Top 12 Website Design Mistakes Small Business Owners Make

12 website design mistakes small business owners make

Congratulations! You started a business. Now what?

After making it legal, one of the first things most small business owners do is create a new website. Modern customers love to see a great website, and no matter what industry you’re in, it’s important to have the best web presence possible.

Did you know that 57% of customers refuse to refer businesses whose websites aren’t user-friendly? You’ll lose more than half of your potential customers just for making the most common website design mistakes.

This sounds intimidating, but with so many different options available, it’s easier than ever to optimize your website so it doesn’t drive customers away. Before you get started, it’s important to have a plan. Plan to create a website that’s appealing to customers and communicates what your business is and what you offer. And don’t be the guy who makes these top 12 website design mistakes.

1. Not Mobile-Friendly

Think about how much time you spend searching the web on your phone or other mobile devices. You want something that looks nice and is easy to navigate right? Now imagine your customer gets on your website? Is the website mobile-friendly? If not, it’s one of the top 12 website design mistakes small business owners make. It’s critical now that we’re in the 2020s to create a website that’s not just mobile-ready, but one that’s mobile-first. A mobile website has a look and feel that was designed for small devices.

Closeup shot of laptop with digital tablet and smartphone on desk. Responsive design on Modern devices. Responsive design is one of the biggest business website design mistakes
Responsive Design Demonstrated

2. Important Details Below the Fold

Do you know what the fold is? When you land on a website it’s the first thing you see. It’s the images, links, logos, and copy that appear at a glance without needing to scroll. Once you scroll, that information is below the fold. Important details should always be above the fold. This includes your business name and the products and services you offer. You can go into more detail further down the page, but make sure it’s clear to users who you are and what you do.

3. Bad or Outdated Website Design

If you can’t remember website design from the late 1990s, let’s refresh your memory. Websites were pretty basic and included images that were a combination of clipart and strange GIFs. There was a lot of colour blocking and heavy use of text. While they were effective back in the day, if you employ one of those designs now, it’s likely to fall flat and drive customers away.

Instead, look for modern looks that communicate your brand in images and words. If you want to know what makes a bad website design, first you need to know what makes it good, and then compare. While it’s important that it look pretty, your website also needs to be easy to navigate.

4. Hard to Navigate

Is your website intuitive? An intuitive website is an easy-to-navigate site where the customer can easily get from page to page without difficulty. It means your buy now button isn’t buried under more than 3 clicks, your contact information is easy-to-find, and your about page clearly communicates your business. Try and think like a customer on every page of your site. Think about what that customer might ask next or want to do next. Make sure those questions and actions can be easily answered with a click.

5. Too Much Colour

A colour is an incredible tool. It can communicate a lot at just a glance. Colours evoke emotions that help connect people to your business and your brand. When you use colour on your website, it’s important to remember that there is too much of a good thing. Too many colours can get confusing and make a customer feel unhappy. A customer may not even be able to put into words what they don’t like because of the psychological impact of colour. So choose colour carefully for your brand, and use it in strategic ways.

6. Too Many Fonts

Fonts are almost as important as colour. Fonts that are difficult to read or don’t match your brand well will cause customers to leave your site. Additionally, when you constantly switch fonts or have too many fonts on a page, it gets confusing and ugly really fast. It’s what makes a bad website design. Don’t get caught using fonts the wrong way. Select fonts for your business that communicate to your ideal customer. It’s also best if you choose fonts that are easy-to-read so you don’t confuse, frustrate, or lose your customers

7. Boring Content

Customers want content that speaks to them and their needs. One of the most common website design mistakes is with the content. If the images, text, and videos are boring and dull, customers won’t stick around for very long. Write engaging copy that’s interesting and relevant. Use images that are exciting and unique. And create videos that clearly communicate, entertain, and otherwise engage your customers. If the content speaks to the customers’ wants and needs, you’ll connect with them more easily.

Be creative in content writing.

8. No Way to Contact You

What if a potential customer has a really important question for you? How would they get ahold of you? You can’t expect them to send a carrier pigeon, so make sure they can email, message, or call you. It’s vital that this contact information is easy to find and clearly communicated. Additionally, tell the customer what they can expect. How long will it take for you to respond to their inquiry? Where can they find more information about your products and services? These are both important questions to consider as you create your contact page.

9. Too Text Heavy

Have you tried to read large blocks of text from your computer or phone? It’s hard on the eyes. For good web design, you need to keep text blocks short and easily scannable. Use headlines, bold text, change the sizes of your headings and other pertinent information, and only use a few different fonts. Also, leverage the white space on your page to improve readability. You don’t need every square inch of your web page filled with something. Give your text and images a little breathing room.

10. No Way to Search

Help visitors to your site find exactly what they are looking for. Use a search tool that helps them find anything and everything on your site with ease. If you make the common mistake of not using any search engine, you could miss out on sales and referrals from customers. There are many search plug-ins, including Google, that make searching any website simple and elegant. If you don’t know how to do it, you can easily hire professionals like us in Ottawa to help you out. Since Googling is a verb, and people love Alexa and Siri, make your website almost as simple to search through.

11. No Analytics

How can you know if your website is effective if you don’t have any data on it? It’s important to employ an effective analytics program behind the scenes to learn how your pages and products are performing. Maybe a certain page has a high bounce rate that could be improved with just a few tweaks. If you don’t use analytics, you’ll never know how to convert visitors into customers more effectively. Also, analytics help to determine how fast your pages load and if they are performing well.

Install analytics on your website to improve business website traffic. No analytics is a major mistake in website design

12. Too Many Pop-Ups

Do you love going to a website and needing to close no less than 35 pop-ups before you can even get to the page? Neither do we. One of the most common mistakes that small businesses make when they create their websites is employing too many pop-up windows. Yes, you want to tell the customer if you are running a promo, and of course, you want them on your email list. But if your pop-ups are excessive and annoying, visitors to your site will leave and may never return.

Why do you need to avoid these Website Design Mistakes?

Well, what is the purpose of your website anyway? Most business owners want to sell. That’s the reason you’re in business right? And your website is the perfect tool to help. But if your look is circa 1999, it will likely turn customers off and cause them to look elsewhere.

Create a modern and fresh look with the right mix of colour, font choices, white space, and text. Use content that’s visually appealing, interesting, and engaging. And as you develop each page, think like the customer. Is everything easy to find? Or does it take 3-4 clicks to get what you need?

Small businesses are notorious for creating many of these common website design mistakes. If your site isn’t engaging to your potential customers and is hard to navigate, it’s likely they won’t stay and buy.

These are all critical components and what distinguishes good website design from bad website design.

We’re experts in small business website design and can take your flawed website to the next level. We’ll look at what’s working and what’s not and find solutions to the problems.

Contact us today to learn how we can help!