Website Design Pitfalls That Small and Medium Businesses Must Avoid

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As an entrepreneur who relies on your website to promote your business and attract new clients, it may be tempting to continue to “juice up” that website of yours. And therein lies a big mistake that many online marketers and website owners make.

Over the years, what you might think of as a web design masterpiece, might not be such a good move after all. Read on to learn about some common pitfalls that you might not even be aware of, but which can have a negative impact on your website.

Website Design Landmines

When a new client came to us recently complaining about their lack of website traffic, she had already been 'tweaking' and changing her own website for a year or more. Her website concerns were typical:

• When she started, the site would load much faster than it does today.

• She tracked her traffic using Google Analytics, and found a disturbing trend of declining website visitor numbers

• For some reason (she couldn’t tell why – but as web design professionals we spotted it immediately), many of her would-be customers abandoned their shopping cart half-way through the sales process

She was advised to consult with a professional web design agency about what was wrong with her website . Upon completing a comprehensive review of her website, we discovered that she had made the same mistakes that many DIY website owners make. Here are some of the mistakes that we uncovered:

Breaking the KIS principle: Janice broke the cardinal rule of 'Keeping It Simple (KIS)'. Over the years, she continued to add features, addons, widgets and functionality to the site, and that resulted in a complex maze of linked pages that visitors found hard to navigate and functionality that wasn't working correctly.

Going for flash and bling: A web designing agency that one of her colleagues had used before developed one of their sites using lots of graphics and heavy imagery, so this client decided to do the same, not realising that most of her clients visited her site using mobile devices. Adding too much bling and flash caused the site to crash frequently, make page load times ridiculously slow and sending potential customers fleeing to her competitors' websites.

Lack Of Planning: Website design is as much of an art as it is a science. It requires careful pre-planning, and this client wasn’t aware of that. She dived head long into the website – without having a plan. Our advice: Don’t rush into things. Understand your target market and your marketing approach before you start designing or developing the website.

Think of the END GAME before you begin: If this client had consulted a professional web design agency early on, she would easily have avoided this landmine. She didn’t really have a strategy to entice users to “buy”. You need to think of the end - before you start designing. That means you need to come up with a compelling “Call To Action” even before you start putting your site together . Why are these website visitors going to buy from you? Are you cheaper? Do you have better after sale support? Are your products actually better? Well, you need to tell them that.

One of the biggest pitfalls that we notice every day in our work, is what clients try to do themselves with their site. In their eagerness to begin the website efforts, they prepared a site that wasn’t aimed at their target market. Don't lose focus: Some sites try to appeal to everyone - and succeed in appealing to no one. Be focused on your audience, and design for your audience. Get to know your target market better. Talk to your colleagues and associates and build a profile of who you are targeting.

Doing It Right First Time

Unless you know exactly what you are doing, you shouldn’t attempt professional website design as a part-time exercise. You will end up with 'a website' but it won't be the website that your business needs and it can very likely loose you thousands or ten of thousand of euros in lost sales. If you want to do it right, you need professional advice from a website company that knows what they are doing:

• Consult with a professional agency that has a track record of delivering great websites. Even if you don’t want to hire a web design agency on a full-time basis, having one on a retainer or an as-needed arrangement can save you from treading on costly landmines.

• When negotiating with a web design company, don't make price your biggest obstacle. At the same time, don't blow your budget. Above all, work with your web development agency to understand the cost benefits of what they are proposing before you sign on the dotted line

Thankfully, we were able to salvage the above client's website from total disaster by undoing many of the self-installed errors that she had put in place. Today, her site ranks highly amongst her competitors, and her sales have started improving again.

If you are in the same boat, perhaps you too should reach out to a professional web design agency before you go down a similar road. It will cost a few euros now but save you thousands over the coming year. 

If you want to get your website really performing, give us a call on 01-6216866 or email for a free consultation over the phone.