Running a business is no easy task. I often find myself feeling like I’m buried in a sea of conflicting information.
With constant updates, changing algorithms, new marketing tactics and information overload, it’s difficult to know who and what to listen to. To shed some light, I thought it would be useful to discuss 5 design myths that will ruin your website.
Myths are a common part of our everyday lives. Regardless of the industry, myths often pop up and place doubt on information that you thought was once true.
If we look at what we know to be accurate…
Your website is the online home for your business. Like a brick and mortar storefront, it should welcome your ideal customer, explain and promote your products and services, highlight your competitive advantage and help you turn leads into sales.
Now let’s take a look at a few design myths to avoid at all costs…
1. You don’t need a website
“I don’t need a website, I can just use my social media platforms to generate business”
If you don’t have a website, you’re losing business. Period. Your website is more than an online brochure for your business. It should be able to sell your products and services when you’re not able to.
Your website enables you to showcase your unique personality and competitive advantage. If you’re restricting yourself to social media, there is only so much you can do or say to really stand out from the crowd. A well-designed website enables you to make an incredible first impression, to convey professionalism and to really connect with your audience from the very beginning.
It is also worth considering how you react when you are looking to hire someone. What is the first thing you look for on their social media profile when you’re in search of more information?
Does your view of the business change if you discover that they only promote their services through social media? Does their credibility change in your mind? Do you still view them as professional?
Money might be tight, especially when you are first starting out, but if you’re serious about your business, creating a website is something you don’t want to miss on your list of priorities.
2. Design is just about making things look pretty
“All I need is a pretty logo and cohesive colour palette”
Although design is an important element to a professional looking website, aesthetics are not the only focus of the website design industry. In addition to colours, imagery and other visuals, design is also about ease of navigation, layout and content.
If a website looks beautiful, but is really difficult to navigate e.g. it’s hard to find certain pages or information quickly and easily, this may very likely turn potential customers away. They will either get confused or frustrated and the “beauty” or aesthetic appeal of the website won’t mean a thing.
When I design websites for my clients, the first thing we look at are colours, fonts and imagery. However, as we delve further into the process, it is up to me to ensure that their website not only looks beautiful, but also utilises a cohesive layout that will allow certain objectives to be achieved.
Prior to designing the website layout, I will ask my clients what the first, second and third action is that they want people to take when they land on their website. These objectives will be carefully considered and will guide the design of their site layout.
3. A free platform can do the job
“Money is tight so I’ll opt for a free or cheap website platform”
If you opt for a free website platform, expect hidden costs along the way. More often than not, free things come with a catch. You will most likely end up paying more in the long run, not only in terms of your website setup but website marketing and search engine optimisation which may suffer as a result of going for a free alternative.
A free platform may provide you with the very basics, but additional charges will most likely be applied for domain name registration, hosting, customisation features etc.
The same goes when you opt for a cheaper platform. There were very likely be additional costs along the way. Another thing to consider is that the setup process may not be as straightforward as it would’ve with the platform that is slightly higher priced.
4. The more features the better
“More features will make my website seem fancier and more unique”
Most of my websites are designed on the premise that “there is beauty in simplicity”. When it comes to features, I truly believe that less is more.
Adding unnecessary features could potentially slow down your site as well as negatively impact your customers’ experience. Impressive features can add bonus points as long as they are relevant and making a positive contribution to your users’ experience.
5. The homepage is the most important page of all
“My homepage is viewed the most and is most important”
When it comes to making a positive first impression, your home page is undoubtedly important. In saying that however, it is equally important to ensure that your site conveys consistency from the beginning to the end of a visitor’s experience.
Each page has a purpose. Your home page must succeed at welcoming your ideal client. However, other pages such as your ‘about’ page and ‘services’ page need to succeed at telling your story, sharing your business values and communicating your unique value proposition. Ultimately, these are considered to be just as important in relation to the overall experience.
It is also necessary to consider your users’ browsing and searching behaviour. Depending on where and how you promote your business, the home page may not be the first page your visitors land on each and every time. In fact, it may be one of your least viewed pages. Therefore, every single page on your site needs to serve a clear purpose and effectively communicate the intended message to your audience.
So, what do you think? Have you fallen for any of these myths in the past? Have you got any more to add? Comment below – I would love to hear from you!