During our web design process we have a step called revisions which typically involve changing text, changing images, adding/removing pages, etc. Sometimes these revision requests really make us designers scratch our heads in confusion. The list compiled below are a few examples, and just to note, any quotes you see are purely hypothetical!
1. Removal of Page Titles
Let’s remove the page title at the top, the user knows what page they are on since they clicked on it in the menu.
Page titles are a great way to tell a visitor immediately what they will be reading while also telling search engines what the page is about.
Search engines like Google and Bing can’t see a website like we can, they read the website’s code instead. Page titles have a higher priority within the code than the rest of the text, meaning they are coded differently to make it easier for search engines to differentiate between headings and paragraphs.
By removing the page title we are making it harder for the search engines to figure out what the page is about.
While people are casually browsing a website, they rarely read the entire page from top to bottom, but skim it instead (you are probably skimming this blog article, and that’s ok, skim away!). Much like picking up a magazine or a book, we like to know what we are reading about before we flip through the pages.
A study done by Kinesis Inc. reported that once a page loads, visitors form an opinion in .05 seconds. If there is a chance that a visitor may be confused by what they are reading, make it clearer for them by keeping the page titles on your website.
2. Unoriginal product or service descriptions
As we all know, it’s not easy to be the top search result. If it were, there wouldn’t be agencies devoted to doing just that.
One of the criteria search engines look for when searching for a product are unique descriptions. That section on a product page that goes into detail about what the product is, what are it’s uses, what its made of, specifications, etc. should be a priority for any ecommerce store trying to separate itself from the competition.
It’s incredibly easy to just go with the manufacturer’s description, but you will find that the unique descriptions help in the long run. For example, if you’re selling a product that you use yourself, talk about your experiences with it, or even better if it involves an anecdotal story, tell the story!
If you are writing service descriptions try to write to them as if you were actually conversing with them; Don’t write a wishy-washy sentence that you would not say to them out loud.
3. Removal of Global CTAs
I don’t understand why we need that section on every page. Won’t it annoy people to see it over and over again??
A CTA or a “Call to Action”, is message on your website that you want to call the visitors attention to. Usually, it’s in the form of a “Contact Us” button or a link directing visitors to where you want them to go. Of course, sometimes there is more than one button or link on the page that you wish the visitor to click, and that’s ok, but it doesn’t hurt to have your main goal for the website highlighted in a more eyecatching way than the rest of the buttons and links.
That’s why we sometimes add a global CTA to the website, an attention-grabbing section that appears on every page, typically either at the bottom, right above the footer or at the top right.
Some may be surprised that visitors won’t be turned away by the use of a global CTA due to it’s repetitiveness. In fact, most won’t even pay attention to it at all as they are browsing the website until they have a need to look for it. That is to say, however, that you don’t want to make it too flashy, otherwise that would distract them from the content on the page.
A good thing to remember when reviewing your website before it launches is that you’re looking at the site way more critically than any common visitor would. You might be highly aware of that CTA on every page because you are actually reading every single page looking for typos and things to edit, but the people visiting your website won’t be.
4. Too Much Going On
All of these things must go on the homepage, they are all very important for my customers to see.
I’m sure we’ve all been to a website before that can be described as “busy” or “cluttered”. They seem to have a lot going on but nothing grabbing your attention more so than anything else, so your eyes end up flying over the page either not looking too closely at anything due to being overwhelmed or going from one thing to the next without comprehending what you are reading before jumping to the next thing.
According to a study done by Adobe, 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content/layout is unattractive. What those busy sites lack is called visual hierarchy, a presentation of elements to imply their importance.
As we are building websites we always keep this question in mind, “What do you want visitors to do on this page?” The answer will determine the visual hierarchy of that given page.
Now, with homepages it’s a little different because the purpose of a homepage is to draw visitors in deeper to the site. So instead of cluttering the homepage with details about services or products, be brief and provide a “Learn More” button or something similar for visitors to select.
For other pages on the site, like a services page, the answer to the question “What do you want visitors to do on this page?” would be to read the services and then reach out to the business for a quote. For a page like this you wouldn’t want the text to be too small and packed together in a wall of text.
That would be a sure-fire way to make them leave the page, not stay on it and read! Breaking up the content into sections with headings, subheadings, and images would be your goal to keep their interest and not scare them away with a big block of text. And don’t forget to include a CTA to let the visitor know what they should do next!
5. Confusing Sitemap
Everyone wants an easy-to-navigate website, which sounds like a simple thing to do most of the time if there aren’t too many pages, but once you have more than 18 pages or so of content it doesn’t seem as easy as you previously thought.
Going back to #4, always keep this question in mind, “What do you want visitors to do on your website?”. Usually the goal is to have them get informed about your products or services and then contact you or make a purchase.
If there is a page on the site that doesn’t directly help you get the visitor to complete that goal then it’s ok to hide the page deeper in the site. For example, you will rarely see the terms and conditions page of a website within the main menu.
Why? Because the information on that page isn’t relevant to your main goal.
During the website revision rounds it’s very easy to create a page on the site, have it link from another subpage and then move on with the other revisions, not realizing that page is not linked in the main menu at all. How often do you think hidden pages like this will be found if they are not in the main menu?
This is where your website analytics comes in handy once your website has launched. You will get to see what pages have the most traffic, and which ones do not. If there is a certain page that visitors are missing that perhaps you are getting calls and emails about, then that means the page needs to be easier to find on your website.
6. Postpone website launch
It’s our busy season right now. Can we come back to this later this year?
The amount of work that is involved in creating a website comes to a shock to many people. Writing the website content and finding images takes time and can be pretty intimidating at first.
The longer you procrastinate on it the longer your business will go without the benefits of a new website. Which usually means less purchases, if it’s an ecommerce site, or less leads for lead-generation sites.
With each month that passes, they could be missing out on sales they would have gotten if their website was more up-to-date.
Many times it’s much easier to get the majority of the website up with just a few pages “under construction” that way those few pages could be tackled and completed without the pressure of launching the entire website on your shoulders.
7. Requesting too many revisions
Like most extensive processes, sometimes people get caught up in one of the steps for a long period of time. It can be exhausting and wear you down to the point where you second guess yourself, and ask “Do I really want to continue with this? Should I give up and start over?”
When this happens during the revision step in the website design process, this typically means we all need to take a step back and reevaluate the website with fresh eyes. We may be making revisions that aren’t needed or don’t contribute to the overall goal of the website.
The exact same thing happens to us all in various situations in our workplace or in our hobbies. As a painter, how do we know when to stop painting and call the painting complete? While prepping for public speech, how do we know when to stop making slides and proving our point?
The answer is by seeking outside help, by asking for an honest peer review from someone you trust. Having them look at the site may tell you that missing “something” that seemed so far out of your grasp just hours ago is now incredibly apparent. We do this ourselves with every website we launch. So, if you’re ever get stuck in this grind yourself, don’t be afraid to ask for help!
The designers at FreshySites have seen many types of revision requests, and sometimes we have to take a step back and question whether the revision is the best thing to do for the website’s goal. The revision may not help the site’s search engine rankings grow or it may confuse the visitor and distract them from clicking that “Contact Us” button. Or even worse, it may lead to second guessing and eventual collapse of the project itself.
We absolutely don’t want to see this happen.We want to educate on the do’s and don’t of web design to empower everyone to ask questions and pick our brains on why we do the things we do. So, with that said, ask away!