I know that the title is a bit dramatic, but stay with me. I love creating websites because I love helping business owners to create a beautiful space for their brand to live online. It breaks my heart to see a fab woman with a great business idea being thwarted by her own website. In this post, I’m going to talk about a few ways in which your website is sabotaging your business.
Potential customers and clients look at your site and decide in less than 5 seconds if you’re worth their time. Harsh, but true. You have so little time to make a positive impression on people who visit your website, and the choices you make about your site can make a huge difference.
Sabotaging your business with a free domain
You’re a business, but have a (name).wordpress.com URL (or (name).wixsite.com). This is a big no-no for me. Using a free domain is the number one factor that undermines even the best logo and corporate identity. And, lucky for you, it’s the easiest to fix. Choose a hosting provider, buy a hosting package and set yourself up on your own domain. Yes, there’s a monthly expense, but it’s affordable, and it’s worth it to gain the credibility you deserve.
Even if you are a small business, a one-woman show, a start-up, or started your business a month ago, I’m passionate that this should be one of the first places you spend money. Even if you buy a domain and put up a landing page, or leave it blank for a month or two, your business shouldn’t be without its own domain name. Make the small investment in your business. It’s completely worth it.
I have written a blog post about what you need to know when choosing hosting for your website. I have also written a post about why you should have a self-hosted website.
Sabotaging your business with bad website design
I’m frankly alarmed at the number of terrible websites I visit. I’m not being a snob, nor am I saying that every website needs to have been designed by a professional. What I am saying is that careful decision making can avoid a lot of bad design. I’m going to briefly discuss a few of the worst sins I see online. These are easy to fix, and they make a big difference in terms of the overall appearance of your site.
I see this more often than I’d like to admit. It usually appears as follows, and it’s exactly what not to do: 5 different colours, one per section, all on the same page. All bright, and mostly colours that don’t look good together. It makes me cringe, and I click away, never to return.
I recommend using maximum 3 background colours throughout the site – one light, one dark and maybe a colour if it suits your brand. Use one colour per section – don’t go creating crazy green and orange gradients. If you’re using a bold colour in the background of one part of your page, only use it once on that page and keep the rest of the page clean. Be careful of the colour of the text as well – if you’re using a bright colour, test both black and white text to see which is easier to read. The background shouldn’t be competing for attention with the text. The text and images are the important parts of your site, not the background.
Too Many Fonts
Using too many typefaces causes your site to look cluttered and makes it more challenging to read. Also, choosing to pair fonts that don’t look good together really undermines your brand image and can quickly make your brand message very confusing.
This is something that’s easy to avoid. Restrain yourself from using 5 typefaces. Use 2 – one for headings and one for the paragraphs (usually called “body copy”). You can also decide to only use one: use the bold weight for headings and the regular weight for paragraphs.
Low Quality Images
The images you choose to use on your site don’t have to be taken by a professional, but I do think that they should be high quality. Some industries are more abstract than others, and so sourcing photographs can be challenging.
There are large numbers of stock libraries online that make our lives a bit easier, and I highly recommending looking into them. You can find beautiful photographs on free stock sites and if you’re willing to spend a bit of money, you can really level up your branding with paid stock. Purchase a few packs of photographs that you can use across social media, on your website and in blog posts.
Grainy, blurry images and images with watermarks on them are no use to anybody and can also go a long way to sabotaging the hard work you’ve put into building your brand.
Sabotaging your Website with bad Software
By “bad software”, I mean software that’s cheap and nasty, old and outdated, and just badly created. You do get software that’s cheap (and free) that’s amazing, and I have a big place in my heart for all the fantastic free software that I use daily. But it’s so easy to get caught out by software that’s cheap and just awful.
It’s easy to see if your software is sabotaging your website. If things don’t work as they are supposed to, if the software breaks your site, if it’s unreliable and causes errors, these are good indications that you should uninstall and delete it and find an alternative.
Software that’s wonky isn’t just causing a bad experience for you. It’s likely causing a bad experience for anybody who visits your site. A bad user experience is likely to cause people to bounce off your site and not return, sabotaging your brand and your business. It’s very unlikely that people will trust a brand/business whose website isn’t functioning as it should.
Don’t let your website damage your business
With a bit of research, care, sound decision-making and a dash of common sense, you can avoid the horrible situation of having your website causing havoc and sabotaging your business.
Melissa De Klerk
Writer, Web Designer, Digital Media Strategist, Typophile, Inspiration Junkie, Yogi
Melissa is the owner and creative brain behind Fox & Owl Media. She loves creating content strategies and has considerable experience with Website Design and Brand Management.
You can contact her here, and find her on social media by clicking the links below.
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