This baby just created a webpage for his business, and it’s already making a big difference!
Has your business hit a bit of a slump or plateau? When is the last time you took stock of your business’ website design? And no, your business’ Facebook page doesn’t count! Your business’ actual website is the face you show to the online world, and an ever increasing number of customers now discover a business for the first time online. Having the best product or service in your area will only get you so far; if your website is confusing or off-putting, it will send customers away! While beginning from scratch and designing an entire website for your small business can be daunting for many small business owners, there are a few best practices, website design tips that are simple but highly effective, regardless of the type of business you run.
Note: If you are looking for a more advanced guide, skip straight to our lessons on website optimization!
Yes, you need a REAL page!
The most important of all website design tips is to have a webpage! A social media page is not going to cut it. Earned media like Facebook and Twitter is built on someone else’s land. You have “earned” your followers there with all your hard work, but these sites can (and do) change up their algorithms. The owners of these platforms control who sees your posts, when, and how. If they do not like your post or product, they can delete everything in one second. The same is true of paid media like advertisements or sponsored tweets.
Paid and earned media is necessary to supplement a strong digital presence, but your owned media (your actual website) is the only place where you have complete control.
If Facebook disappeared tomorrow, how would people engage with or find your brand? This is why keeping your owned media en pointe is absolutely essential. We recommend creating a website from GoDaddy.com, Wix, WordPress, or SquareSpace.
Basic Website Design Tip: Call to Action
Within seconds of arriving your website, a visitor should know exactly what it is you want them to do. Whether it’s signing up for a mailing list, finding out more information about pricing, or something else entirely, this call to action (CTA) is the clear next step for any visitor.
Consider the main objective of most of your website’s visitors. Is it to find out about when your dance classes are offered (and then sign up)? Is it to shop for t-shirts (and hopefully buy one)? Is it to sign up for future updates? Is it contacting you for a quote?
Make this single action very easy to find from the landing page, above the fold (the portion of the page you see right when the page loads, without scrolling). If the visitor can’t find what he’s looking for, they will just go to the next result on Google. Make it as easy as possible.
Does this mean a visitor has to do the main action you’re suggesting? Of course not. But as long as this action is suggested, he can decide whether or not to do it and then move forward from there. Your CTA is an anchor that orients the visitor to your site and your business.
Basic Website Design Tip: Contact Info
Making the address easy to find, and copy into a map application or website is crucial. Today’s potential customers will look up your company online, then copy the address into their map technology to come to your store. Make this possible!
Style matters too, don’t hide behind an impersonal contact form! Make it easy for a potential (or current) customer to get a hold of you now! If it makes sense for your business, put your direct phone number and/or email address in the header and footer of your site. At the very least, customize the contact form to give it a very personal touch. Studies show online visitors really appreciate seeing a picture of the store’s owner or staff too!
Remember, one thing that separates you from your larger competition is your personality and commitment to your customers!
Basic Website Design Tips: Authority Noted
Depending on your industry and the nature of your company, there are different ways to establish yourself as an authority. But no matter how you do it, this is the best way to convince people to give you their trust (and ultimately their business). Here are some of the most common ways to show a website visitor that you’re a trustworthy authority on your industry:
- Offer a free whitepaper.
- Display testimonials.
- Maintain a thought leader blog.
- Show a video of yourself so visitors can get to know your personality.
- Link to other pillars of the community or industry.
Any of these methods show the visitor that you are passionate and knowledgeable about your field. If you have the time to commit to one, establish a blog where you can share information and keep a finger on the pulse of what’s going on in your community and industry. But the less time-intensive strategies can be just as effective, depending on your business.
Basic Website Design Tips: Make it Obvious
Perhaps the most important is streamlined navigation and a predictable layout. People tend to look for contact information at the top and bottom of the page. They expect menus to be across the top or the sides. They look for words like “About” or “Bio” so a page called “My Deets” might be in line with your brand voice, but in the context of navigation, it’s just confusing.
Test your website on someone who doesn’t know your business well (like a friend’s spouse). Can they find the information they need? Can they complete the necessary CTAs? If not, how can you simplify the process for them?
With these simple tweaks, you can increase your conversion rate and attract more customers – all without breaking the bank! For even more detailed advice on the best website designs and specific example, check out our blog on optimizing your small business’ webpage!