There is still a preconception for people that ask us for advice on building a website that the process is necessarily very expensive. For a startup looking to build a minimum viable product – something to test their idea at the most basic level – they can budget for thousands, even ten of thousands of pounds to build something completely professional, sleek looking and functional, with amazing moving images and so on. For others who are aware of the much cheaper, “build-it-yourself” services that we’ve discussed elsewhere, there is a temptation to view the website as an annoying but necessary item on the budget, to be kept down to as low a cost as possible.
At Freshpath, our advice lies between these two extremes. If you read this post you’ll know how important it is to have a website that does everything you need it too while here we talked about creating a great first impression with your website. If you simply get a web designer friend to create a website for you for little or no money, with no thought or care put into the design and aesthetics, that first impression can be pretty damaging. And if you opt for a super cheap service like Wix, great as they are for building cheap websites, you will likely find that, even something that is perfectly functional when you begin will start to hold you back when you get more site visitors or want to develop your content and add new things. Either way, you get what you put in – you’ll only end up redesigning the site yourself later. Better to invest the time, care and money now and start off on the right foot.
That said, you shouldn’t also be breaking the bank with your website budget – there are plenty of other good things to invest in, including getting more exposure for your website with a good SEO Strategy and PPC Ads. Our advice is therefore to spend as much as you can afford on your website and don’t cut corners on any aspect of it, be it the design or the functionality, or even the content itself.
At Freshpath, whether you need web design in Crawley, Brighton or further afield, we can provide that perfect balance – giving you the support you need to make your website work as hard as possible for you without it eating up your whole budget – get in touch, or read below for our tips on easy mistakes you must avoid when designing a website to avoid it looking like an amateur website.
Too many words, too many gifs
If your web pages are overloaded with lots of writing in very small fonts, this can be draining on the reader’s eye and make their experience of your website overwhelming. Of course, text is hugely important for most brands in getting their message across, but you have to be careful about placing it in an aesthetically pleasing way, the font large and spaced out enough.
Similarly, it’s easy to get carried away with flashing gifs and lots of animation on your page, as this will ‘keep the reader’s attention’ in the same way we are all mesmerised by fireworks – but apart from affecting your loading time, it can also look very unpleasant and put people off staying on your site.
It’s not obvious what you do
A visitor will not want to spend time on a treasure hunt, scrolling through your website, clicking through chains of links to different pages, reading through paragraphs of text to try and decipher what your company does. Have an “about” page with a well worded section detailing what you do in simple terms.
This description shouldn’t also tell people what you do, but also why you do it – your “mission” as it’s sometimes called. Conveying this message to your potential customers is hugely important in helping you connect with them on an emotional level; you’re more likely to convert them into a paying customer if they feel emotionally invested in what you want to achieve with them.
Pages load too slowly
There are lots of data studies available to show how easily visitors will drop off your site if you don’t keep their attention within the first few seconds of their visit. This is even more the case if the pages aren’t loading quickly enough – people simply don’t have the patience to wait to see what a page will be like or whether it will provide them useful content.
Common reasons for slowly loading pages include photos being in the wrong format or being too large – they should be PNG or JPG files, optimised for the web so that they retain their quality look without needing to be 10MB or 20MB in size – and your host server not being able to process the volume of traffic to your site.
At Freshpath, we’re well geared up to help you avoid these and other pitfalls and make sure you capture your site visitors the second they click onto your site.
It’s hard to navigate
Having poor site navigation is another common reason why a site visitor might lose patience and click off the site. We’ve already spoken above about having an “About” section one click away; what about a list of your products and services? A section of media features, or customer testimonials and reviews, or a blog that helps the visitor learn more about your brand and the industry you work in and build your credibility? All these and more can be invaluable tools in winning over your customer with a great online experience, but they’re pointless if people can’t find them.
Make your website easy to navigate by having a clear menu at the top of all your pages, so that when someone is clicking through your site and want to return to a page they saw previously, it’s easy for them to work out how to get there. We have experts in site navigation in our team to ensure your site is easy to get around.
Apart from making you look particularly amateur, an ugly-looking colour scheme is a very likely cause for poor text readability. Blue writing on a black background might fit the colour scheme of your logo, but it’s going to cause the reader a headache as they squint and try to work out what it says. And that’s if they stick around long enough to try…
This is where having someone with a great design eye helping you create your website can be really important – they’ll be viewing your site through objective, unbiased eyes and will know what looks pleasing to the general public.