Survey Shows Majority of Business Owners Want a Simple, Professional Website

Two thirds of small and medium-sized business (SMB) owners believe that the most important aspects of their websites are that they make the business look professional and that they have a simple design that’s easy to use. According to SMB owners, the three most important aspects of a website are:

  • Makes my business look professional: 34.9%
  • Simple design that’s easy to use: 31.7%
  • Inspires visitors to trust me: 12.2%

Collected from over 1,000 American SMB owners, the data shows that over one-third of SMB owners think the most important aspect of their business website is that the site makes their business look professional. Just under one-third said a “simple design that’s easy to use” is the most important aspect of their business website. 12.2% said the most important feature of their business website is that the site “inspires visitors to trust me.”

Only 5.3% said the most important aspect of a business website was that it “has a unique look,” and only 4.7% said “has very advanced functionality.” Meanwhile, 11.2% of respondents indicated that they do not have a business website.

Overwhelmingly, these business owners prefer a simple, professional website (more than 65%) over a website that has a unique look or advanced functionality (just 10%). This provides interesting insight into the needs of many SMB owners.

Nearly 7 times as many people say that having a professional looking website is more important than a unique looking website. Unique, extremely custom designs can sometimes require the website visitor to spend more time looking for the information they’re seeking, instead of finding that information in the places they expect it to be. Moreover, unique designs can lead to problems with responsiveness on mobile devices and tablets. These are just a few of the reasons that may contribute to the vast majority of SMB owners preferring a simple and professional website layout.

In fact, nearly 32 percent of the survey respondents said that having an easy-to-use business website was the most important factor of their site – compared to 4.7 percent who claimed that having advanced functionality was the most important. This large disparity supports the idea that SMB owners prefer simplicity over uniqueness or complexity in their website design.

As SMB websites move from the very unique to the more simple, fewer SMBs are building special functionality into their websites. This trend has driven the proliferation of purpose-built, cloud-based web applications designed to provide specific types of functionality for the SMB market. Some of these cloud-based tools are:

  • TimeTrade: a system used for scheduling appointments, compatible with Google Calendar
  • Asana: a tool to keep projects and teams organized and communicative
  • Square: a secure credit card processing service perfect for ecommerce
  • Dropbox: a secure file sharing program to host and share information

most important aspect of their business website

Beyond reflecting the preferences of website owners, these survey results also reflect the behavior and preferences of website users. According to data provided by Google, people find simple websites to be more visually appealing than complex websites. Visitors display more favorable consumer behavior and have better attitudes when using websites that don’t have a complex design. Furthermore, simply designed and easy-to-use websites follow the concept of “cognitive fluency,” or the idea that the human brain likes to digest the most easily digestible content.

12.2% of respondents believe that inspiring trust in their business is the most important aspect of their business website. One reason business owners might have selected “makes my business look professional” and “simple design that’s easy to use”nearly three times more than “inspires my visitor to trust me” could be that simplicity and professionalism naturally instill trust in the visitor.

About the Survey

survey finds out the most important aspect of their business website

This survey was conducted using Google Consumer Surveys targeting small and medium-sized business owners. Over 1,000 respondents were surveyed over a 3-day period in June, 2015. They were asked the question, “What’s most important overall about your business website?”

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