10 Small Business Web Design Mistakes
Your website is integral to your marketing efforts and the reputation of your business. A poorly designed site will waste your budget and time initially, but you’ll also lose out on potential customers as they turn away to your competitors. A well-designed site encourages users to explore your products and services, commit to your intended action, and purchase your products or get in touch with your company.
Visitors access your site for a reason, and you want to make sure that you provide what they are looking for and present your business in the best possible light. Avoid the following web design mistakes to ensure that you make the right impression on potential customers.
10 Web Design Mistakes To Avoid When Creating A Small Business Website
1. Not Doing Your Research
Your website is your online real estate, and just like any real estate project, you have to make sure you’re building on solid foundations. Do your research and determine your target audience, using that information to inform your design choices and web development.
If you’re targeting an older audience, consider making your font size larger and reducing color contrast to ensure your web pages are easy to read. If your products are aimed towards a younger generation, you might want to pay special attention to social share options and making your website mobile friendly. Your design choices should always be based on what you know about your target audience.
2. Cluttered Page Layout
Small business websites have a common problem. Inexperienced and DIY web designers can get carried away with their creativity, cramming in as much as possible on every web page. The result? A cluttered and busy web page that is almost unreadable – 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the layout is unattractive.
Keep your visitors in mind and use ample white space to let your web design elements breathe. The more features on a page, the more divided your user’s attention. Focus on the purpose of each page and make your content easy to read to increase engagement and improve user experience.
3. No CTAs
What do you want people to do when they visit your website? Do you want them to purchase a product, sign up to your email list, or get in contact with your business?
If you don’t ask people to commit to the next step, they won’t do it. Use strong and clear calls to action to tell the user what to do next. Your supporting content should answer the question, “what’s in it for me?”
4. Choosing A Web Designer Purely on Price
While it might be possible to find a great web designer that is just starting out and willing to work for reduced rates, the general rule is that you get what you pay for. Your small business website is the hub of your online presence, hiring a cheap web designer can result in a terrible end product that does more to damage your company’s reputation than improve it.
That being said, an expensive design agency might not be the right choice either. Most small businesses are focused on the ROI of their website, whereas large agencies working with major brands can be more focused on brand visibility and web development that doesn’t align with your business goals. Research possible web designers for your project and clearly state your goals to ensure you get a quality end product.
5. Targeting Everyone
Another reason to do your research and know your target audience. By trying to please everyone, your website will fail to make an impression on anyone.
Define your target audience and compile information on everything you know about them. Use this information to create the best possible experience for your target audience. The more you know your audience, the more you can target your web copy and design elements, and the more your audience will feel you are talking to them.
6. Choosing the DIY Route
The chances are that your website will be the first interaction that your potential customers have with your business. If you don’t have any experience with web design, do you really think that you’ll be able to produce a quality end product?
First impressions are crucial in business. Don’t let a poorly designed website damage the credibility of your business.
7. Complicated Navigation
Poor navigation is a sure fire way to frustrate visitors. We live in a fast-paced world, where people want and expect to find things quickly. The average human attention span has declined to 8 seconds. Making your website hard to navigate will see your user abandon your site and disappear back to the SERP. Make your menus and navigation elements easy to find, and intuitive to use to encourage users to explore your site.
8. Contact Information is Hard to Find
Make it easy for visitors to find your contact information. According to KoMarketing, 44% of visitors will abandon a company website if they can’t find a phone number or contact information. What’s the point of having a website if users cant get in touch with you to find out more about your products and services? While you don’t have to dedicate space on every page to contact information, users should be able to find it with a single click.
9. Website is Not Secure (HTTPS)
It’s an unfortunate reality that data breaches are becoming more and more common. Around 18.5 million websites are infected with malware at any given time. Securing your user’s data should be a priority anyway, but you’ll also be punished in search engine rankings if you don’t secure your site.
Not having a secure website is a warning sign for your visitors and search engines, and it’s not just for e-commerce stores. If you request any personal information from users, your site must be secure.
10. No Testing
How many times have you accessed a web page to find the content and design elements distorted? Testing is a crucial stage in the development of a website. Your web designer should have a checklist in place to ensure your site is tested before it goes live.
l Is your design consistent across all browsers and devices?
l Can search engines effectively crawl your website?
l Are all internal and external links working?
Conduct sufficient testing before you start directing your potential customers to your website.
Your small business website is the hub of your online presence. While it might not be necessary to spend a fortune on developing your website, it is important the components of successful small business web design, follow the best practices and hire a professional if you have no experience with web design.
It’s not enough to simply throw up a cheap small business website with your phone number. The modern consumer expects an engaging and enjoyable browsing experience when they access a website. If you’re not providing it, they will find a company that does.
THE 10 COMPONENTS OF A SUCCESSFUL SMALL BUSINESS WEBSITE
10 Tips For Choosing The Right Web Designer
The success of your business website project starts with selecting the right design team. Whether building from scratch or overhauling an existing website, you want a partnership that can enhance the reach of your business and strength of your online presence. Below are ten tips for choosing the right designer and starting your project on solid foundations.
1. They Understand Your Industry
Working with a web designer that has experience and knowledge in your industry goes a long way to ensuring a quality end product. The strategies and techniques that work for an e-commerce store won’t be as effective for a restaurant’s brochure website.
Consider how they approach client work when evaluating your options. Do all of their previous client websites look similar? Do they make design choices based on the clients target audience or just because they look good? An experienced design team should be able to discuss the needs of your business and provide solutions that are catered to your audience and align with your business goals.
2. They Know the Importance of Conversions
Web design is much more than just creating a “pretty” website. What use is a beautiful website if it doesn’t help your business achieve its marketing goals?
A good design team knows how to convert traffic into leads and paying customers through appropriate page layout, calls to action, and information architecture. Your web designer should use proven techniques to build your website, and then use data to drive improvements and increase conversions.
3. They Go Beyond Frontend Design
Your website should be a reflection of your brand, be effective at engaging your audience, and encourage visitors to purchase your products and services. Lot’s of agencies are capable of building a slick and visually appealing website, but do they help their client hit their SEO targets? Do they design with user experience in mind?
Your website should be appropriately optimized for search engines and design choices should be influenced by user experience and conversion optimization. An experience design agency should be able to provide solutions that go beyond creating a “pretty” website.
4. They Offer Responsive Web Design
A responsive web design isn’t optional, it’s now a must for any business website. Mobile usage is growing every year, and it’s predicted there will be 5.5 billion mobile users by 2020. As more and more people access the internet from their smartphones, you need to make sure that your website is optimized to perform on every device. If your agency is still suggesting that a separate mobile site is a better option, you should consider whether they are a good fit for your project.
5. Don’t Choose on Price Alone
Magicdust, one of Australia’s longest practicing web design companies, advocates that your website is your online salesman, it works around the clock to grow your business and never takes a day off. A good web designer understands how vital your website is to your company and will discuss your business goals, marketing strategy, and time scale of the project before providing a detailed quote.
If you’re given a quote without discussing these factors, it’s a sign that your web designer might not be the choice.
6. They Set Goals and Measure Progress
Great web design goes beyond just building a website and saying goodbye once it’s launched. If your site is left to sit on the shelf, your losing a competitive edge to your rivals. Testing and improving is a critical factor in good marketing and website optimisation.
An experienced design team knows that your project is an ongoing partnership and process. They set goals, measure performance, and strive to improve results.
7. Talk to Their Previous Clients
Real client feedback is a transparent and valuable resource for evaluating a design agency. Inquire with previous clients to assess the quality of a designer’s work, their responsiveness, and their project management skills.
Partnering with an agency is a big step. By talking with people that have already gone through the process, you can better judge whether an agency can meet your business needs.
8. Hidden Fees
Make sure you know the upfront initial costs involved in building your site and any ongoing fees for maintenance and management. Your website will require regular maintenance, and you should know these costs beforehand so you can anticipate and budget for them. Ask your designer about:
- Build costs
- Hosting fees
- Security fees
- Maintenance and optimization fees
- Performance reports
Most agencies provide a packaged monthly or quarterly fee for these services. Whatever the costs involved, your designer should be clear and give an accurate quote before they start working on your project.
9. Ensure Your Business Owns the Intellectual Rights
Make sure that your company will own the intellectual property rights to your website. Although you might assume this will be the case, it’s important to get clarification from your web designer to prevent any misunderstandings at a later date.
If at some point you choose to sell your business, not owning the rights to your design and web content can derail a potential sale. Signing over intellectual property rights is standard practice, but it’s always a good idea to clarify.
10. They Have a Track Record
What’s the best way to evaluate a web designer or design agency? Check out their previous projects and experience the live websites they have created for clients. Don’t base your decision purely on mockups or screenshots of previous work.
You want to get a hands-on feel for the websites they are capable of building – it’s even better if your designer can share details about the goals and strategy behind the project. If you don’t see anything that resembles what you are looking for, they might not be a good fit for your project.
Choosing a web designer isn’t a process you should rush. Do your research and make a shortlist of possibilities based on recommendations and reviews. Schedule consultations with your shortlisted designers and be clear about your business goals and what you expect from the project.
Good designers are confident in their abilities and should be honest if they are a good fit for your project or not. Once you have the right design team on board, you can focus on running your business safe in the knowledge you have a competent team developing your online presence.
9 Ways Web Design Can Improve Website Usability
Usability is a crucial factor in the performance of any website. You want your site to provide a smooth, fast, and satisfying experience to visitors.
There are several factors that contribute to the usability and how well your website performs for users. Poor usability will harm your conversion rate, increase your bounce rate, and even cause visitors to question the credibility of your business.
Ensuring that visitors enjoy a clear, easy to use, and consistent experience will help you turn casual browsers into paying customers. To achieve this, you need to keep the following factors in mind when creating the web design elements of your website.
Let’s start off by going back to the basics of website design: accessibility. If visitors try to access your website and, for some reason, it doesn’t work – your website is useless.
The basics of accessibility:
- Reliable server – make sure visitors can connect to your website without coming across any loading errors. Invest in reliable hosting.
- Broken links – ensure all internal links on your website are working. Dead links are a sure fire way to frustrate users and cause them to bounce.
- Mobile responsive – it’s important that visitors can access and easily navigate your website, no matter what device and connection they use.
According to Magicdust, an agency that does web design in Sydney, clarity is key to usability. If you confuse or distract users, they’ll either forget why they came to your site, or get frustrated and abandon your site.
Visitors land on your website with a goal in mind. You should make it as fast and straightforward as possible for users to reach their goal. If you can achieve that, you lay the framework for each visitor to have a positive experience of your website.
- Keep it simple – focus on user intent and avoid distracting users with content that is not relevant.
- Guide your users – don’t just leave visitors to find their own way around, offer a helping hand to guide them through and show them what you have to offer.
- Easy navigation – make sure users can easily find their way around your site.
3. Intuitive Interface
Focus on providing an intuitive interface – one that doesn’t require extensive instruction, or an extended process of trial and error to figure out.
People have familiarity with a lot of web design concepts. By using design concepts people are familiar with, you can help visitors achieve their goals faster and efficiently interact with your site.
Human beings are drawn to patterns and familiarity, we’re much better at dealing with situations and things that we have seen before than unfamiliar ones.
If people don’t trust you, they won’t buy from you. A badly designed can cause visitors to question your credibility in many ways.
Make it clear that you are a real company with real people. A substantial “About Us” page combined with clear contact details and a physical address can go a long way to establish credibility.
Your content is also essential in establishing the trustworthiness of your website. Make sure your content is grammatically correct and error free. Include testimonials and relevant industry credentials to win over your visitors.
5. Be Relevant
Make sure your web design and content is relevant. It’s essential that you know your audience and their pain points – why people come to your website.
Start by defining your buyer personas. Then, communicate with your customers and visitors to your website to establish their purpose for visiting your website. Finally, identify the situations and problems people are looking to solve when they visit your site.
This information is vital for informing your content and design choices to make sure your website is as user-friendly as possible.
Your main design elements should be consistent throughout every page of your website. Switching layouts and designs only create confusion for the user.
Imagine browsing an e-commerce store and adding a product to your cart. You decide to browse some more products and click onto a different page, only to be confronted by a different theme and layout. You’d be confused and probably abandon your purchase. Ensure all your web design elements are consistent across your website.
7. Easy to Read Content
If people struggle to read the text on your website, they won’t engage with your content, and they’ll bounce.
Pick a font that’s easy to read and pay attention to your spacing, the lengths of your paragraphs, and your choice of colours. Even a standard font can be difficult to make out if it’s made blue and put over a purple background.
The average person browsing the web will only read 20% of your website. Make sure your content is easily scannable:
- Use short paragraphs
- Include lots of subheadings
- Bullet points
If every section was a solid block of text, it would make it very difficult to read. Making sure your content is clear and easily scannable improves the usability of your website.
8. Stick to the Best Practices of Web Design
It’s fun to experiment and get creative. However, use that innovation in your products and marketing efforts, not in your web design.
People have expectations they expect to be met when they land on a web page, for example:
- Company logo located in the top left of the page
- Contact info in the top right
- Main menu located in the header of each page
- Search bar placed at the top of the header
- Social media links found in the footer
It might be tempting to try and develop a new and unique design for your website, but it will probably distract the flow of your visitors and harm your user experience. Web design best practices are established for a reason, follow them to avoid confusing your visitors. For more guidance check out
9. Follow WCAG standards
Around 15% of the population of the world lives with some type of disability. You want to ensure that every visitor to your website has a positive experience. Fortunately, the web content accessibility guidelines (WCAG) are there to ensure that your website is user-friendly for people with disabilities.
The WCAC states four principles to ensure your website meets accessibility standards:
- Robust for as many people as possible
For example, there are around 300 million people that suffer from colour blindness. They process certain colours differently and can’t distinguish between particular conflicting colours. Something you want to bear in mind when creating web elements.
Ensure you accommodate for visitors with hearing issues by adding captions to any video content, and avoid flashing lights and backgrounds that could trigger seizures in people with epilepsy.
Usability is one of the most critical web design considerations that can affect the performance of a website. Neglect it, and you can say goodbye to your traffic and deprive your business of potential customers. Make the necessary changes to improve the usability of your website as soon as possible.
Improving usability is an ongoing process. Implement the above principles, but don’t stop there. You should keep testing your website to ensure you maintain great usability. Web design is about testing, analysing, and improving your site to ensure you provide a user-friendly experience that encourages users to take the next step and convert.