7 Ways in Which Your Website’s Design Could Harm Your Brand

For most small business owners, their website is usually their last priority. They are too busy worrying about their day to day operations and business growth to worry about anything else.

As such, they adopt an attitude of “it looks ok, so it’s ok”.


Maybe it isn’t.

Your website’s design could harm your brand – here’s how:

(Keep in mind that anyone who forms a negative impression of your brand could – statistically – influence the buyer decisions of up to 250 other people. Think about the cost of THAT.)

1. Page loading speed:

Many web designers, who create awesome-looking websites, tend to rely heavily on images and fancy page elements like sliding headers.

Yes, I know sliding header images are all the craze right now, but the mechanism they use will slow your website down – considerably.

We live in an age of “instant gratification”. The internet has turned us into terribly impatient beings.

That means if your website loads a little too slow, many of your website visitors will leave before they even read your content.

Lost visitors = lost customers – lost revenue.

The only way to keep those fancy elements and maintain website speed is to move to faster hosting. You can expect to pay anything from $30 per month upwards to accommodate those design elements.

But even then your website may still be slow to people with slower internet connections.

2. How does it appear to mobile visitors?

What does your website look like when viewed on a smartphone to tablet? Does it re-shape itself to adjust to the smaller screen, keeping the font readable? Or does it simply shrink, forcing the visitor to zoom in and scroll left and right until they get sick of it and give up?

But that’s not all…

Even if your website is mobile responsive, but it has too many too many elements like too many images, testimonials, sliding post/page extracts, etc., it could still be a distraction.

Distractions (or not user friendly) = lost focus = lost customer + poor impression = lost revenue + negative conversations with potential customers.

3. Gimmicks:

Many designers like to spruce up their web designs with unnecessary elements. While these also have a negative impact on page loading speed, the big question is this:

Is every single element on your website necessary to lead the client or customer towards making an informed decision?

If it isn’t contributing to your business, it shouldn’t be there. Window dressing is ok in a window, but on a website people want answers.

Make it as easy as possible for them to find what they need/want – or they will find it on the next website they visit.

4. Great design isn’t always logical:

Personally, I have come across many awesome-looking web designs which left me wondering where to find the info I need.

I have come across websites with no navigation menus, weird arrangements and layouts, and even found the contact form under the “about us” section once.

Ask yourself this: At any given moment, can a technologically challenged person figure out where to find what he or she is looking for? Also, do you have a clear call to action at the end of every relevant page?

If your “great design” is losing you clients/customers, it’s not that great.

Ideally you should “lead” your visitor through your website to the point where they contact you or buy from you.

If not, some of them just won’t “get it”, and leave without doing anything.

5. A lack of SEO and SMO:

SEO stands for search engine optimization. It is the steps taken to ensure that Google not only knows what everything on your website is about, but that it is aware of every page on your website.

This includes actions adding like title- and description meta tags, “alt” tags for images, a search engine (XML) sitemap, and submission to Google’s webmaster search console.

SMO refers to social media optimization. It includes four things, one of which is optional (and only of use to blogs):

a. Social profile buttons to people can find you on social media.

b. Social sharing buttons so that people can share any page on your website with their friends on Facebook Twitter, Whatsapp, etc.

c. Open graph tags – to tell social sites what your website is about, and to specify a default image to be displayed for any specific page, or for everything.

d. Optional: Social posting automation- meaning that, whenever you post something new on your blog, it is shared to social media automatically. Think in terms of your Facebook page, your Twitter profile, social bookmarking sites and more.

Often designers will offer “great web design” for low prices, but then they fail to mention that things like SEO and SMO are not included in the price. Typically they will only include one or two social profile/-page links.

A lack of SEO means fewer visitors from Google and other search engines. A lack of SMO means fewer people sharing your content on Facebook and Whatsapp, and if they do it doesn’t stand out. That in turn means fewer people visiting your website due to social sharing.

Fewer visitors = fewer clients or customers = lost revenue + slower brand growth.

6. Outdated design:

Outdated design can have several implications…

a. Firstly, it sends a message to Google that your website hasn’t been updated in a while, so it might not be the best place to send visitors to.

b. Secondly, especially for websites that are several years old, the way the SEO and SMO were done (if they were done at all) may not be in line with today’s techniques and standards.

For instance: Open graph tags weren’t available five years ago. Social sharing buttons didn’t include Whatsapp seven years ago. And before then it was still common practice to specify keywords for search engines…

Unfortunately, many web designers specified keywords that didn’t even appear on the page, which Google will penalize you for nowadays.

In addition to that, web browsers and mobile web browsers change all the time. Something which looked good five yeas ago might not even be compatible with some browsers today. It might appear all messed up or without styling, or some page elements may be missing. Some of the older designs may not even be mobile responsive at all.

7. Outdated and vulnerable to hacking:

If you have an old website which was built using website builder software like say, Dreamweaver, this isn’t a problem.

But if it was built on WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, etc…

Then you could be facing security vulnerabilities. Websites built on WordPress, Joomla, and other content management systems are complex. Over time, hackers figure out back doors to get into them and hack them.

As such, especially with WordPress websites, it is essential to run regular updates on the WordPress core, plugins and themes (templates), as well as PHP (coding language for WordPress) settings updates. Fortunately, there are some great security plugins for WordPress which makes it extremely difficult to hack it.

Because if your site is hacked…

In some cases you will get a ransom/extortion demand. Your site will simply be disfigured or dysfunctional, or even redirect to another website – which may not be family friendly. Just imagine this happening when you run a special offer and an aggressive advertising campaign…

In other cases, you may not even know about it – and hackers may plant malicious code on your website, which can then steal visitors’ information, or even transfer viruses, malware or spyware onto their computers.

Or they could use (a new, invisible part of) your website as a “base” from which to run illegal operations, or run spamming software – and spamming will get your domain blacklisted, whether it was your fault or not.

Now just imagine the damage to your brand if every single email you send never reaches its destination…


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