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4 Best Practices When Designing Your Cannabis Business Website

Published on October 17, 2017 · Last updated July 28, 2020
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In the cannabis industry, business owners already face a constant uphill battle dealing with restrictive regulations, the ever-evolving state of the market, not to mention the long-held stigma of cannabis that has persisted in society for decades.

It’s crucial to put your best foot forward, and one of the best ways to do this is to create a professional and dynamic website for your cannabis business. Your website is often one of the first places potential customers will stumble upon, which is why it’s important to make a great first impression.

Here are four tips to keep in mind when designing your business website.

1. Secure Your Website Domain

The first order of business is making sure you can get your company’s name in your website domain. This can be especially tricky considering that there is often a great deal of overlap for similarly titled dispensaries in the various legal cannabis markets. Find a way to make your dispensary stand out among the others, with a catchy tagline or uniquely designed logo. You may need to slightly alter your domain name by adding “collective” or “dispensary,” but make sure your company’s name stands out and can be easily found with a quick internet search.

2. Think of the Children

In this era of legal cannabis, maintaining accountability is essential. Although the regulations for cannabis vary from state to state, one of the foremost tenets of the cannabis industry is a commitment to keeping cannabis out of the hands of those who are underage. With great privilege comes great responsibility! Keep this in mind when designing your website.

First and foremost, install an age-gate. It can be as simple as asking if the visitor is over the age of 21, or it can be more complex, requiring the visitor to enter their birth date to continue. Obviously, these age gates are not fool proof, but it’s a small, simple step that shows you are concerned with maintaining compliance.

3. Choose Your Font Wisely

As any graphic designer will tell you, there are certain fonts that tend to irk people from the get-go. These tend to include such fonts as Comic Sans, and the dreaded Papyrus. Leafly’s own creative team opted to weigh in on the best and worst fonts.

Nick Ouellette named Bleeding Cowboys as the worst font on the market today, while Amy Phung implicated Curlz as her least favorite. As for the best? “Clearly Gotham,” said Ouellette. “There are other classics, of course, Garamond, Helvetica.” He paused. “I’m not a fan of Helvetica, personally, but that’s like saying I’m not a fan of Leonardo da Vinci.”

When it comes to a great font to display on your website, choose one with clear lines that is easily legible. It’s also wise to keep the font fairly large (or at least an option to enlarge it) for medical marijuana patients that may have visual impairments.

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4. Design With Intent

When considering how to design a beautiful, easily navigated, and functional website, look to your own favorite websites for inspiration. In order to avoid the inevitable stigma that has long plagued cannabis culture, we recommend steering clear of some of the older tropes and stereotypes: bikini babes holding fat blunts, spastic graphics, bad word art, and a website overly saturated with the emblematic cannabis leaf, in the style of this late 90s website.

Once again, be responsible and make conscious choices, particularly when it comes to graphics and logos. Do not offer any designs that could be seen as appealing to children. This includes images like toys, cartoons, and cute, cuddly creatures.

Clean lines, clearly clickable icons, a menu that’s easy to navigate, and information that you know your clients want to see. Dispensaries – make it easy to find your menu, hours of operation, phone number, and location. If you’re a manufacturer, make it easy for visitors to find locations that offer your products.

Also, just to cover all of your bases, it may not be required by law (depending on your location) to explicitly state that cannabis is for adult use only; however, if you wanted to include a disclaimer somewhere on your site, it probably couldn’t hurt.

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Lisa Rough
Lisa Rough
Lisa is a former associate editor at Leafly, where she specialized in legislative cannabis policy and industry topics.
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