In today’s digital age, every business owner has some sort of online presence. Some stick to a regularly updated Facebook page, while others have invested in a boilerplate website.
Yet it’s easy to forget about that website, especially if you conduct all your business in person. While you may not see it as a vital part of your business, your website is actually a key component of your brand and marketing.
More and more people are finding their needs online, and they want to work with businesses that understand that need. If you’re still rocking a Wix site from 2015, it’s time for an upgrade.
First Impressions Are Everything
For most potential customers, your website is the first impression of your business. According to a study conducted by Google, 49% of users discover new items or products through Google searches. And according to SEO Tribunal, 97% of people learn more about a local company online than anywhere else.
Your site also needs to be mobile friendly. Most people have easier access to their phone than to a computer. That might explain why 61% of mobile users are more likely to contact a local business if they have a mobile-friendly site.
In terms of Google search visibility, your website’s design can greatly affect your ranking on Google. 92% of searchers will pick businesses on the first page of local search results. So if your website isn’t optimized for what users are searching for, you could be lost in the thousands of search results.
More importantly, The first 5 seconds of a page’s load time are the most critical when it comes to conversion rates. Website conversion rates drop by an average of 4.42% with every second a page loads, according to Portent.
These stats show one thing: You have mere seconds to convince potential customers to stay on your website, let alone actually read through it and contact you.
It’s clear website design is more important than ever for your business.
What is Bad Website Design?
While you might understand how important your website is to your business, it’s equally important to understand what counts as bad website design. These design mistakes should be avoided at all costs, especially since many of them are easy to overlook when first building your website.
Outdated Website Design
Website design trends change fairly often. With new trends come new user expectations for what counts as good or accessible design.
An outdated, non updated website could give the appearance that you are no longer in business, or that you don’t care about your professional image.
While your site might have looked good for 2015, it probably won’t cut it in 2021. Not only will it look dated, but there are new ways to optimize your site to help it load faster, adapt to mobile views, and provide a cleaner experience overall.
Lack of SEO
If your site is not optimized for search engines, you’re making it difficult for users to find you in the first place.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) makes your site easier to read and understand, not only for users, but for Google as well. If your site doesn’t include industry keywords, location tags, or even metadata, then you’re actively making it difficult to organically find and navigate your website.
Poor User Experience (UX)
This goes hand-in-hand with SEO. Your website should be made with the customer in mind. As the saying goes, the customer is always right.
So if pages take forever to load, users can’t easily find what they’re looking for, and everything is buried behind pop-ups and busy images, potential customers are going to find what they need through your competitors.
Doesn’t Line Up With Your Current Brand
If you haven’t updated your site in a few years, chances are it doesn’t reflect your current branding. Maybe the colors are off, or the tone of the copy doesn’t match. Either way, an off-brand website can be off-putting for users.
If a customer likes your Facebook page, print ad, or freshly printed business card, then they’ll likely put in the effort to find your site. If they head to the URL, but the site looks nothing like the ad they saw, they might get confused or discouraged. The last thing you want is to let down customers before they’ve even had a chance to work with you.
Time For a Website Redesign
If your business’s website falls into any of these categories, then it’s time for a redesign. Websites can only benefit from updating their design to follow new industry standards and user expectations.
It’s important to understand exactly what you want your website to do before you start throwing money at it. Here are some foundational best practices to follow while you plan your dream website design.
Clean, Simple Design
If you want users to easily navigate and understand your website, it all begins with a clean, modern design. Complex or overly stimulating designs tend to confuse users and scare them away rather than impress.
Keep things simple, light, and on brand. Not only will this help users quickly find the information they’re looking for, but it makes your business look professional and thoughtful. It shows you have high standards for how your site looks, and that you will offer that same level of care to your clients.
Like any other piece of your marketing strategy, your website has a specific goal for users. Usually this is to convert them into customers. Whatever your reason, your user experience should reflect that goal.
By making your site easily accessible, simple to navigate, and skimmable, you can more easily lead users to your goal. Think of your homepage like a road: It should effortlessly drive your users towards your CTA, giving them all the necessary signs and info. Your homepage should not have any pot holes, like annoying pop-ups, or side roads, like multiple links to other websites.
Updating your website means filling it with the latest info about your business and brand. Make sure to nail down your brand’s tone and only include the most vital information. Allow users to skim your site, but give them substantial copy to read through if they’re interested.
Another addition that can only help is adding a blog. Google values sites that are leaders in their industry. This means having content that is well-researched, in-depth, and shared by others. You can help your rankings on Google by writing long form blogs about topics in your industry. Link to your sources, and share your blogs on social media.
Template Websites vs. Custom Websites
By now you’ve seen why a website is so vital for your business. The next question is how do you go about redesigning it? You have some options available to you, but the most popular choices are between using a template website or developing a custom site.
A template site uses a premade theme, usually through WordPress or Wix. These are sites designed with a “one size fits all” mentality, with a wide range of features. Custom sites are developed by a team based on a business’s specifications. These sites are “made-to-order” so to speak and usually cost a bit more.
Both options have their pros and cons, which we will detail here:
- Good for small businesses or entrepreneurs just starting out
- Fairly inexpensive and easy to understand
- Restrictive designs that are not easy to customize or upscale
- Include built-in features that slow down your site and your SEO potential.
- Many of these additional features will not apply to your business and just clutter your back end.
- Designed for your business’s specific needs
- Focus on making your site SEO friendly and compatible with multiple devices
- Can be built around your brand and growth opportunities
- Offers a long term investment that allows for experimentation and flexibility
- More expensive
- Takes time to develop and test
As you can see, both options have their positives and negatives. In general, custom sites are better for small businesses looking to grow and further develop their brand. Your website should be an investment, something you plan to utilize and benefit from for years to come.
Think of your website as your most dedicated sales rep. It’s always talking about you and trying to sell customers on your services. Why not invest in that employee to give it a better chance at its job? Plus, you don’t have to worry about benefits or insurance!
Get Expert Custom Website Designs
If you’re looking to remain competitive in our digital reality, you need to stay up-to-date with website design trends. By meeting customers where they are, online and for short bursts of time, you can guarantee your business increased success.
Interested in a custom site that won’t break the bank? Look no further than Key Web Concepts. We’ve developed hundreds of custom sites for our small business clients. We start with a foundation based on your company’s brand and business goals and tie them into SEO best practices.
If you’re looking for a business partner and not just another cookie-cutter design firm, contact us to discuss your business dreams.