Why Smart Small Businesses Shouldn’t Have Flashy Websites

Flashy cars and flashy websitesHave you ever thought about how much of a consumer culture we live in? In this consumer culture we routinely seek to have the shiniest, flashiest “things” to show off our status to others.

And with this mindset, it’s natural that a business owner would think that he needs to have a shiny website to impress potential customers. But, this idea is flawed. The fact is that most flashy websites are slow, and this could adversely affect your business.

To Be Flashy Or Not?

Right now, you’re probably thinking that you’ve seen several websites that were flashy and successful, and that this means you should have one. While these websites may be successful, despite their clunkiness, do keep in mind that these websites usually have a different audience.

For example, the website for G.I. Joe Retalliation is a perfect example of a slow, flashy website. But, even though this website shows me a loader and takes several seconds to load, I will patiently wait every single time. Why? Because I came to this website expecting it to be very feature rich.

GI Joe Retalliation Website

Now let’s take a website like Amazon for example. I usually go to Amazon for price checking and “cool stuff” discovery”. I’ll easily browse through 20-30 pages before finding a product I want. In this situation, I don’t want to deal with a slow website… and if you show me a slow website I will not be happy.

If you’re running a small business, then your website is most likely like more similar to the Amazon scenario. Your readers are most likely not  coming to your website to be entertained, they are coming for information, and want it fast.

The Adverse Effects of a Slow Website

There are two main reasons that having a slow website is a horrible idea for businesses.

  1. Several large companies have done research that shows that when their websites slow down even a fraction of a second, they lose millions of visitors. Your website may not work on the same scale as Google, but the idea is that with a slow website, you are leaving money on the table.
  2. In recent years, Google has begun to consider the page speed of a website in their ranking algorithm. Although the exact influence is unsure, it is certain that a slow website will hurt your rankings in search.

Both of the above scenarios lead to a reduced amount of visitors, which ultimately leads to a reduced amount of money. And while recovering page views may be easier when speeding up your website, the impact to SEO may be more long term.

 Set Your Website Up for Success!

You’re a busy small business owner, so I’ll keep it short. Here are the 4 things that your website needs:

  1. Responsiveness. This means that your website will change its look depending on the device it’s being viewed on (Visit ArtOfBlog on your mobile device to get an idea of what I’m talking about). Did you know that over 25% of mobile web users browse only on their phones and that mobile traffic as a whole accounts for over 23% of all traffic online! If your website is not responsive, then you could potentially be alienating almost 1/4 of all of your traffic.
  2. Minimalness. As we talked about earlier, a flashy website could hurt your web traffic. We recommend getting a website design that loads super fast. This usually means going light on images and having a great host. Check out our WordPress hosting page for our top recommended hosts.
  3. Claim Your Google Listing. This will help you get in the local search results within Google. While you’re at it, go ahead and register your local business with Yahoo and Bing as well.
  4. Display Your Phone Number in a Prominent Place. You want to make it easy for potential customers to get in touch with you. As a local business owner, this usually means through the phone. Be sure to place your phone number in the header and footer of your website so that it’s convenient for website visitors.

What Do You Think?

Would you do business with a small business that had a slow website? And if so, how long are you willing to wait?

Written by Eric Binnion

Eric Binnion is a computer science student at Midwestern State University. When Eric is not online, he is usually volunteering in his community or enjoying time with his family. You can find Eric on Twitter.

«
»

Comments

  • Another great article Eric. I look forward to them in my inbox. I will share it on my site.. Thanks again

  • Rick Lomas says:

    Hi Eric, nice article: I have a couple of questions….
    I’m building http://www.motorhomebusiness.com at the moment with Thesis 2 (Incidentally that is how I got on your list because I used your code to make it responsive). It was nice and fast until yesterday when I put a Facebook like button on it which slowed it right down. So
    Q1 What do you think is the best way to put a Facebook like button on your site?
    Q2 I really like the font colour/hyperlink and size you use on Art of Blog – very clear, could you tell me what you use? I know I could delve into your source code, but I thought I would ask anyway.
    Good Work
    Rick

  • Barbara says:

    I’ve been developing websites for 18 years and I’ve had the same mindset for all of those years. I want information when I go to a site; the look and feel does matter but that can be accomplished well without the overload some folks think is necessary from ‘flashy’ graphics. If I recall, many years ago Flash was developed as a great way to deliver graphics quicker; as soon as that was possible, people failed to recognize the value in a 56K world and just made their graphics bigger. Nothing has changed…having the capability does not warrant overuse!

    • Eric Binnion says:

      Well said Barbara!

      I personally like the flat UI movement that has happened recently. I wonder how long it will last?

      Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment!

  • Shirley Hoke says:

    Flashy websites do not appeal to me.

    I prefer a website that makes you feel welcome and makes a statement that this a website that.. “I want to see and read more.”

    I like color but not too bold. It all depends what message you want the website to deliver to someone that stops by.

    I need to do something with my website very soon. You just made me stop and think about it now!
    Thanks,
    Shirley Hoke