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Small Business Web Design Tips

Posted by Jeffrey Cohen on Wed, Jul 25, 2012 @ 09:21 AM

In most cases, when people visit your Web site, you only have a few seconds to capture the attention of the viewer. Many of our clients come to us troubled by a high bounce rate. That is to say, they are getting traffic, but no one is staying on the site.

After re-tooling over a thouand Web sites and working with thousands of individuals, here are the five most common mistakes that cause people to leave a site after visiting a single page. 

1. Make your vistors' eyes bug out of their heads: Over use of MOTION (just for the sake of using motion) created in Flash (ugh) or animated .gifs. Although there is a definite trend to minimize the want of technological bells and whistles, many small business owners crave the "pop" of a site's first impression, favoring form over function. First of all, if you’re currently using flash, stop. Mobile devices, such as iPads and iPhones, don’t like flash and won’t show it and since most of your audience is using smart phones, they won’t be able to see and read your site anyway. And, more importantly, too much motion is distracting and not at all engaging, which is why you thought you wanted the motion in the first place.

Web Design Tips2. Mix up your message: Leave a header off, and don't clearly state who the site is for, what the page is about, and why a prospect should be interested in you at all. What makes this so tough is that the Web site experience should be about THEM, not about you, and for many business owners it's difficult to step out of their own shoes and step into what a client might want to see. Oh yeah, let's add the 25 pages of content so you can explain every possible detail of your product or service so that we can add too much text – especially on a home page and overwhelm visitors and send them running.

3. Keep 'em guessing: Yeah, that's it, let's not let visitors know where they are. Don't use page headers, page titles, breadcrumbs, and for a final kicker (yes print designers, I'm talking to you) let's not put a "home" button on every page. I know it may sound silly as you read this, but sites with poor navigation cause site visitors to leave as quickly as any other reason. If people can't figure out why they are on your site and where they want to get to next, they will be gone, never to return. 

4. Bad Design: Let's start with a hard-to-read font. Yeah, something that looks bad on a Mac AND a PC. Something that will become completely illegible on a smartphone. Let's use colors that clash, like green and orange. And while we're at it, let's ignore all of the experience of the Web developer you just hired to help you by showing the site to 25 of your closest friends and co-workers and their pets so that you can try to fit everyone's wants into what started out as a "simple" design. You did ask for something simple, clean, and professional at the beginning of this project, didn't you?

5. Never update: And lastly, my favorite. Let's never update your Web site so that when new versions of browsers are realeased and plugins are updated, you have all sorts of technical problems. And because you have never bothered to update your own browser as well, you aren't even aware that your site appears broken to 50% of the population. Before you know it, your Web site is not just ugly, it doesn't work either! Text begins to jumble and overlap, buttons don't click, links are broken, and...well, you get it.

By conducting some basic preventive maintenance, trying to view the site from a visitors perspective, and focusing on your inbound marketing objectives and then designing around your desired results, you can actually manage a visitor's path through the Web site, and watch you conversion ratios increase. Click on button below for a FREE beginner's guide to builiding a successful website, or, vist our web design page to learn more.

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Topics: Mobile Devices, web design, Inbound Marketing, Content Writing, CT web design, Web Content

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