As a small business owner, designing your own website to save money is completely acceptable. In fact, when you purchase a domain, the domain registrar of your choice will offer you their website builder feature that allows you to start creating your website using optimised design templates. A website builder allows you to drag and drop elements you want to be seen on your website, customise its look, upload photos you want featured, and so on. So even if you are working with a template, you can still manipulate it in such a way that it will look unique and compelling.
But therein lies the problem. We are so enthused by the idea that we can change things up, that we sacrifice aesthetic over functionality. A good website should both be well designed and should be created with the users and the search engines in mind. The good news is that these are elements that can be easily learnt, so you can still save money by doing it on your own.
Just to guide you on your website designing, here are some common mishaps small businesses make when it comes to creating their page.
Remember that your website is not just there to sell; one of its main purposes is to inform people, especially those who literally have not heard or seen anything about your business. So remove all the frills and get straight to the point. Write a concise summary of what your business offers people and put that on your homepage. If you want a lengthy copy, do not put that on the first page, let alone on the first fold. Create another page for all pertinent information that you want to expound on.
Cramming too much in one page or in one fold will make the website confusing to use. And we know from experience that if we do not know how a website works, we usually close the tab immediately. Not to mention, too much happening in one page slows down loading time.
On the other hand, too little going on is another blunder you should avoid to make. While minimalism is fast becoming a popular trend, there is a correct way of doing it. Minimalism just means that your website is not crowded with photos it could have gone without or flashy graphics that are completely unnecessary. It is about a clean design that are easy on the eyes and have a natural propensity to guide the user in the conversion funnel. Minimalism is not boring or cryptic.
Bad call-to-action design
If you are a hotel website and you have just told your visitors that you are offering the best deals, you have to tell them what they should do about it. Do you want them to ‘Learn More!’ or to “Book Now!”? Your call-to-action tells your visitors what they should do next on your page, so it has to be clearly visible. After choosing the appropriate call-to-action, test which button colour gets the most clicks. There is no recommended colour to use because it usually differs per industry, per niche, or even per overall design. Just keep testing until you have found one that works for you. The same is true for the call-to-action itself, if “Learn More” does not work anymore, test other variants like “Read More.”
Just like with your homepage, avoid frills and tell visitors exactly what you are offering and what they need to do. Keep your forms short, and if you have a pop-up CTA, give it at least a few minutes before showing up.
Poor font choices and content layout
Your content is an important part of online marketing. Not only does it tell visitors everything they need to know about your business and what you are offering, but this is what search engines crawl to check if your page is relevant enough to be in the first page.
Choose a font that is readable. Maximise the use of the white space so that your content does not look like one block of text. Keep in mind that Google has suggested content typefaces and length, it would be a good idea to study their suggestions and test which ones match your overall design.
As novice designers, we tend to veer towards what is aesthetically pleasing to us rather than doing something that looks good for other people. This is one of the biggest mistakes to make, especially for start-up business. Be on the lookout for these common design blunders and actively avoid them so you can create a website that looks awesome, but functions perfectly as well.