There’s never been a better time than now to create or redesign your small business’s website. A good website can expand your local audience to a global one, increase digital sales conversions and brand awareness and help gain the trust of consumers. Of the small businesses that have websites, 69% of them are having annual sales of $1,000,000 – $2,490,000. Additionally, 91% of customers have visited a store because of an online experience.

You need to be where your customers are, and in 2018, most of your customers are utilizing their computers, smartphones and other technology to uncover information about your business. And when they make a Google search, they expect your business to have a website that shows up in those search results.

However, it’s no longer okay to simply have a website. You need to make sure that it’s formatted correctly, is mobile-optimized and has appealing design aesthetics. If your website isn’t designed correctly, it can result in a loss of time, money and most importantly, customers. When designing your new small business website, here are a few common mistakes that you’ll want to avoid making.

Rushing the Process

If you’re opting to go the DIY route when designing your website, and you aren’t an expert, it’s important to take your time and conduct proper research. Often people underestimate the time, planning, thought and care it takes to create a great website. If you’re not prepared to invest the time and money, you’ll only be disappointed when things don’t go the way you’d planned.

Take some time to plan out a schedule before you begin designing. Determine the goals for your site and set time frames for how long each component will take, the resources required and what your plan is to accomplish each. Creating a website can be time consuming and tough, but in the end, you’ll be glad you took your time, planned accordingly and didn’t rush the design process.

Poor Design

There are two ways that your website can flop when it comes to design. You can either have too many design components, or not enough. When a user comes to your site, they should be able to determine exactly what you do/sell in seconds. If they can’t, they’ll leave.

Although it’s important to present a visually appealing design, you want to make sure that it’s not over the top. Don’t cram your site with flashy images or too much text, as it will result in slow load times and may confuse visitors. Instead, inform and educate website visitors by highlighting exactly what your business does and what benefits you can provide.

Confusing Navigation

When a user lands on your website, they likely already have an idea in mind of what they’re looking for. You job is to make it as easy as possible for them to find it. Choose a design template that allows you to create clean and efficient navigation. Ask yourself, is my site too busy? Can I find a specific component quickly? Is what I’m selling obvious?

Focus on your business offerings and create navigation tabs that reflect the most relevant aspects. For instance, if you’re a carpet cleaning company, you might want to have tabs that designate the types of work you complete (commercial, residential, upholstery, hardwood floors, tile, etc.) Keep it simple, clean and easy.

No Call to Action

Your call to action (CTA) is where you tell your visitors what action you’d like them to complete once they’re on your website. You want to make sure that your CTA grabs the attention of the user and provides a clear direction. Here are a few tips when creating a CTA, as well as an example:

-Make sure they are easily visible
-Use words that will provoke emotions
-Provide an incentive for them to perform the action you’re requesting
-Be unique and creative
-Guide them through the process from beginning to end
-Gain their trust for the future

Not Optimizing for Mobile

In the era of smartphones, more and more searches are being conducted on mobile devices. In fact, nearly 52% of all internet users browse websites from a smartphone. You want to make sure that you’re appealing to these customers by having a mobile-responsive design.

When your site isn’t mobile-optimized, the design is completely skewed when viewed from a mobile device. Users see this as confusing and will likely leave your site for a competitor’s within seconds. To avoid this turnover, make sure your site is user-friendly from mobile devices.

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