Not sure if your website needs an update or re-design? Sign up for the newsletter & receive a free 11-page website audit checklist!
Your website is where potential clients will come to connect with your business and view the services/products you have to offer. If your website design looks too busy or unprofessional, they will exit out before they can learn to trust your company, and you may be losing out on many potential clients. Many small business owners and entrepreneurs design their website without any help due to the cost. However, you won’t get the sales and leads you to need to grow if your website design is lacking style. This generation is all about aesthetics. They like to see elements “on trend” to grab their attention. If you are not knowledgeable in web design, your site might look unprofessional to your visitors.
Hiring a professional for your website design will generate a quick payback on the money you’ve spent on one. You can always get website templates to start, which are more affordable and built with a designer’s touch. Here are some common mistakes I have seen in websites.
What does your business do for your visitors, and why should they choose you? If this message is not clear the moment they land on your website, it’s already a wrong first impression. Visitors form an opinion on your brand in 0.5 seconds. You should be automatically telling a visitor what you do, and where to go. Missing a call to action is also one of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen on small business websites. A call to action is an invitation for a website visitor to take action right away, whether it’s a button that says buy now, contact me or view my services. What’s your primary goal for the site? What do you want most from it? Quote requests, sales, bigger email list, etc? Promote the heck out of it. Let the visitors know where you want them to go.
Image compression is the biggest reason for slow websites, and no one seems to know the importance of compressing your image files. It will help tremendously with your site’s load time and help improve your SEO. If your page takes too long to load, your visitors will most likely get frustrated and leave. I have had many people (especially businesses in the wedding industry) tell me that their blog posts are loading slow and are unsure how to fix this. If your blog post consists of many good quality images and you haven’t compressed any of them, here’s your solution!
Your goal is to compress your images to the smallest file size possible while still having an acceptable image quality. Also, keep in mind choosing the right image format. PNG is of higher quality, but a large file size. JPEG reduces quality, but you can adjust it and find the right balance.
My favourite website to use for compression images is TinyPNG! If you’re blogging on WordPress, there is a plugin called WP Smush, which helps reduce your image file sizes in bulk or manually for your blog posts.
Stock photos can be a great addition to your website if chosen correctly. However, some stock photography can be repetitive and cheesy as everyone uses those same images. If the photos you use on your website look fake or overused, it takes away your website’s originality. I always suggest using original pictures and getting a professional photoshoot done. If this is not in your budget when starting your business, I suggest scrolling through Unsplash or Pexels for free stock photography. If you’d like some other great content, the Styled Stock Society has a fantastic membership for feminine stock photos. They all post new high quality, modern, and stunning images!
I try to find images I’ve never seen before. If I have seen a specific picture a lot, I will not use it for myself or my client’s websites. A great example is a girl below, which I have seen EVERYWHERE. I’ve seen this photo on websites, social media and advertisements.
It’s a nice picture! But once an image becomes overused, it can take away your brand’s meaning if you’re using the same images as 100+ other businesses. Having original photos will make your website truly one-of-a-kind!
We often use tabs when browsing for services or products. When you’re searching up a particular service or product, you most likely click on a bunch of Google links and close the ones that don’t fascinate you. Some leave tabs open to eventually go back to the website. Favicons are the visual elements that will help visitors find what they’re looking for and return to your website tab. A favicon is a small image found in the address bar of browsers, search engines and bookmarks. This image represents your website and is essential to have!
When designing websites, I will never use more than three fonts. Using 2-3 fonts is typically ideal while also making sure they pair well together. If your fonts conflict with each other, this will cause a distraction and take away the attention from your website’s message.
It’s also crucial to ensure the fonts are easy to read. I would avoid using script fonts too much, especially for important titles. I like to use sans-serif fonts for the paragraphs are they are easier to read and only using script fonts for something short and sweet.
If you decide to delete a page from your website, the link can still be active on search engines or somewhere else on your website. If someone comes across your website by a dead link, they often will leave your site and not bother to check your other pages.
Avoid having a 404 page where it just says the typical “Not Found” message. You can make something unique out of your 404 pages and place a call to action button to redirect them to your homepage! It will grab their attention more than the generic message, and you won’t risk losing a customer due to this silent traffic killer.
Taking Lazy Oaf‘s 404 page as an example. If I come across this first, I’ll most likely want to view their other pages as they grabbed my attention even with a broken link.
It might seem like no big deal that your text is a bit off-centred or alignment of elements is uneven on your page. However, this can affect your website’s professionalism.
When I go on websites with content that is not centred, it makes me think they don’t take their business seriously enough to perfect these small changes. Take some extra time to make sure everything is lined up correctly, as every little detail matters! Especially for perfectionists who land on your website (aka me!)
Some people throw everything they want together on one page, without realizing that space is essential to have on a website. It can create a poor experience for your visitors if your website is too cluttered! Simple is always better. Check your website & remove anything that doesn’t improve the visitor’s experience. If you include too many distractions, your visitor will not see what’s most important. If needed, add that content to a new page to limit the clutter.
Leave spaces blank. White space can enhance the main subject and make images/copy easier to take in. The more white areas around something, the more attention it will receive. Don’t think that you need to add graphics or images to fill in all the empty spots; it’s a good thing to have. It can improve readability and increases attention.
Having hyperlinks is always essential to have on your website, but it can be damaging if it causes your visitors to leave your page. You’re replacing your site with someone else’s if that link opens in the same tab. Always set links to “open in a new tab” on your website and blog posts if the link given is redirecting visitors out of your website, including your social media accounts and payment processor websites.
I don’t expect small business owners to know every little thing about website design. That’s why it can be beneficial to hire a designer who will know how to create a great user experience for your visitors and help improve your online presence. Need help? I offer custom design and premade templates if you’re interested in taking your website to the next level. Let’s get creative!