KISS. Keep it simple, stupid.
It’s such a well-known phrase, yet many small business owners and web designers fail to follow this simple piece of advice. Perhaps designers think something fancy and complex is needed to justify their price. Perhaps business owners want something that doesn’t ‘look’ like a template (just a heads up no one cares if it is built on a template) in an effort to have a website that out shines their competitors.
In a study by Google, researchers found that a user will judge whether or not your website is beautiful within 1/50th-1/20th of a second. Those considered to be visually complex were consistently rated as less beautiful than their more simple counterparts.
While my current website is by no means basic it is built on a very simple template with minimal customization. This wasn’t always the case. I once fell into the trap of an elaborate website. Loaded up with page after page of custom design it was a flop when it went live. Besides generating fewer inquiries, updating regularly to keep the website breathing caused lots of frustration. In a couple months the pricey design was scrapped and it was replaced with templated WordPress theme… Enfold.
Here are just a few reasons why I think that simpler is better when it comes to your website, both for you and for your users.
Easy to Update and Post
As someone running a business, you likely have a lot of different things throughout your day vying for your attention. Between managing your employees, going through marketing plans, and answering calls from clients, there’s a lot going on.
Why add a complicated website to that?
For small business owners, it isn’t always possible to have a full-time developer on hand or even someone on-staff who can keep the website updated. A lot of times, that responsibility falls on the owner. When you go to update your website or put up a new post, you don’t want to have to spend hours talking with customers support or a developer to figure out why your theme is broken yet again.
With something simple, you just click update or post and it’s done.
You Don’t Have to Pay a Developer
Don’t get me wrong, developers are great. They get things done that I would have no idea how to do on my own. However, one of the biggest drawbacks of a developer is that they’re expensive. Imagine for a moment that you have a big, complex site developed in PHP.
Do you know PHP?
My point is, you likely don’t have any idea what’s going on behind the scenes when you hire a developer. Now, think about what happens when you run into problems like slow loading times, broken pages, or anything else that might cause a poor user experience.
Are you going to be able to fix any of that stuff yourself?
The answer is likely no. You’re going to have to keep paying a developer to maintain your website and fix bugs, which is going to add up over time.
Easier for Users to Navigate
Having a simple website makes it so that it’s easier for users to navigate. A site that is easy to navigate has several benefits:
- Users Stay Longer:
If your website is easy to use and navigate, users are more likely to stay around on your site longer (a lower bounce rate). If they land on your site and don’t know where to go next, they’ll likely leave without viewing any more pages.
- More Likely to Purchase: When users stay on a page longer, they click more links. When they click more links, they read more content. When they click more links and read more content, they’re more likely to make a purchase or give you a call. Don’t make the buying journey any more difficult than it needs to be.
- Fast Information:
As the years go by, people want things faster and faster. Whereas people used to wait days for a piece of mail to come, they now won’t wait more than a few seconds for a page to load. A simple website transfers information efficiently, and the pages likely load faster than those with a bunch of images or videos.
You users likely visit a bunch of web pages each day, so don’t make yours be one of the ones that people only spend a few seconds on.
- Users Stay Longer:
You Feel Less Corporate
This is one that I’ve played with a little bit. When we first started out in the home service industry, we set up a landing page that never ended up getting much traffic. It was super simple, basic, and to the point. Shortly after we began growing, we decided that we were going to hire a talented developer to put together a visually stunning website for us. Unfortunately, having a more beautiful, complex website didn’t necessarily lead to more business.
In fact, when we ran ads to the original landing page, we actually ended up paying significantly less for leads than we did when we directed people to our new version.
Why I think that is is because the original page makes us look like a couple of guys with a truck running a small business, while the fancy page made us look more corporate. People want to feel like they’re getting a deal, and many also just want to support small business.
If you want to take advantage of that, you might want to reconsider having a big fancy site that makes you look more corporate.
A Final Note
Your website is one of the most important aspects of your marketing plan. So, what do people see and experience when they land on it? Is it confusing, cumbersome, and slow? Or is it straightforward, beautiful, and fast? For the sake of your business, you want it to be the latter.
While you might fall in love with some fancy, complex design, just keep in mind that none of that matters if people have a difficult time navigating and using the site. If you have anything other than what’s necessary, just drop it.
For more on website impressions, check out another one of my articles here.
Let me know what you think in the comments section below!