With so many competing pieces of advice about making a great small business website (and many of those pieces of advice coming from companies looking to sell you something), it’s easy not to know which way is up. Since your website is the first impression you will make in this digital world, you can’t afford to get it wrong. That being said, we’ve got great news—simpler is better for your small business website.
Is More Always More?
Just like many other things, websites often fall into the category of “more is more,” and not “more is better.” One study by Google found that users decide whether or not a website is visually appealing in 1/50th-1/20th of a second. That same study found that visually complex and cluttered sites are consistently ranked lower for usability and beauty than simpler counterparts. In fact, the study found that websites with intuitive and simple layouts commonly found in the associated industry rated the highest across the board.
What Is a Simple Website?
Let’s do a little experiment. What do you think of when you hear the word furniture? If you’re like most people, you think of a chair. What about the word bird? Again, most people think of a robin. The same is true of a website. If you are visiting a small business website for a personal trainer in their early 20s, you will have a specific image in your mind already. Creating a website that falls in line with those expectations isn’t bad! Instead, it is what the average consumer is looking for.
The Principle of Cognitive Fluency
Cognitive fluency is the magic that guides many of the best, simplest small business websites. The phrase describes the concept that the mind always prefers to think about things that are easy to think about. That is why people use the same email or word processor for decades, even if another might have better features. It’s easier to do something when you instinctively know where things are, what you are looking for and what you should be doing. Cognitive fluency plays a strong role in effective small business website design. When visitors know where to find what they are looking for, like a contact form at the bottom of the page or the company logo on the top left, they have a better experience and enjoy using your website more.
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