It’s all too easy to lose sight of what your website is actually for. Far too many small business owners and managers get hung up on the overall design without checking that it’s doing its job properly.
What is a website for?
Yes, it’s important that your website looks good, but that’s not its sole purpose. The actual purpose of any business website is to persuade visitors to part with their money for your goods and services. That doesn’t necessarily involve attracting huge numbers of visitors, although it’s far too easy to get side-tracked into that belief.
Consider the disastrous revamp of the M&S website in 2014. According to a report in The Guardian, this slick new design that the web design team had spent two years creating actually led to an 8% fall in sales.
There’s no reason to suppose that there was a corresponding drop in visitor numbers – at least at first. The problem was caused because users found the site difficult to navigate, with a number of basic design faults and errors that led to incorrect delivery addresses and an impossible registration process.
Test, test and test again
It’s no good clicking through the pages of your site admiring their design if the site doesn’t function smoothly and seamlessly, which is why it’s worth investing in crowdsourced testing services. Companies such as http://www.mytesters.com will examine each and every part of your site to ensure that it displays correctly with no bugs or errors, no matter what operating system and browser permutation your potential customers might be using.
When you consider the damage to your company’s reputation through inadequate testing, it’s easy to see why a little financial outlay is money well spent. Your business reputation and future sales figures depend on your site providing excellent service, day and night.
Audience appropriate web design
A particularly common pitfall for the small to medium business manager is failing to identify the target audience correctly. As Forbes points out, if your products and services are aimed at an elderly demographic then large fonts will get your message across more easily.
We apparently decide within around three seconds whether or not we like a site, so designing the user experience specifically for your target market is a key factor in business success.