Top Five Web Design Mistakes Small Businesses Make

May 19, 2014

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Building a website can be fun if you’re a small business owner. Once you sign up for something like a WordPress account and start exploring the many design options and tools that are available to you, it can be very easy to let your imagination run wild.

Unfortunately, when this happens, the line that typically separates the notion of information and entertainment can oftentimes get blurred, and design mistakes can rear their ugly head. Some of the flaws that are made are mildly annoying, while others are horrible enough to cause the visitor to hit their home button and run to the hills. Either way, they should be avoided at all costs.

The Biggest Errors
Here is a look at five of the most egregious design mistakes that occur when a small business owner starts having a little too much fun with the development of their website:

  • Making the site too busy – Your small business website should enable your customers to focus on one thing and one thing only: Your content. If you load up your site with a bunch of Flash effects or various animations, you are going to create distractions that pull focus away from your site’s main message, which could ultimately hurt your business. Plus, Flash animations tend to increase page loading times, which could frustrate viewers if they are in a rush.
  • Making the text too difficult to read – Always make sure that your website features a relatively large font that is easy to read. More importantly, make sure your site has a background that ideally complements the color of the text. You may think that setting white text against a gray background looks cool, but the customer whose eyes are tired from staring at a computer screen all day may not share in your sentiment.
  • Not staying focused – Your website is a representation of your company and all that it can do. As such, any content that you have on your site should be focused on those principles. Content that is irrelevant to your business’s philosophy can cause confusion amongst potential clientele that is going to your website to see what you are all about. This sense of puzzlement could make the customer reluctant to do business with you.
  • Avoid pop-ups – There are very few things more disruptive to a web browsing experience than when the screen gets cluttered with a pop-up, whether it’s a small square ad that magically appears in the middle of your screen or a bar that suddenly engulfs that lower third of your monitor. When the pop-up is an ad, they’re even worse. But these nuisances do more than merely annoy the user who is just trying to enjoy your website. They completely distract the user from their purpose of being on the site in the first place. Plus, their presence tends to make the websites that deploy them feel a little sketchy.
  • Don’t use autoplay videos – For whatever reason, the use of videos that automatically start up upon a page loading has become rather popular in recent years. Despite this, it still remains something that you should never inflict on your customers. While you may think that instantly greeting the visitor with a music-filled autoplay video about your dynamic company is a great idea, the reality is that it’s annoying, distractive to the visitor and other people that be within the vicinity of the user, and will cause the visitor to either turn the sound on their computer down or skip out on the rest of the site altogether.

All of these design mistakes create negativity in two distinct ways: Firstly, they distract the website visitor; secondly, it may cause the visitor to take their business elsewhere. Because of this, it is important that you remain savvy enough to keep your imagination in check when it comes to your website.