing.
11. Pages don’t have goals
If you have no common goal between all of your pages your visitors will end up just running in circles. Ideally each page would have its own goal, but the website overall should just have one or two goals.
Asking people to do different things on every page, or worse, asking them to do multiple things on the same page is just going to confuse them and they’re going to leave.
If you feel like you’re making some of these mistakes don’t worry we’ve all made some of them (or many of them) at different points in time.
If you’re feeling like you just need a game plan, sort of like a blueprint, to follow and build a website with the right steps in the right order, I’d love to have you join the waitlist for Site Design Blueprint. Doors will open soon and I’d love to walk you through building a website from start to finish with all the right steps in order.
Or if you’re totally over DIY-ing your website and you’re ready to throw your computer at the wall… Stop! and send us a message, and save your computer (you probably need it for your business 😂) and we can definitely help get you a website set up, that eliminates all of these mistakes!