12 Common Web Design Mistakes Small Businesses Make

As a small business, your website is a critical marketing and branding tool.

People are coming to your website for a purpose, and you want to make sure that you answer their queries and use your website to sell your products/services effectively.

If you get your website designed wrong, you could lose thousands of dollars that you could be making from a well-designed website.

Grow your bottom line by avoiding these 11 common web design mistakes made among small business owners.

1. A Lack of accessibility

Accessibility here means the ease of users browsing through your website. There are a few things that makes a website easy to access:

  • The language variations available on your site
  • The written voice and jargons used in content
  • The mobile view of your website
  • The design of your website on different browsers

Does your website design look different when it is on Opera OS versus Safari OS? Believe it or not, there are still many users out there running browsers that are 5 years old.

A good website design would take advantage of the latest formatting and design capabilities, while making sure browsers as old as 5 are still able to access and load the site.

2. Paying too little or too much

You don’t know how many times people have come to us after they’ve hired a cheap website designer, let them make poor branding decisions, and ended up with a horrible looking website.

On the other hand, there are companies who are mesmerised by expensive digital marketing agencies that work with big brands, and don’t realize these big agencies might not be able to help a small business that’s ROI-focused.

To put it simply, don’t blow your budget on a website design, but do your research before hiring a web designer.

3. Lack of contact information

When you own a local business, you want your clients and prospective customers to easily contact you through your website.

Contact information is more than a phone number.

If there’s a hotline for your visitors to call, have you stated both the number and working hours? If you run a brick and mortar, did you include your full address with postal code and simple instructions on how your clients can get to your store?

Make it extremely easy for your clients to reach you by placing your contact information in your header, footer, and sidebar.

4. Publish quality content

Content is king, as they say. By publishing quality content, you’re demonstrating your expertise on the subject. By publishing quality content more frequently, you’re helping to boost your site’s SEO.

But small businesses aren’t big, media companies with the capacity to create quality content on a regular basis.

Despite the many marketing best practices you’ve heard, you don’t have to blog several times a day, tweet several times an hour and so on. As a matter of fact, the most successful small business websites only creates around 2 posts per month.

As a busy small business owner, you wouldn’t have time to blog 3 times a day. So what’s the best plan? Publish less but keep the quality of your content high.

Otherwise, engage in Singapore’s digital marketing agency to help you publish quality content regularly so you can focus on other major parts of your business.

5. No background music

Seriously, do not use them. It is hard to find a situation where they are appropriate.

We are pretty sure that your clients do not care about the music or soundtrack you decided to use on your website.

If situations make it absolutely necessary, remember to include user controls so that visitors can turn off the music at their end.

6. Bad navigational issues

Navigating through your business website should be seamless and smooth. You want your users to be able to find their way around easily.

While there is no measurable standard for how easy navigation is within a given website, it is still important for us to appreciate the fact that navigation should be intuitive and natural.

Here is a basic guide to get you started on the idea:

  • If text is used as navigation, it should be concise.
  • If visual metaphors are used, stick to the conventions, avoid reinventing them for style.
  • Hyperlinks should be outstanding from the body of text
  • Make sure that there are no dead links or redirection loops anywhere on your website.

7. Poor colour schemes and readability

A good interface design will grab your users’ attention, but does it also help users to easily extract information at a glance? In website design, colour scheme and readability go hand in hand.

A poor colour scheme should be avoided if it only distracts your users from the key takeaways.

We have seen plenty of websites that use outrageous colour combinations and bizarre font styles that make the reading a migraine-inducing task within seconds.

To take your website design a few steps ahead of your competitors, keep visually-impaired users in mind. If your website uses a coloured text on a coloured background, help them out by offering a high contrast option.

8. No clear call-to-action

What do you want your website visitors to do once they land on your website? Do you want them to call you, email you, subscribe to your e-newsletter, or buy your product?

You need to tell your visitors what you want them to do. Your content should answer the question, “what’s in it for me?” and then the call-to-action button tell them what to do next.

9. Pop-up Windows

Like the background music, unless you have a very good reason, avoid adding pop-up windows and links. It disrupts the navigational flow and the smooth experience that users expect from your website.

10. Where is the Search Bar

The web is like an archive of information, much like a library. It helps to have a system through which you can pull out the relevant information desired. Your website is no different, and a search box is essential for your clients to find what they want.

The search bar is helpful when visitor are looking for something that is not made explicit on your website. Also, make sure that the search box is visible on the front end.

We have seen websites where looking for the search box is like a mini game of ‘Finding Waldo’.

11. Are your FAQs really FAQs?

Of course, having a Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs] section on your website can be a great idea. It can be a cost and time effective way of providing answers to common questions without having them contacting you.

But are you sure that your FAQs consist of frequently asked questions? Or, have they ever been asked?

Do not make the mistake of publishing a disorganised FAQ that leads users to unanswered queries. In fact, many websites have made the FAQ section dispensable if it does not serve any purpose to the users and is not relevant to their search intent.

Tip: Make ‘relevance’ a rule to be followed when designing your website.

Relevant content gives your visitors a good impression on your website and the value you offer as a business. They are highly likely to take the next step to join your client base.

12. Not Keeping Track of Your Site

Finally, to ensure that the information on your website are always up-to-date and relevant to your users and clients, you have to monitor your website even after it has reached a certain level of maturity.

Check your inbox and comment boxes [if any] and see what your clients and users are saying, what they are asking. This gives you an idea of questions that are frequently asked, or even if there is a need to create [remove] a new [outdated] section on your site.

There are numerous top seo tools out there that can help in monitoring your site as well. With many that are free of charge, there is really no excuse for you not to monitor who is visiting your site and what they do when they get there.

Xavier Tan
Xavier is the Co-Founder of Heroes of Digital. He started social media marketing and SEM long before it became popular in Singapore. His passion is in helping businesses grow through effective lead generation. He has overseen campaigns for Amara Hotel, NTU, Marina Bay, L'Oreal, and 100+ SMEs.
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