Business owners often fall into one of seven traps that can keep their site from succeeding when it comes to small business websites. It’s easy to fall into these traps because there are so many things you can do wrong with your site, but you’ll be on the right track to success if you avoid these common pitfalls. Here are seven traps you should avoid when designing your website
Not defining your audience
You don’t need to create one page for plumbers, another for dog groomers, and a third for schoolteachers. Focus on the specific customers you want to attract. Some websites try to be all things to all people, but that approach is rarely successful. Your audience is the most essential component of your new site, so make sure you put plenty of time thinking about them. If your site isn’t going to be visited by many users, then it might not even be worth creating it in the first place. Even if someone isn’t looking specifically for your business, they may still find something useful or helpful if you know who they are as an individual.
Trusting generic templates
Templates and one-size-fits-all solutions may seem appealing, but they don’t truly solve your business’s problems. If you use a generic template, it doesn’t matter what kind of imagery you include or how many pages you have. It all looks identical to everyone else who uses that same template (which is a lot of people), and it sends your potential customers a message that your business isn’t unique. Plus, templates aren’t going to inspire confidence in a potential customer who sees precisely what she can expect from doing business with you because she can see—in detail—how much work wasn’t put into making your site unique.
Failing to create a compelling call-to-action
If your visitors don’t know what you want them to do, they probably won’t do it. The same is true for your visitors. You have to make sure that your call-to-action buttons or calls-to-action are so eye-catching and easily visible that people cannot ignore them. Make sure they have large fonts and bold text, so it stands out among other elements on your page. Make sure they stand out in a way that draws attention to themselves. The worst thing to do is have a web page that doesn’t indicate what you want viewers to do next or only provides one or two options of what you want users to take action on.
Ignoring mobile responsiveness
A responsive website is essential for today’s website when most visitors use mobile devices. When you have a mobile version of your site, you’re improving the experience for everyone who visits your site on whatever device they prefer. Some people might even decide to buy from you based on how easy it is to read about your products or services when using mobile devices. And don’t forget that 78% of customers will leave a mobile-friendly site if it’s not optimized for their phone—even if they initially like what they see! A responsive design goes a long way in keeping customers around and satisfied with your products and services. Customers are becoming more and more demanding every day; it’s best to keep up by staying relevant in all areas of customer experience.
Forgetting about social media integration
Social media can be a great way to spread your message, but it’s hard to build a following on social media if you have no content. If you have created a great piece of content and are willing to share it on social media, then make sure you have easy sharing options on your website or have added social share buttons to each post. This will allow readers to share your content on popular sites like Facebook and Twitter. The more shares you get for your articles, posts, and other content, the greater chance you’ll become more visible in search engines like Google.
Having too many colors or fonts on one page
One of my favorite books to recommend to designers is The Non-Designer’s Design Book by Robin Williams. She explains that it’s usually a bad idea if you have more than two fonts on a page and more than one color. It may be tempting to try out every font and color under the sun but don’t. Limit yourself to one or two fonts and one or two colors per page. This is especially important in terms of readability; too many colors or fonts will make your site hard to read (it’ll feel cluttered). Instead, use bolded headers or strong background colors instead of multiple colors on a page. Using plenty of white space between elements will also help keep your site clean and easy to read.
Creating an impersonal design
Unless you’re a major, well-known brand, your potential customers aren’t going to be impressed by your website. Your job is to make them feel comfortable and give them all of the information they need about your product or service. And that starts with talking directly to them and making it personal. You want your audience to see themselves using what you have to offer — and that takes more than a logo and some text. The design should match exactly how you want it to come across, so use as detailed imagery as possible. Keep in mind, though: You don’t want images so good (or realistic) that people think it’s an actual photograph — unless it actually is an actual photograph!