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.