By Daniel Griggs, founder & CEO of ATX Web Designs

It is no secret that quality website design is critical in today’s digital age. Americans are spending more time than ever on their computers, laptops and tablets -- nearly four hours every day, according to the 2018 Nielsen Total Audience Report. Your website will likely be the first place consumers encounter your brand.

Your web design not only conveys information about your products and services but also speaks to your values, style and relevance. While website design advice is ubiquitous, there are several common misconceptions that circulate as well. Here are the five most common web design myths I’ve seen, and what to consider instead.

Myth 1: Your website can’t cater to multiple audiences.

There may be generational and socioeconomic gaps in technological knowledge and aesthetic taste, but that doesn’t mean your website design can’t appeal to multiple demographics. Work smarter, not harder to engage with each of your target audiences by finding the areas where their preferences overlap.

For example, the baby boomer and millennial generations may both prefer large font and less cluttered design. In my experience, millennials are drawn to unique typography while baby boomers favor simple fonts, so a modern but easy-to-read sans serif could potentially appeal to both groups.

Myth 2: Content is content.

Not all content is created equal. The average website visitor will quickly leave your page if they are unable to access the information they need, so your site should convey your main message as quickly and simply as possible. Be as bold and blatant as you can about answering the three Ws: Who are you? What do you do? Why should a user do business with you?

If you have a content-based website, the information needs to be displayed in a way that looks minimalistic for users so they are not overwhelmed. If your website has a high bounce rate, this could be an indicator that you are not keeping it simple enough. Try to determine the least amount of text you can use to get your point across and consider incorporating images and videos to save space and simplify.

Myth 3: You need to tell your whole story on your homepage.

Your potential client’s first interaction with your website should make them feel like it was designed for them. This is particularly important if your website caters to multiple audiences. Avoid overwhelming site visitors with details about every facet of your product or service and instead create clear calls to action that help specific audiences quickly and easily navigate to the content they need.

It is more important to customize your content and create a clear pathway to important information than it is to showcase every aspect of your business on your homepage.

Myth 4: A well-designed desktop version is good enough.

Nielsen estimates that 62 percent of the average American consumer’s digital activity takes place on a smartphone and through mobile applications. Millennials and young adults are especially likely to use a smartphone to browse the web. A well-designed desktop version of your website is important, but research shows that the mobile version is even more important.

The Pew Research Center reports that 28 percent of millennials are smartphone-only internet users, meaning that nearly one third of the country’s largest consumer demographic will be viewing your website solely on their phones. A fast, clean, easy mobile website -- or better yet, a mobile app -- experience will ensure your company puts its best face forward.

Myth 5: You don’t need a website audit.

Quality website and mobile app design requires a professional set of eyes. A website audit is a comprehensive review of your design and content that will help determine whether you are reaching your target audiences in the most efficient and effective way possible. A full audit will help expose weak spots and improve the usability of your website and mobile app to ensure you are reaching the greatest amount of people in the most effective way. This will help conversion, which means more leads.

In an internet-driven society, website design is crucial to the success of your business. Don’t fall for these common myths that could detract from your brand’s reputation and bottom line.

Daniel Griggs is the founder & CEO of ATX Web Designs, the industry's best web design and SEO company.

Published on: May 31, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.