You don't have the option of putting out a dull, run-of-the-mill website anymore. An ugly site will hurt on-site user behavior and search rankings, resulting in fewer conversions and reduced traffic. Many small business owners design their website because they want to save some money and exercise more control over the site design process.
A website is the cornerstone of your brand’s online presence. Websites help you to “create brand message unity across all platforms and spread it directly to your customers” (Active). Web designers work to create websites that are navigable, enjoyable, usable, and attractive. If you're not a web design professional, you won't know the rules that make sites beautiful. This blog post will give you some of the top mistakes that small business owners make when they design their business sites.
A Website With Too Much Going On
Pages rich in visual content are good, but there’s a wrong way to do it. In the realm of design, less is more. According to Usability Geek, “Visitors who can’t understand what your site is about within a few seconds of arriving on your site will leave.” You never want to have a crowded website. If you have a website with a lot of images, text, and annoying music, it will take a while to load. All this input will also confuse anyone who visits your website. Always stay away from busy designs if you design your site.
A Website With Too Little Information
You have on the other end of the spectrum websites that have far too little information on them. According to Donald Miller, a home page should contain a concise statement about what you do, who you do it for, and how that’s going to change the game for your audience. While minimalism is a popular web design trend, it can wreak havoc on your business prospects if you don't know what you're doing. A good home page answers the question “What do we do?”
In the example above, I think the design of the site is all fine and good, but I have absolutely no idea what it is that they do. Sure there’s a link that says “what we do,” but your users shouldn’t have to click on to a second page to find that out! Visitors need to know about your business and what it can do for them. Too little information on your business website will leave most of your visitors to guess about your company identity. This guessing game is never a good thing for conversions.
Bad Use of Whitespace
Content acts as a vital part of your marketing strategy. It tells visitors about your products and services. If you design your website, pay close attention to the fonts and the layout.
Take great care to pick out an attractive font for your website. Use whitespace to make your blocks of text less intimidating for your viewer. Many people put too much text on their web pages. Break your text up, then use high-quality images whenever you can. Also, update your content as much as you can. You don't want a potential customer to think that you went out of business.
Contrast these bad examples with some of our work. If you don't design websites professionally, then you should refrain from creating your business website yourself. Your online business presence is way too crucial to mess up with an ugly, muddled website. You shouldn’t trust your brand and online presence to just anyone. Use only experienced web design experts to help you attract, convert, and monetize web traffic.
To create a successful small business online, the first step is to build a great website. After all, your business site is the first real impression most of your customers will have of your brand, so it’s important to make it count.
Building a first class website is essential if you want your business to reach its full potential, but don’t let this put you off. Even if you have no prior experience of web design, you can still put together a unique and functional website that your customers will want to keep revisiting by partnering with a trusted web design agency.
While the finer points of web design may take a little longer to understand, the key ingredients of a great website are pretty straightforward. Here are the main elements to include, and how they can help to make your business a success.
To hold the interest of your customers, you need to be more than just an online store or a generic brochure website. This means creating useful, informative, and original content, so your visitors have a reason to keep coming back, even when they don’t intend to make a purchase. (Tips on content production here on our blog).
No matter how well-designed your website is, without good SEO, it will struggle to attract the traffic it deserves. As such, you should take the time to define your business niche, and choose some key words or phrases to focus on ranking for.
Tools such as Google Trends and Google Keyword Planner are useful for tracking down popular search terms, scoping out the competition, and determining which options are most viable for your business.
You can also boost the appearance of your web pages in search results by optimizing your metadata. This helps you to control exactly what shows up when someone searches for your website, and makes the results more appealing and informative.
A lot of good small business SEO comes down to having a well-built, technically sound website that’s then populated with good content. You may also want to think about whether your website is relevant to the geographic locations you are targeting? Relevance is an important ranking factor.
AccessibilityVisitors to your website will decide very quickly whether they want to stick around or not. This means your website needs to be aesthetically pleasing, easy to navigate, and easy to interpret at a glance.
Make sure your branding is clear, and that visitors can quickly determine what your site’s purpose is. You might even design tailored landing pages, designed to appeal to niche audiences, and increasing the chance of conversion.
Your website should be straightforward to navigate, with clear, intuitive menus. Keep design elements simple and streamlined, so pages load quickly, and do not appear cluttered. This is especially true for anyone getting a lot of traffic from mobile — and a lot of small businesses will be attracting mainly mobile visitors. This is certainly the case for local searches done ‘on the go’.
It is also essential to ensure that your website design is optimized for mobile devices. You can either use responsive web design, or create accelerated mobile pages (AMPs) to accomplish this.
For your business to be memorable, you need a clearly-defined brand identity. Furthermore, you need to ensure that your branding is displayed prominently and consistently throughout your website.
This continuity helps to tie your website together, and gives your customers a clearer idea of what your brand stands for, and how to recognize it. Remember, familiarity increases trust, and this is essential when you are trying to persuade people to invest in your product or service. For website and branding inspiration, it’s an idea to see if there are any relevant niche businesses for sale whose website choices you could learn from — or then speak to a web design agency or check out their portfolio. You can glean a lot about branding from observing others and there may be web design choices out there that you weren’t even aware of.
Top small business web design trends right now:
No matter how great your business might be, sometimes customers will have queries,complaints, or perhaps suggestions. Whatever the case, it is important that they do not feel ignored, and that they are able to secure a response from your business and promptly as possible.
A handy way to achieve this is to use chatbots, which can handle most basic queries, and delegate to a human support agent for queries that fall outside their capabilities. Even implementing a bot that informs customers their queries have been received and are being processed can be enough to mitigate concerns if here is no one immediately available.
If that doesn’t feel right for you, then a friendly contact form, phone number, and a map will all help reassure customers. Make sure that you have a way to capture people’s data like email addresses through a company newsletter or content download. You want to give people a way to engage with you that goes beyond just visiting your website.
Keep in mind that everyone your customers speak too within your business reflects the brand’s overarching identity and reputation.
One of the best ways to build trust with your audience is to demonstrate that you already have loyal, happy customers. This is known as social proof, and can be achieved in a number of ways.
Setting up a website for your small business doesn’t need to be a mammoth undertaking. There are many versatile platforms and options to choose from, offering a range of customization options, according to your needs and ability. You can always call on a professional web designer to fine tune your site, add more complex features, or handle to whole process, if you prefer.
Whatever you decide, the most important thing is to create a website that stands out from the competition, and provides an accurate picture of what your business is, does, and stands for.
More and more business owners are using a minimalist design for their website. Characterized by a simple, clean layout without the presence of unnecessary images or elements, it's become a popular design trend in recent years. If you're reluctant to change your site's design, however, consider the following benefits offered by a minimalist design.
#1) Increased Sales or Conversions
With a minimalist design, you'll generate more sales or conversions on your website. Since they lack unnecessary images and elements found in other, more complicated web designs, visitors tend to focus on the site's key function, such as an online store or call-to-action (CTA) button. Furthermore, minimalist websites often have the right amount of white space to prevent distractions and keep visitors focused on actionable links.
#2) Faster Load Times
A minimalist design can also reduce the time it takes visitors to load your site. According to a study cited by BBC, nearly half of online shoppers will abandon a website if it takes longer than three seconds to load. That costs your business a lot of sales. While many factors affect your site's speed, one of the most influential is its design. Complex designs that are cluttered with unnecessary elements typically take longer to load than minimalist designs.
#3) Higher Search Rankings
Search engines reward websites that provide a positive user experience with higher rankings. After all, search engines want users to continue using their service. If users encounter slow or irrelevant websites in the search results, they'll stop using the search engine. One of the best strategies to create a positive user experience is to decrease loading times with a minimalist website design. BloggingWP explains that “a delay in load time of a web page can increase your heart rate by 38%. That’s the equivalent of someone watching a horror movie.” So, for the sake of your visitor’s heart and improving your rankings, go minimalist.
#4) Easier to Maintain
Finally, you'll have an easier time maintaining your website if it uses a minimalist design. Making otherwise small changes to a complex website may break some of its design elements or functionality. Because they contain fewer elements, minimalist websites don't suffer from this problem. You can easily update and modify your website without worrying about breaking its design or functionality.
These are just a few reasons to choose a minimalist design for your business's website. After adopting it, you'll probably discover other benefits as well. If you're planning to use a minimalist design, trust an experienced graphic designer to help you make sure it reflects your business' brand and values.
We absolutely love this list of Search Engine Optimization terms! If you’ve been trying to research, here is a quick reference for the who, what, when, why, and where for SEO info. Click here to learn more about the ABC’s of SEO:
Search engine optimization is essential in getting your website’s message out to your potential customers. The folks at Google are always developing new algorithms that will affect your page rankings, but there are some techniques you can implement to stay near the top of the list.
Make your website mobile-friendly
Your website may be a thing of beauty when viewed on a PC or Mac, but have you tried pulling it up on your phone? You might be surprised. Most standard desktop sites don’t translate well to mobile devices. Among the benefits you’re looking for are:
Optimize your website’s content
Evergreen content that is timeless and never dated is the goal. Some content can be written this way and stay fresh, but you are going to have to get in the habit of retooling certain articles or combining blogs to provide your visitors with a new experience that will leave them craving more. Diagrams like this one can help you structure your website in a way that keeps your audience clicking:
Source: SunCity Advising
Embedding videos on your website
Website visitors are more visual and have shorter attention spans than ever, so it makes a lot of sense to provide entertaining, relevant videos that add to your site’s content. YouTube videos in particular may provide an even greater benefit. Not only is YouTube a powerhouse website that will give search engines more content to rank, but it is also a Google product, which can only be an added value.
Post your content on social media
Different people get their information from different platforms, and you need to be aware of this. You need to know whether your target audience is using Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, for example, as a primary source. Interestingly, while posting on social media may not result in the content on your primary website to appear higher in search engine rankings, the same post from your social media platform may outrank your website.
Establish a dialogue
Engaging your visitor’s is a sure way to increase the likelihood of their return. If someone left a comment or asked a question regarding content on your site, respond promptly and informatively.
The SEO game is constantly evolving, and you cannot afford to be left behind. By employing these techniques and continuing to explore new options, your website can be an increasing source of traffic and conversion to greater revenue.
Google always wants to create an awesome experience for their end user. They want to create websites that people can trust and Google goes to a lot of work to weed out the bad from the good websites. In July of 2018, Google is rolling out a new version of Chrome that is going to access websites based on whether they are secure, or not secure. As a small business owner, you are going to need to make sure that you have a secure website.
How do I know if your website is secure or not?
Google is going to be giving 2 identifiers in the browser. If you have a secure site... it will state in green 'SECURE'. That let's all visitors to your site know that they can feel confident and trust in sharing their email address, name, pay for products, and engaging with your website. If your domain name is not secure, there will be a gray button that states 'NOT SECURE'. Some users will leave your website because they are afraid to leave there private information on a non-secure site.
What do I need to do to secure my domain name?
You will need to get a secure sockets layer certificate (SSL certificate). Simply contact your web hosting company or your website designer to let them know that you are ready to go from HTTP to HTTPS and have a secure website. This will give visitors peace of mind and have them trust in engaging with you and your website. You want to have a professional, secure website, and keep Google happy so that they don't penalize your site and they continue to give you great search engine optimization so that your site continues to rank. Grow your business and attract more clients.
If you are looking for more tips like these and want help with digital marketing for your small business, please contact us today! Click here to sign up for our digital marketing tips and receive the information you need to get more customers and sales.
I recently read an article by an online social company who spoke with thousands of businesses and marketers over the past few years. In searching for "What is modern marketing"... I'd like to share a few takeaways from the article.
"The modern marketer has to be familiar with a lot of skills, good at many, and master of a few."
7 Invaluable Marketing Skills
“Content is King but engagement is Queen, and the lady rules the house!” - Mari Smith
Click to read the entire article "7 Invaluable Marketing Skills That Help Teams Produce Consistently Great Content".
“Content is anything that adds value to the reader"s life.” - Avinash Kaushik
1. Professional Website
Your website is the basic building block to a strong online presence; not having one makes it difficult to get your business found. It is important to have a strong website that is optimized with the proper keywords and responsive for all platforms.
Provide unique, compelling, high-quality content on your website. Keep your content fresh and updated regularly.
3. Social Media
Sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are keys to small business growth. These platforms have become huge forums for people to share, discuss, and promote businesses. Social “Likes” are factored into search rankings, and they can drive significant traffic to your site.
Search engines consider many factors in ranking your website. Search engine optimization (SEO) refers to the process of “optimizing’ both on-page and off-page factors to achieve high rankings for targeted search teams to reach your target market.
5. Online Directories
Citysearch, Superpages, Google Places, Yahoo Local, Bing Local, Merchant Circle, Yellow Pages, Kudzu, Yellowbook, Local.com, and Manta are just a few of the locations where you should be listed. These listings are important for local search because they help establish your NAP location (Name, Address, Phone Number) and improve your relevancy and position.
6. Online Reviews
Almost three quarters of U.S. internet users who go online before deciding to make a purchase search for consumer reviews. Others’ opinions of your products and services are very relevant in online marketing.
Need help from local experts in online marketing and implementing best practices in website design and online marketing? Contact us today!
If you are a doctor or run a medical practice, you need to have a strong digital presence. In today's world, the internet has made it easy for competitors to take your share of the medical market. To prevent losing potential patients, use these proven techniques of online marketing that will boost your business.
The first thing about online marketing to understand is the power of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This refers to making your site rank better in the organic, or natural, search results from Google, Bing, and other search engines. Without SEO, your practice won't show up when people are searching, and they might not come into your office for a procedure or assistance.
A huge part of SEO is ranking higher based on the keywords you use. For instance, if you are an optometrist in Los Angeles, you would want to use a combination of phrases and words surrounding eyes, doctors, optometrists, Los Angeles, and more than you think your target market would be using. Hire a content writer to produce articles that include these words and begin to build your online presence and get found.
Your content should not be low quality. It should actually provide value to the reader or viewer. First, you want to do this because it helps boost your brand and authority in your patients' eyes. Secondly, if it is more engaging, people will stay on your site longer and boost your SEO.
You can have the best keywords in the world and fantastic articles on your site but still not rank as high as you want. The reason is that another major component of this SEO is your backlink profile. A backlink is simply any link from another website to your website, particularly other websites within your niche. The more backlinks you have, the higher you will rank in general. However, there are some exceptions.
If you have links from low-quality sites, it could actually hurt your rankings. An example of a low-quality site would be a spammy blog about fake supplements created very recently. Google finds sites like this unreliable, and if you have a backlink on it, you'll be associated with it. Google wants people to have confidence in the search results when using Google's services, so they show sites with good reputations. Don't ruin your reputation by negative association. Monitor the backlinks you have and disavow bad ones to make it clear you do not endorse them.
Don't try to cheat Google. Even professionals with certifications or IT degrees and/or SEO training cannot predict what Google will change next. Play by the rules of online marketing and watch your practice grow.
Clean On-site SEO
There are two types of SEO: on-site and off-site. Off-site SEO includes things like links and having great descriptions in the meta section of a Google result. If your off-site SEO is good, you can usually get decent rankings. But the content on your page needs to be optimized as well.
Behind the scenes, there's HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) that controls how your site is laid out visually to the end user (humans). But Google's algorithms also need to understand how your site works via software. So make sure you have a programmer who understands proper formatting for SEO.
When it comes to online marketing, it can seem confusing at first. However, it doesn't have to be. If you want your medical practice to thrive, it is possible. But you need to use the tips above so you rank higher and can be found by the right patients. That way your practice will grow in the way you envisioned it in the first place.
Gettysburg web design agency, Crawford Designs, LLC has been serving customers in the area for over 12 years. We are a local digital agency with local values and are committed to the highest levels of service and business quality.
My name is Jill Crawford, and I decided to start Crawford Designs, LLC because I had previously been in the printing industry for 15 years, and with the trend towards digital marketing services, I quickly appreciated that there was a huge level of demand for website design services.
I made the leap to becoming a digital media agency, though I have retained my connections with the traditional media sector as my customers need both print and digital design and marketing support. By bridging the gap between the two, we are able to create marketing materials that our customers can use online and in the real world.
Gettysburg Web Design Client Profile
My ideal client is a small to medium-sized business, based in the area up to 60 miles from Gettysburg PA, and is looking to work with a dedicated web design professional who will collaborate and learn your business from the ground up.
In particular, I am looking for clients who understand that there website is a crucial element in their brand and company positioning, and who also understands that how their customers view them is more important than how a business views itself. Your company brand lives in the mind of your customer, so my job is to get inside their heads as much as yours!
The most satisfying aspect of client work is when an initial engagement or website development project turns into a relationship based on trust and value.
What Other Services Do We Offer
In addition to being one of the leading website design firms in Gettysburg, I draw upon my background in the print and media industry to deliver video marketing and print design services.
Video marketing is extremely powerful as a branding and conversion tool to help you generate leads and prospects, not only from your website, but also from the full range of your digital footprint. Explainer videos are very popular, not least because they work so effectively, and while a picture may say a thousand words, a brief video on your business or product and service offering will rapidly move your target audience through to being a good prospect and a hot lead.
Our video service starts from just $97 with no payment or upfront commitment, offering superb business value which cannot be beaten in the Gettysburg PA area.
Our print media services encompasses the full spectrum of marketing and business collateral, including Annual Reports, leave-behinds and slicks, direct mail and holiday cards, letterheads and mouse mats, and other promotional items.
If you have a need, please call or email us with your query and we will quickly provide you with an estimate and consultation.
We also offer specialist digital marketing services, such as SEO (search engine optimization) and PPC (pay-per-click using Google AdWords or Bing Ads) through our trusted partner, Wellspring Search.
Contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation for your next web design project:
Crawford Designs, LLC
50 Seymore Road
Gettysburg PA 17325
web. video. print.