Common Small Business Website Design Blunders
Website design is just like any other design in that a certain amount of skill is required to be good. Some people have it. Those that don't have it often think they do.They just don't have an eye for design, despite learning the design rules and they create an unsightly mess. They try, but often try too hard.
Let's go over some of the more basic blunders.
1. Too Much Clutter.
People prefer tranquility to chaos. Aim for well ordered spaces, with just as much emphasis on the white space as the image and text so you convey the most important messages. It's great to see a business owner with passion about what they offer, but too much information is like offering a multi-course buffet to someone on a restricted diet.
A rule of thumb is that the more items that are on a page, the less professional the page appears. Too much clutter, crammed into one space looks disorganized and is too difficult to consume. This often leads to a higher bounce rate, fewer returning visitors and a reduction in conversions.
2. Poor Use of Color/Contrast.
Remember, less is more. Getting the color and contrast right is a big part of good website design. And, it's more than just visual — readability is the key. Your visitors should be able to read your content and navigate your site with ease. Contrast reduces eye strain and focuses the viewer's attention by clearly dividing elements on a page.
The best practice is to choose a light color for the background and a dark color for the text. This is one area where color is crucial to the usabililty of a web design. Keep it simple and legible, especially large text areas.
Size can play an important part in creating contrast. If color is uniform on a website, the size of text can help to differentiate between menus, sub-menus, body copy and so on.
And a splash of color is great as well, but color should never be the driving force on your design. It sends a message of confusion, chaos and is unsettling to the reader. Brighter colors tend to lead the user to feel more energetic. Darker shades relax the user.
3. Content Overload.
Content is what draws visitors from far and wide to your website. The trouble is, content can be
difficult to present in an unobtrusive way.
Web browsers scan and sift through content. A strong and logical content hierarchy can vastly improve the user experience without having them scour your online epic of content to find the one kernel of information they need. Remember, people scan for what they want rather than consuming every word.
Keep the marketing fluff to a minimum and make sure your grammar and punctuation is correct. And proof read! A single typo, grammatical mistake or poorly written sentence can instantly reduce any credibility you have to nothing.
4. Confusing Navigation & Lacking Calls-to-Action.
Never assume the visitor knows what to do once they reach your website. If you fail to give clear instructions on what to do next, they will exit and look for someone else.
If the purpose of your page is for the visitor to book a service, make an appointment, remit an online payment or send you a message—tell them.
Navigation should be a priority, creating a hierarchy that leads the visitor to engage. Make sure the navigation is simple and logical. Use icons to aid in navigation wherever possible. And group related content together so it flows, creating a rhythm that guides the viewer.
Calls-to-action are usually a bright colored button or hyperlink that encourages the visitor to act. Website amateurs make huge buttons and it always overpowers the page, is annoying and increases bounce rates. Conversely, a button that's too small will be overlooked and the visitor moves on. You want your button to be large enough to stand out without overwhelming the design.
Keep the language straight forward and simple. You want your visitors to know at a glance what they are getting when they click. If they pause to question the reward, they'll likely pass on the offer. Keep the font size in proportion to the button and make sure there is sufficient contrast so it's easy to read.
Avoid these disasters by stepping back, taking a breath and looking at your site with fresh eyes. By doing it right the first time, you're visitors will enjoy your site, returning again and again.