In the digital world, every business needs to have a working website. Beyond that, the design elements of the site play a huge role in how you spread your message, generate brand awareness and communicate with your audience. It can be difficult to determine what is and isn’t a good idea when it comes to what and how to design your website. Here are a few “myths” that you should be aware of.

“The more options, the better.”

While this may be the case when it comes to an ice-cream parlor or shoe store, websites shouldn’t contain a ton of different options or links for the visitor can go. A website should also take no longer than three-clicks for the visitors to access the information. People may visit a website for a specific reason (to read a blog, case study or whitepaper), but if there’s a longer clicking path or a wide range of options, you risk overwhelming the visitor.

“A lot of text will help me.”

As designers and marketers, we understand that it can be hard to cut down on text. However, when it comes to designing a website, less is more. Reexamine your copy. Are there any sentences that can be combined? Is there any jargon that can be removed? If you aren’t able to cut down, consider using bullets, bold lettering and whitespace to help break up the material. This will help create a more visually appealing site that is both easy to read and comprehend.

“A bunch of pictures is a good thing.”  

Similar to the amount of options, a great amount of photos doesn’t always make sense. Even more, a single, beautiful, high-res image won’t do any good for the website if it doesn’t represent the content. We’ve all heard the saying “an image is worth 1,000 words.” It stands true for web design. Think about the story you are trying to convey and how an image or two can get your message across. Don’t go into sensory overload with images. Your visitor may be hesitant to explore the rest of your site and trust your business. Of course, there are some exceptions, such as a portfolio or project page. Knowing when, where and how many images to use will be key in creating an appealing layout.

“A mobile version isn’t necessary.”

This is completely false. With the rise of digital media and smartphones, it’s important to keep in mind that most visitors may be coming to you from a mobile device. Not only should your business have a mobile-friendly website, but it should be fully responsive as well. If your text shrinks or images become distorted when in mobile view, work with a web designer and developer to address these essential fixes.

“If I build it, they will come.”

Designing a website is only half the battle. The other half? Communicating your message through marketing and SEO. Don’t assume that people are going to find your site because it’s new or has been given a redesign. Your content should be keyword rich to increase its Google search ranking. This goes beyond the content on the homepage. If you want to bring new visitors to your site, consider a blogging on a regular basis to increase visibility. You can write about your industry, a recent project, a feature of an employee, etc. Programs like Moz or Buzzsumo will help determine the best keywords for your industry.