Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I’m sure you’re aware of how important websites are to a business. For a lot of retail operations, websites have completely replaced the physical store. When you’re offering a service or selling software, your website becomes an even bigger factor in your marketing and branding. If you’re taking your first steps in establishing your business, then you may be at risk of making a few costly errors. Here are some of the biggest web design blunders which you need to avoid.
First of all, using poor navigation. If you fail to make smooth navigation a priority, then you’ll probably end up chasing away a huge chunk of your traffic. Your customers come to your site for its content. If they can’t find that content easily, then they’re liable to become frustrated, and go to one of your competitors’ sites instead. I’m sure you can imagine a site that seemed promising, but just ended up getting on your nerves! Site navigation should be smooth and quick. Make these qualities your priority, and you’ll retain more visitors, and ultimately end up with more attractive sales figures. You may already want to set yourself apart from other company sites, and be looking into flashy, unorthodox navigation structures. However, most professional web development companies will stick to a few proven models. A grid of tiles that pop up from the bottom of the screen might look great. However, most of your target market will probably prefer a simple top bar with tabs.
Another big mistake which you need to avoid is forgetting your calls to action. It’s pretty common these days to find small business websites which are full of descriptive paragraphs all about the company history and how they’ll revolutionise their industry. Having a little quality content about the business is certainly a good idea. However, if you just let your product or service sit there with no clear call to action, don’t expect to see any big sales booms. You’ve done the work to drive people to your site; now it’s time to really sell to them. I’m not talking about a bland “click here” buried in a 2,000-word essay about the history of your business. You need a clear, attractive call to action button somewhere nice and visible. One for each action (purchase, sign up, like) should be enough, just make sure they’re simple and attractive. In all aspects of your web design, simplicity should be a big priority. Never make your web users think or deduce things too hard. Obviously I’m not branding your whole target audience as idiots. However, we’ve all been spoiled by the modern conventions which are tied to web design. If you don’t have a clear call to action button on your current site, then fix this immediately. If you do, then you should still assess how clean and “click-sexy” it is.
Finally, overloading your website with unnecessary clutter. You’re probably sick of me talking about how you should keep your site clear and simple. I’m sorry, but it’s very important! I’m sure you can think of at least one business website that’s so overloaded with random bits and pieces that it’s hard to tell what you’re looking at! Eager to retain traffic, a lot of small business owners will cram a single page full of all the content they can think of. If you’re guilty of this, then your heart’s definitely in the right place. However, you may have ended up creating a page that’s so busy it’s unreadable. Of course, there’s such a thing as a web page that looks too empty. However, it’s better to have thinly spread and relevant content than a page that’s full of extraneous filler. The latter will only confuse customers, give off an unprofessional image, and give your site a bounce rate that will make you turn pale. This applies to text content, images, graphics and anything else you could put on a page. With everything you plan on adding to a page, take the time to ask yourself what it’s doing. If you realise you’re about to add something which serves no real purpose, then take a step back. Everything on your site should be aimed at guiding the customer towards conversion or some information they’re looking for. If it doesn’t do this, then it has to go!
There you have three of the biggest mistakes you can make when designing a business website. Web design may seem elusive and daunting. However, once you pin down a few fundamentals the rest becomes so much easier.