Common mistakes in small business website design

Poor navigation
There are a few things you need to learn when it comes to navigation. Common mistakes when it comes to website navigation include overloading the navigation bar with too many tabs, adding lots of drop down tabs and over designing in terms of graphics. I tend to suggest keeping no more than seven pages in the navigation bar. These should be your main pages which may include ‘Services’, ‘About Us’, and of course, a ‘Contact’ page. You want the tabs to be the same colour and then to alter when hovered over or when active. A common mistake there is to over design the bar including multiple colours. Keep it simple.

A great test to see how effective your navigation is, is to get on elderly relative or friend to test the site and see how easy they find navigating through the site.

website navigation examples


Old looking website
Mistakes in website design often spur from techniques that are outdated or frowned upon today. It is vital to make sure that your design is conforming to latest design trends within your industry. Some trends to look out for can be found on a previous post of mine, 7 Latest Trends in Small Business Website Design. Mistakes include forgetting about responsiveness, over-crowding with images and text and having too many hyperlinks.

A businesses website is a reflection of the company. If the website is outdated or old fashioned then the likelihood is, the business will be viewed as that by the visitors to the site.

poor website design






Animation and flash
As much as animation and Flash is frowned upon from a design perspective, it is also seen as a mistake in terms of viewing a website on a mobile phone. It will use up data on someone’s phone, which will most likely cause them to bounce straight off the homepage. Keep the homepage simple but impressive. You want it to load quickly on all devices. Having Flash and fancy animation will increase the load time which viewers will get bored of quickly. Try not to over complicate things on the homepage.

Minimal, flat designs are very on trend at the moment and remember to stick with what’s on trend not just in general but for your industry.


Hard to find contact details
For most small businesses, contact details will be the most important thing on the website. These must be readily available on every page of the website. I’d suggest adding them to both your header and footer as well as on the contact page itself. A common mistake that I see a lot is contact details hidden just on the contact page. It certainly frustrates me when I can’t find a business’s phone number or email and visitors will get bored searching for ways to contact you. Having a phone number that you can call directly from the website when viewing it on a mobile device and an email address that opens up the viewer’s default email provider when clicking on it are two great ways of cutting out extra clicks needed to contact you.

Ease of contact is vital for any small business so having the details clear and available on your website is fundamental to drawing in new business.

In conclusion
These are just some of the mistakes that I see regularly when it comes to small business web design. Do your research and try to avoid as many common mistakes as possible. If you can stick to what’s on trend and what’s working with your successful competitors then you should be OK.

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Sam is head of design services at bOnline. In his posts he shares tips for creating a beautiful business website and getting the most out of bOnline's website design tools.

About Sam Greensted

Sam is head of design services at bOnline. In his posts he shares tips for creating a beautiful business website and getting the most out of bOnline's website design tools.

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