5 small business website design mistakes to avoid

Editorial Team

5 min read
Woman looking at desktop monitor holding tablet

By 2027, it’s estimated that eCommerce purchases will account for almost a quarter of all purchases worldwide. Since many customers tend to visit a company’s website before they visit in person, your web design could have an impact on your business. In this competitive market, don’t let a bad online experience send prospective customers to the competition.

Read on for five top website design mistakes to help you know what to avoid when building a website–or what you may need to address on your existing site.

1. No clear call to action (CTA)

A “call to action” is a marketing term that refers to a suggestion, question, or directive that gets your website visitors to do something–that is, to take action. For instance, you may ask your customers to “learn more,” “hit subscribe,” or “add to cart.” 

Your site’s home page may include several CTAs, depending on your business type. And, while you may think your business goals are clear, those goals may not come across clearly to website visitors. 

To ensure site visitors know what you want them to do, focus on a primary CTA for each site page–and maybe one or two additional CTAs at most. Further, the CTAs you use on your website should be direct, clear, and compelling. It’s important to remember that without clear direction, your site visitors may get confused, lost, or leave your website altogether.

To up your CTA game even further, consider adding one or more landing pages. These are single pages dedicated to one specific goal, like getting customers to sign up for a newsletter or take advantage of a special offer.

READ: How to set up a business website

2. Poor navigation layout

Have you ever visited a website only to find that its layout seemed to have no rhyme or reason? Maybe the site felt cluttered, maybe you kept clicking only to find a broken link or two, or, worse, links that promised something very different from what you found. 

One of the most common website design mistakes is poor navigation design. Customers grow frustrated when they can’t find what they’re looking for–and they’ll likely give up. To counteract a confusing navigation system, aim to keep your navigation menu simple and organized so that users can easily navigate between the pages and sections of your website. Ask customers what’s working and what’s not about the site navigation–and where they’d expect to find certain information about your products or services. 

A functional site navigation should be intuitive, meaning users shouldn’t have to think too hard about where to find information. They should be able to figure out very quickly where to find the information they want about your products without confusion or spending much time searching. 

3. Missing site search function

Even with a simple, intuitive navigation design, your customers might prefer to search for the info they’re seeking rather than clicking through various pages to find it. 

What’s more, missing search functionality could lead to poor user engagement or a high bounce rate, which can have a negative effect on your SERP (search engine results page) rankings. 

Not adding a search function to your site is one of the biggest website mistakes–but, fortunately, it’s also one of the easiest problems to solve, since most eCommerce platforms incorporate a search function into their site solutions. 

4. Accessibility issues

Making your site accessible to users with a disability may not be top of mind for you, but it sure is for the one in six people who live with significant disability. Not only is accessibility a good practice ethically, it also expands your offerings to a broader audience. Additionally, many countries have laws and regulations in place that require websites to be accessible to all users, so accessibility should be top of mind if you aim to reach an international audience. 

In the United States, you’ll need to comply with standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). These include structural accessibility (it can be navigated using only a keyboard), nonvisual accessibility, and informational accessibility.

5. Ignoring search engine optimization

What use is a beautiful website if no one can find it? Search engine optimization (SEO) consists of a number of strategic practices that improve a website’s visibility and ranking within search engine results pages (SERPs). Some of these strategies include:

  • Keyword research–What are potential visitors searching for that relates to your products or services? 
  • On-page optimization–Once you have keywords, you can optimize individual pages by including those words and phrases in title tags, meta descriptions, headings, URL structures, and image alt text.
  • Mobile-friendly design–How mobile-friendly your website design is can factor significantly in search engine rankings. 
  • Local search–You can optimize your website for local searches by including location-based keywords and creating a Google My Business profile.
  • Regular monitoring or analysis–You’ll want to continue monitoring your website to see how it’s performing. That way you can adjust SEO strategies and identify areas for improvement accordingly.

Learn more about how and why to improve SEO for your business website.

Clover offers a wide range of eCommerce solutions to help small businesses–like retailers, restaurants, and service businesses–maximize their online potential. Contact a Clover Business Consultant to learn more.

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