Having a professional looking website is not an option anymore. The first thing people do when encountering a new business is checking their online presence. If they can’t find information about their products or the business itself, they choose the competition instead.

But, a lot of small businesses can’t afford to hire professional services, so they design their own websites in an attempt to save money and gain more control over the process. More often than not, the result is a poorly performing site that drives prospects away instead of making them curious about your business.

You only have 15 seconds to make a great impression. Use them wisely and create an enjoyable on-site experience for your users. How can you do that? First, stop making these five common web design mistakes.

  1. There’s Too Much Going On

Before taking a stab at building your small business’s website, you’ve probably done a bit of research about the latest trends in the industry. That’s great! The only problem is that you’ve taken all the tips and poured them into your page. The result is a crowded website that is hard to navigate.

Your audience should know from the moment they’ve landed on your site what your business is about. Failing to meet this basic need, will confuse users and drive them away.

  1. Poor Use of Whitespace

One of the biggest web design mistake small business owners make is filling every available space on their pages with stuff – widgets, pop-ups, content, toolbars, and all sorts of bells and whistles. The result, as you can expect, is a site that not only looks badly but also performs poorly.

Whitespace is not wasteful. Au contraire – it’s a great way to make important elements on your page stand out.

If the concept of whitespace is still a bit confusing, then try a website building platform where you can find templates designed with whitespace in mind. For example, you can create a website with SITE123 and access ready-made styles and layouts that take the guessing out of designing a great page.

  1. Your Navigation Is Confusing

Studies have shown that our attention span is shorter than that of a goldfish. In other words, if users can’t figure out what they need to do to find the information they’re interested in, they will bounce.

Make your web page logical and put information in front of your user instead of making them guess where it can be. Use icons to aid navigation and make buttons easy to find.

  1. Poor Usability

When it comes to good web design, aesthetics aren’t the only thing that matters. Your site has to work well too. Put yourself in your user’s shoes and try out your design. Test your navigation menu, click all the buttons to see if they’re working, and make sure everything is clear, logical and easy to use. Otherwise, you might end up with a pretty site that no one ever reads.

  1. Your Copy Is Hard to Read

It doesn’t matter how compelling your content is. If people have a difficult time reading the text, then they’ll probably hit the back button. However, a lot of small business owners don’t pay attention to the readability of their websites. They use a 12px font size and weird font colors. More than that, they pay no attention to line length and spacing, turning their content into a massive chunk of text that no one bothers to read.

Here’s the hard truth: you never get a second chance to make a good impression. That is why your web page is crucial. Avoid these mistakes when designing your website. And, most importantly, test everything before you hit publish.

By Kar

Dr. Kar works in the interface of digital transformation and data science. Professionally a professor in one of the top B-Schools of Asia and an alumni of XLRI, he has extensive experience in teaching, training, consultancy and research in reputed institutes. He is a regular contributor of Business Fundas and a frequent author in research platforms. He is widely cited as a researcher. Note: The articles authored in this blog are his personal views and does not reflect that of his affiliations.

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