Imagine showing up for a blind date at a fancy restaurant, anticipating a great meal with a very promising individual, ready to start a beautiful love story…only to be met with unbrushed hair, dirty jeans and a piece of kale wedged between teeth.
Quite the letdown, isn’t it? It’s an unwritten rule that when meeting someone for the first time, you put your best foot forward and aim to show off your best sides. The same rule applies to business.
A badly-designed website is the “kale-between-the-teeth” of business. When launching a small business, you want to start off on the right foot. That means that when potential customers land on your website, they should be impressed and it should lead them to want to do business with you (not run away screaming or, worse yet, screenshot it and send it to friends with snarky comments).
Don’t fall into these traps! Here are the 10 worst website designs for small businesses.
Someone visiting your website should know what it's about within a few seconds. If there is too much going on in terms of information, that’s going to lose you quite a bit of business. Your pertinent business information should be front and center. Crowded websites are never a good thing, so keep your information to the bare minimum; avoid busy designs or web pages heaped with text, images and other content. It will also make your website slow to load, which is a big faux-pas in this day and age.
Not Busy Enough
On the other end of the spectrum, we have websites that are so sparse, they make the Sahara desert look crowded. While minimalism is a trend that can be effective if done correctly, some small businesses have websites that are empty and cryptic. Websites shouldn’t leave too much up to the imagination. No one wants to spend precious time trying to figure out what your company is and what you do. That’s a recipe for losing clients, fast. Don’t leave your visitors guessing.
Some business owners, in a spirit of riotous enthusiasm, create a website featuring a dizzying array of themes, typefaces, color palettes and images that have nothing to do with one another. Can anyone say “clash”? These kinds of websites are confusing and speak volumes about your small business–specifically about your lack of brand identity. If you don’t know who you are and what you’re about, how can you communicate that through a streamlined, well-crafted website? A business with a clear brand image won’t fall into the trap of trying to include too many different templates or colors. Another reason for this kind of confusing website is because you’re looking at your website as separate components rather than holistically. When designing your website, use one logo, one typeface and one theme…then stick to it throughout the rest of your site.
A Terrible CTA
Your call to action (CTA) should be strong and clear because it’s the gateway to your business. It’s how customers know what to do: Click Here! Get Your Free Demo Here! Learn More About Our Promo! For a CTA to be effective, customers need to know exactly what to do, what information to provide and what they will be getting from taking action. Keep it short and sweet; if your CTA is impossible to find, too long-winded or requires ridiculous amounts of form-filling, potential customers will give up long before they slide into your sales funnel.
Poor Use of Content or Whitespace
Content is at the heart of your marketing strategy; it’s what lets visitors know about your business and what products or services you offer. Avoid using large blocks of text. A wall of text is an attention-killer. Instead, break up blocks of text visually, pare down content to the essentials and use visual elements to represent concepts when possible. Your typeface is as much a part of your brand as the content on your website, so choose a legible, attractive font for your information. Use whitespace well to make the eye move smoothly around the page.
In the world of websites, looks matter. Using unattractive or boring images is a real eyesore. Photos and graphics are pillars of good web design, so don’t neglect them! Nothing says “turnoff” like low-quality, irrelevant images and choppy graphics.
If you want to kill your website’s popularity quickly, make it hard to navigate. In the day and age of instant, split-second content, a hidden navigation menu or a missing search bar sounds the death knell. Make sure the navigational aspects of your website are crystal-clear to find and easy to understand.
Missing the Target
Just like your business, your website has a target audience. You wouldn’t market your product or service the same to elderly retirees as you would to toddlers or crypto-CEOs. Keep your audience in mind when designing your website, and make sure it’s attractive to the people you want to reach. Think about what that means for the feel of your site…hip and trendy? Ultra-professional? Fun and bubbly?
No Contact Info
Enough said. If they can’t find you or contact you, that’s the end of the road for a potential customer.
Advertising is a necessary evil on most websites–but there are ways to soften the blow. Try out your ads by visiting your website. If you’re even the slightest bit annoyed at them, so will any visitors! Avoid an over-abundance of flashy, grabby ads. Make sure pop-ups are not full-screen and are easy to close.
Designing a website isn’t as easy as it’s cracked up to be. For small businesses, an effective, attractive website is a crucial piece of your marketing campaign and needs to be done right. Don’t fall into these design traps that lessen your impact and stand in the way of putting your best foot forward with potential customers.
Need help with designing and updating your business website? At Wyred Insights, we love working with businesses to make their technology better…and improve their marketing. Give us a shout to find out how we can help make your business better together.