Small Business Website Design and Credibility

In today's increasingly computer-centric world, many businesses are discovered online first, brick and mortar second. The customer's first impression often comes from how nice a website looks, not how the actual store looks. While this is certainly a new frontier for most business owners, it should definitely be something that is embraced, not ignored.

The Online Gauge of Trust

When a potential customer first visits a site, they start with a clean slate of trust—a clear, unclouded opinion of this world they have just entered. As they take in the information and graphic treatments that make up a site, they judge the site's credibility by the presentation of info, imagery, and general usability. If the site is for a photography business and the photo work is second rate, the visitor is immediately going to lose some of that trust. Likewise if the site is for a copywriter and there are misspellings or bad grammar on the site, there is an instant drop in that gauge of credibility. And all it takes is one tiny slip!

Watch Those Pixels!

The human eye has an incredible ability to detect spatial alignment. Even the tiniest inconsistencies in typography, graphic elements, or form elements will be noticed by the observant web surfer. Setting proper CSS margins, padding, floats, and line heights are crucial for a designer, not just because it ‘looks pretty’, but because when things are not well styled, the business takes the hit, not the designer.

As I mentioned, a site visitor shows up with an unbiased opinion of the business behind the site—after a bit of clicking around, how much of that opinion is still positive? How many times did they think “Hmmm…that looks a little Off…”
Each little moment of “hmmmm…” is a ding for the business.

form field and buttonWhat's wrong with this form submit button? Even a quick glance and you can see that the 'Password' label is too high in relation to the field, the 'sign up' text is too far down within the button's border, and the button itself is not lined up with the password field above. In other words, a big mess! And that is only subtle alignment issues. Poor grammar and misspelled words look even worse, lowering that gauge quickly.

Spending the extra time it takes to polish up every piece of type, layout, or imagery on a website can mean the difference between new customers and lost ones. Don't let tiny pixels make a giant dent in your bottom line!