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5 of the Most Common Web Design Myths Debunked

By Jessica Glynn

5 of the Most Common Web Design Myths Debunked


You've probably heard that you shouldn't believe everything you read on the Internet.

However, in today's digital age, many people swear by what they've seen and read on the Internet.

State Farm even has a commercial poking fun at those who take what they read online at face value. While we may laugh at the commercial, all Internet users are probably guilty of her mistake to some degree.

This happens because we want to believe that what people tell us is true. It also happens because we think if everyone else is doing it, it must be right.

We follow each other's leads. The leaders become trendsetters. Someone attempts to explain the trends. We take their speculation as fact. Usually, because they made a good argument, so we just believe it to be true. And so a myth is born.

Web Design Myths Debunked

Do you wait half an hour to go swimming after you eat?

If so you probably think this will help you avoid cramps, although there's no scientific evidence to back this up. Breaking free from this myth will give you the freedom to jump in the pool whenever you want during a cookout.

We're going to bust 5 common web design myths to give you the freedom to find what works best for you on your website.

1. Your CTA Needs to Stay Above the Fold

I used to create all of my calls to action strictly above the fold. I cut content, cropped images, whatever I needed to do to make it work. All because I really believed this myth to be true.

I couldn't have been more wrong.

According to a case study from Content Verve, a below the fold CTA outperformed an above the fold one by 304%! This does not necessarily mean that you have to put your CTAs below the fold; it just means that you should break away from the idea that it is a requirement.

This web design myth was based on the idea that prospects wouldn't scroll down for an offer.

If your content is worth reading, people will click the read more link; so why would we assume they wouldn't scroll down for an offer? Make your offer something they want, they will scroll down for it.

People have also been using the web long enough that they expect to do some scrolling online.

2. Looks is the Most Important Aspect of Design

A lot of small businesses have beautiful home pages that impress me with their design. But then when I look for anything on the site, I can't find it.

Places where content should have a "coming soon" message, that's been there for three years. While a visually striking site design can help to keep people on your website, a site that looks good and that's it will not be effective for any business.

In fact it will be the website equivalent of a peacock; all show, no meat.

This web design myth happens when we get caught up on the idea that design is just graphics. The way a website is laid out is an important aspect of design as well. If you had a beautiful website where you couldn't read the text over the background, then that would be a design flaw.

3. The Homepage Matters the Most

Unless you are going directly to a website, you probably will not land on the website's homepage. They may never see your homepage.

So putting all the design focus on the homepage is kind of a waste of time. Having a consistent design throughout your website is more important than having a nice homepage.

Think about a realistic first visit to a website. Say you find a site based on a blog post they wrote that came up in search results. You read the blog, liked what you saw and wanted to find out more about the company. So then you read more blogs, read about the services, maybe read about the people at the company. You never end up going to the homepage. You may see it on a return trip, unless you bookmarked a certain page, and then you never see it at all.

That is not to say your homepage doesn't matter; it does. There are people who will go to your homepage first, or return visitors who will go straight to it. It is just not the only part of the site that needs to be well designed.

4. Your Website is a Sales Tool

Okay, it is a sales tool, but it shouldn't behave like one. Don't design the site around the sale.

A sales-focused design would be one that has huge buttons or graphics that seem to beg visitors to click them to be contacted immediately. It is rare that people land on your website ready to be sold to.

Creating a sales focused experience will not inspire return visits. An easy to navigate website that provides visitors with value needs to be the priority.

CTA's should explain their value to the site visitor. They need to know whether they are clicking for more information, or to have someone contact them. Not everyone who visits your site will ever be a sale.

Separate the casual visitor from the qualified leads by creating different offers for each part of the sales funnel. Different visitors have different needs, and it is important to provide people with that they are looking for no matter what stage they are in.

5. More Widgets Make a Better Site

Sometimes a new feature that seems "cool" gets a lot of attention, but just doesn't catch on. Like QR codes.

Two years ago companies started to put QR codes directing back to their websites on everything- including their websites. The idea of easily driving people to your mobile site is great. However, if someone is already on your website, and you expect them to scan your QR code to go to the mobile version, the mobile version better have some added value.

Adding widgets that direct visitors to your social media sites is a great idea. But don't direct them to the platforms you aren't using. If you only have one video on YouTube, don't use the widget to direct people there. Also consider how you are going to place the widgets so as they don't look cluttered. Most of the social network sites offer different options for their buttons. By keeping your widgets organized together and a consistent size, your site will look professional.

It can be hard to break our habits, even if they are based on myth. By conducting your own A/B testing you can find out if these web design myths are working for you, or if you're better off breaking free from their rules.

Free: Assessment

Does your website build trust with buyers and bring in revenue?
Take this free 6 question assessment and learn how your website can start living up to its potential.


Web Design
Published on July 24, 2013

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