Every business needs a website. Every small business owner knows that now. But merely having a website is not enough–a business website needs to be well-designed and compelling if you want it to generate leads.
It has become relatively easy to set up websites. Registering a domain is straightforward, and there are plenty of website builder tools available that require little or no technical knowledge to use. However, there are some basic web design principles that it would be wise to follow.
A business website needs to be functional, but it also must be easy to use and provide a satisfying user experience. Getting the right combination of functionality and aesthetics right is not impossible for a non-professional web designer. But it is easy to make some basic web design mistakes. Here are ten of the most common mistakes people make when designing a business website.
Table of Contents
Using Out-Of-The Box Templates
Website builder tools usually have a range of standard templates or themes. These templates make it easy to get the bare bones of a site up and running in no time at all. However, one of the most crucial elements of good web design is uniqueness. For example, if you run a photography company, you don’t want your website to look like every other photographer’s website. Setting your business apart from the rest is critical in today’s crowded marketplaces, and that brand differentiation begins with your website. So, it is best not to use standard templates, or, if you do use a template, be sure to use the customization options to modify your site’s appearance.
Some small businesses do not pay enough attention to the usability of their websites. The home page may look great, and there could be plenty of useful content on the site. But, if users cannot quickly see ways to navigate the site, they will not waste time hunting for what they need. So, make sure that the menu on your website is easy to find and easy to use. And provide a search facility on your site too. Don’t make the mistake of hiding the navigational components. It is best to stick with placing things like menus and search boxes where people expect to find them: at the top, where they are easy to locate.
The best approach to business website design is plain and simple. So, avoid making your pages too crowded and busy. Visitors to your site need to understand what your business does and what your value proposition is. If you cram too much onto your web pages, though, your important messages will get lost in the noise. Too many images, text boxes, and widgets will also take a long time to load, and pages that are slow to load will negatively affect search engine optimization (SEO) and lead to high bounce rates.
Too Messy and Confusing
A website needs to be pleasing to the eye. But a typical website design mistake is using too many different typefaces, colors, and page styles. It is best to choose one color scheme for the entire site and use a consistent typeface. So, choose a standard font that will be easy to read in all font sizes and stick with it. Your business website is a representation of your brand, and your branding should be consistent across all platforms and all the pages of your website. If you use too many different styles, your website will look messy and confusing.
Poor Choice of Images
Images and graphics are essential to good web design. However, a poor choice of pictures and graphics will put people off reading a website’s text. Photographs are the first thing that will catch the eye of visitors. So, it is best to avoid using low-quality visuals or stock photos that might lower an otherwise professional-looking website’s tone. Be careful not to use irrelevant images, too, which will confuse visitors to your site. It is generally best to pay for original professional photos and graphics. If you use free, off-the-shelf images, they will likely have been used by numerous other websites in your sector.
Hidden Contact Info
Generating leads is, of course, the primary purpose of a business website. Surprisingly, one of the most common business website mistakes is making the contact info tricky to find. It is best to have a link to your ‘contact us’ page on every other page, and it will help you get more leads if you provide a variety of different contact options, including email, telephone numbers, and a physical address. The means to contact your business should be on hand whenever a visitor decides to take that next step.
Too Little Content
Some small businesses treat their website like it’s an ad in a local store window. They display little more than their contact details on their website. Visitors to your site will want to know what your business does and why you can offer a better service or product than your competitors. A business website is a selling opportunity, not merely a classified ad. It is best, then, to take the time to write multiple pages of content that sells your business. Provide all the information that a prospective customer needs to make a buying decision. A website light on content won’t rank highly on search engines and is likely to leave customers with too many unanswered questions.
No Clear Call to Action (CTA)
A clear and persuasive call to action is essential for converting visitors into leads. But some small business websites give users no clear guidance as to what to do next if they are interested in buying a product or getting a quotation. CTAs need to be persuasive and have immediacy. Phrases like “get your free quote now” will be much more effective than “please click here to get a quote.” Calls to action should stand out from the rest of the content, so they are easy to locate.
Poor Use of White Space
Leaving space between blocks of text and images makes the content easier to skim-read and makes a page look more appealing. But some business websites have far too much information crammed into each page. You must get all the relevant information that a user needs across. However, it is as equally important that a website doesn’t suffer from information overload. So, avoid presenting visitors with impenetrable walls of text. Instead, break up your content with white space, subheadings, and images so that it is easier to read.
Wrong Style for the Target Audience
The design of your website must be appropriate for your business and target audience. The colors and fonts that you would use for a site selling children’s toys, for example, would be quite different from those used on an accountant’s website. It can also be a mistake to try to appeal to a too broad audience. So, design your website specifically for the most likely people to buy your products or services.
The design of a website is as crucial for success as the content. So, avoid using a template that other businesses like yours may have used. Make the site uncluttered and the navigation easy to follow, and design the site with your target audience and objectives in mind.