Some business owners design their own small business websites. Or they have a relative, friend, or neighbour build it for them. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this. In fact, it is a great way to get a website up and running for very little money. Most times however, do it yourself website designers make mistakes. These mistakes mostly relate to not knowing what code to place into the foundation of the website. This code leads to invalid web pages, slow loading websites, and poor SEO results. Here is a list of the top DIY design mistakes that I find in small business websites I audit.
Not mobile friendly
The biggest of the DIY design mistakes is not using responsive web design or not designing the website to be mobile friendly. Although the theory behind responsive website design is easy to understand, knowing how to implement the individual parts needs some careful thought. Responsive website design needs a thorough understanding of CSS media queries and their related breakpoints. Not using media queries correctly can lead to some very ineffective page layouts. Also, your web pages will break when displaying of different devices.
Improper design elements
The second mistake relates to not using design elements properly. Trying to jam everything into the front page of a website confuses visitors. You want your main message or call to action prominently displayed. Most times, the adage of less is more applies. Adding whitespace between elements makes pages easier to read. Do not make visitors scour your web page for information, most times they will leave in frustration.
The next DIY design mistake relates to using ‘free’ website builders. These ‘drag-and-drop applications add a lot of code bloat to your web pages. This bloat leads to slower page loading times and hard to tweak web pages. Some expensive editors also suffer from page code bloat. The best example is using Microsoft Word as a web page builder. Yes, Word can produce web pages but the resulting code is huge, not standard, and difficult to edit.
Not including SEO
The last of the DIY design mistakes, which occurs most often, is not knowing how to properly code a web page for Search Engine Optimization. Some ‘drag and drop’ website builders have features for adding this valuable SEO information but most DIYers do not have the knowledge or experience needed to properly take advantage of the SEO features. Not having on-page SEO set up properly results in your website not ranking as highly as it could.
Check your small business website and see whether it suffers from these common DIY design mistakes. If the answer is yes, then you need to act to fix these mistakes. Until you do, your website performance will continue to suffer from these mistakes.
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