GUEST BLOG: Top five web design faux pas by SMEs

Few areas of a business are considered as critical in today's fast-paced market as having a well-designed website that accurately reflects the business. Here are some tips for SMEs who want to keep the cost of building and running their websites down, while not compromising on quality and aesthetics.

1. Designing for yourself, not for your audience. Whether you are a retailer of copper bars or a holistic therapist, you know your customers' needs and expectations. Many business owners forget this when designing their website. Consider how your audience will use your website and create a site that exceeds their expectations.

2. Music introductions and sound effects. Whether it's an 80s pop song or a company jingle, cheesy introductions to websites are dated. Unless you are selling Duran Duran memorabilia, this will damage your company image and annoy visitors that have their speakers turned up to full volume.

3. Long load times. Modern audiences have short attention spans with little patience for website loading times. A website that loads in five seconds is now considered very slow. A ten second wait is almost torture. A 30 second wait probably means the site is broken.  

4. Non-scannable text. Many websites bombard their audience with text that is not designed for websites, but for print. To draw an audience into the text and support scannability, SMEs need to use sub-headers, bullet points and short paragraphs. Blocks of text in a small typeface will detract visitors' attention as they don't expect to have to read an essay online.         

5. Choosing the wrong technology to build your website. Plain HTML templates are restrictive and the management of these sites is time-consuming, especially as each change has to be done page-by-page. At the other end of the spectrum, some SMEs feel that by using Flash, they are making their websites more attractive to visitors. In reality, unnecessary visual effects detract from the visitor experience. It is much more important for the website to be easy to navigate and have visible contact details.

It is no longer acceptable for SMEs to rely on poorly designed and managed websites. The barriers to creating, hosting and managing a website have diminished significantly in recent years and today a fantastic looking website is within the budget of the masses, not the few.

Basekit is a London-based technology firm providing professional web design to the SME market. Find out more about Basekit.

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