I’ve found that most DIY small business websites are created on impulse.
It’s almost like a CEO feels extra driven on a certain day … does a few Google searches … comes across content like “The Easy Peasy Guide to Building a Business Website (in Under 30 Minutes)” and BAM … the website’s ready!
Now, here’s the kicker: Most DIY small business websites FAIL TO MAKE MONEY.
It’s not because they aren’t “beautiful” or lack finesse or use the wrong colors. Normally, these web design mistakes don’t kill a business (even if they hurt it and cost sales every day!).
In fact, poor design isn’t the worst part of DIY small business websites. Often, they have serious design problems that stop them from ever meeting their business goals. Below, I’m listing 5 such costly web design mistakes made with DIY small business websites.
#1 DIY Small Business Websites & Messaging
(that fails to engage and motivate users)
The first step in any web design project is nailing down the message. The most common issue I see with DIY small business websites is the business rambling on about themselves or their owners. Here’s a newsflash: They don’t care.
I know that sounds harsh, but it’s true. Think about it this way: Your customers have a problem and they’re seeking out solutions. If your website message is all about you, how will your customer know you are the right business to help solve their problem?
Every single consumer has a burning question: “What’s in it for me?” This means your website visitors don’t want to hear all about you.
Your website visitors want to know why they should choose you over another business offering similar products and services. They need to know how they’re going to benefit from doing business with you and how you can help them. If you want to outshine your competition, speak to your target audience in a way that resonates with them and stop making it all about you.
When I start a web design project, the first thing I do is have you complete a long onboarding questionnaire that asks some tough questions. Then I follow up with a detailed discovery phone call to nail down the details. Then we write content that will attract your target audience, speaks to their problem, builds trust and authority, and shows them what success looks like when they do business with you.
#2. DIY Small Business Websites & Clutter!
(that distracts users from doing the desired action)
Website builders come with tons of design elements. So, when do-it-yourselfers design their websites, they tend to pick every jazzy element they can and dump it onto the page.
As a result, DIY small business websites don’t just look unprofessional, they also give the feel of an untidy scrapbook.
Also, with tons of elements, a web page becomes very distracting. It takes away from the desired action you want your customers to take.
For example, if you were designing the pricing page of your website and you added a huge slider explaining your product features, you’ll just confuse the visitor. The purpose of the pricing page is to get that sale. And every element on the pricing page must only work toward getting that sale and nothing else.
When I design a web page, I also consider the end result. For example, I think about what my client’s visitor should do on a particular page. This desired user action alone determines how I approach the page design.
Of course, once I know what I want from the user, I think about how I can make the page more user-friendly, but this is where it starts. Designing a page (or an entire website) without a strategy is the surest way to fail!
#3. Careless Website Organization and Navigation
(that kill SEO and user experience)
DIY business websites are mostly a rush job. And so they lack a well thought out structure, and the information is placed carelessly.
Now, as a website owner or admin, you might know your way around your website. But search engines and users often have to struggle to find the information they need.
When I work on client websites, I start by creating a rough sitemap. A sitemap is a list or drawing with all the potential pages on the website and the flow between them. This sitemap helps in giving the website a structure that makes sense.
It might not seem obvious, but a website’s navigation menu also needs a lot of thought. For example, when I design the navigation menu, I make many design decisions like:
- Designing the menu to be left-aligned, right-aligned, or placed at the center
- Choosing to go for a secondary menu
- Deciding about the logo placement
- Including (or not including) a Call-to-Action in the main menu
And so on.
The decisions I take into consideration for my clients at this point don’t just improve their website’s SEO and user experience, they also beautifully support all their future SEO efforts.
#4. Poor Design Choices
(that lead to a poor conversion rate)
No matter how passionate a business owner may be about designing their website, in most cases, they lack conversion-friendly web design skills!
And this reflects in the website they create.
Let’s take the homepage, for example.
The homepage is a place where visitors learn about your business. So the purpose of the homepage is:
- To bring in consistent search traffic
- To hook the visitors who land on it and inspire them to check out your product/service
When DIYers design the homepage, they often use some very bad (cliche) stock photos, a wall of text, and a few screenshots plastered here and there. Such designs are ineffective because people hardly read word by word, and poor stock images do nothing for your brand.
The DIYers who are aware of this reader behavior (of skimming and not reading the content) use lots of high-quality images or short videos with very little copy. They think this will improve their overall site experience. But this kills their SEO because search engines can’t read images or videos! They need text.
Because of such bad design decisions, the homepage suffers. And so does the website’s overall conversion rate.
When working on the homepage for a client, I always go for a balanced layout with a couple of engaging images or maybe a slider and text blurbs that allow scanning. And I make sure that my design prompts the visitors to click on the call-to-action. This way, these visitors move further down the sales funnel!
(Poor design choices affect every page of the website — not just the homepage!)
#5. NOT Hiring a Professional Web Designer
(which will cost you more in the long run)
A good web design pays for itself. All day, everyday. So don’t shy away from investing in your online success.
If you’re ready to build a website that understands your business needs, your customers’ needs, and actually “performs”, request a free consultation today. I’ve partnered with various small business owners like you and have helped them take their businesses online, and I can help you too!
P.S. A professional web designer takes care of technical SEO factors like a website’s loading time and mobile-friendliness too. Better SEO means more search traffic. Which means more leads and sales. So take action now and check out my SEO-friendly web design services.