It’s amazing what you can tell about a business based on just a quick look at their website. From size and financial status to how long they’ve been in business, website aesthetics act as a cipher. As a burgeoning entrepreneur, though, this can put your company at a serious disadvantage.
So how do you make a new business look established? It’s all about making smart web design choices. From smooth navigation to a clear means of contact, these 3 design features can set your business apart for the better.
1. Keep It Simple.
One sure sign of an amateur website is that it’s excessively busy and crowded because new businesses feel pressure to put their entire story front and center. And while communication is a good impulse, there are better ways to get your message to clients than by jamming your pages with blog posts, marketing descriptions, and visuals.
If you look at some of the most successful websites, from industry leaders to savvy startups, one thing you’ll notice about all of them is an emphasis on simplicity in design. Simple fonts, graphic minimalism, and technical optimization rule the day, while texts are pared back to communicate the greatest amount of information in the fewest words.
Seasoned brands tend to excel at minimalism, especially textual minimalism, because they’ve had years to hone their product descriptions and brand mission, while new companies experience a lot of verbal overflow because they’re still mastering their own brand narrative. Kristy Campbell, COO of Rev1 Ventures, describes your first website as a “step beyond your elevator pitch.” Focus on that kind of accuracy and concision and you’ll be off to a good start.
2. Step Back From Social.
Due to the general emphasis on the role of social media in small business marketing, many new companies overemphasize social at the expense of their websites. This isn’t to say that social media isn’t important, but rather than your website should take precedence.
But what exactly happens when small businesses put social media at the fore? Shmuel Aber of The Saber Team observes that “Many modern companies emphasize social media strategy before fully conceptualizing their websites.” In some cases, this also means compromising your business’s concept more broadly because of how much entrepreneurs learn in honing their web design.
Keep this balance between website and social media in mind when choosing a web designer, since many provide services on both fronts, and be sure to select a design team that knows your industry. As Scott Wilson, founder of Minimal, puts it, “Good design levels the playing field,” and when you’re working on a small budget, you need every advantage you can get.
3. No Need For Novelty.
It may seem counterintuitive, but excessively novel or innovative web design is often a sign of an inexperienced entrepreneur. Why? Out of an excess of eagerness to impress customers, entrepreneurs may impulsively choose elaborate navigation tools, add unnecessary animations, or otherwise create what’s known as friction in user interactions. Friction simply means that something is acting as a barrier to smooth engagement, but that’s the last thing you want in a website.
Rather than investing your design dollars in high maintenance, low reward features, opt for web design that’s simple, elegant, and – most importantly – responsive. Mobile sites should load quickly and contact info should be easy to click. When new designers overemphasize animations and other novelty features, they often end up with sites that can’t be translated to mobile and even frustrate or annoy desktop users.
Effective websites can take many forms, but as a new entrepreneur, the simplest road is often the best one. Shed an excess of creativity and instead take the path of least resistance: easy to read, easy to understand, easy to use web design will make your site look more elegant and professional than a fussy, feature-heavy one.