Are you new to small business website design? Do you own a small business and are just not sure how to start or where to go? You. Are. Not. Alone. At 3 Page Plus, we have been involved in small business website design since the 1990’s. So yeah…we’ve learned a thing or two over the years.
And we’d like to share some words of wisdom with you so YOUR small business can have the most effective website possible without spending more money than you should. After all…don’t you deserve it?
And away we go.
Small Business Website Design Tips
- Don’t always fall for the bells and whistles: Bells and whistles are nice…but do they help you get your message across? When Flash first came out in the late 1990’s, everyone…and I mean everyone…decided their website had to have Flash somewhere. It didn’t matter that most of the users were still on dial up and the Flash files could be large. It didn’t matter that it actually hindered people from quickly reading the content on your website. It didn’t matter that so many of the Flash animations were crudely put together. “We have to have Flash dangit”!
Now that Flash is mostly history (yay!), there are other simple ways to get animation on your site. Again ask yourself in every single case…does this help the user? Is this necessary or am I just doing it cause it’s cool? Everything on your website should have a purpose and sometimes animation can indeed add to the site. But use it sparingly. At the end of the day, your site visitors just want to read what you have to say.
- Limit the number of website pages: The goals of your small business website design is simple: either make a sale or entice someone to contact you (whether that is directly or thru an email subscription signup.) Every single page on your website needs to be geared toward those goals. So while it may be important to you to have a bio and a picture of every member of your team on your small business website, will it help you make that sale or is it just superfluous info that is there for your own ego?
The average website visit only lasts between 2-3 minutes. Your job is to make every one of those seconds count.
- Make your home page rock…especially above the fold: Over 90% of your website visitors will see the home page first. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO TELL THEM? WHAT DO YOU WANT THEM TO SEE? (Sorry I’m yelling.) Studies show that in less time it takes to blink, people make aesthetic judgments that influence the rest of their experience with a website (and therefore with the company behind the website). Once a visitor comes to your small business website, your main focus must be on encouraging exploration and leading them down a path which helps you reach your online goals. Users’ attention is a finite resource and it is your job to help them find what they want as efficiently as possible.
What does this mean? It means what people see when they get to your home page and before they start scrolling (if they do) better be great. The design should be professional. The layout should be clean. The messaging should be spot on. Because if it’s not, they’ll go to your competitors website. So don’t throw a bunch of stuff at them. Find your main message and make it crystal clear what you do and how it can benefit your potential customer.
- Include a “call to action” on every single page: What’s a call to action? It’s something you want your site visitor to do. It could be to sign up for your email list. It could be to simply contact you. Or it could be to order a product or service from you. Before building one page of your small business website, make sure you know exactly what you want your customer to do and make it easy for them to do it.
How do you do this? Put an email subscription form on the sidebar of every page. Or place a callout box above the footer of every page, so that when they are done reading your wonderful content, the call to action is right there. No matter the position, style it well so it stands out and makes it EASY on the user. There’s that “easy” word again. Yep…that’s what it’s all about.
- Make sure it’s mobile friendly: I know this should be an obvious one now. I mean it is 2019. But I’m shocked at how many small business websites I visit that still look awful on mobile. There is simply no excuse for it anymore. Especially since Google places mobile-friendly websites higher than those that are not mobile-friendly (on mobile search).
So how do you make sure it’s mobile-friendly. It depends on website platform you are using, or if you are using a platform at all. The site can either be created so it’s responsive or adaptive. They both work differently but the outcome is the same: A small business website that looks awesome on mobile.
Ok…so there you have it. 5 rules to follow for small business website design. Building your own website? Please follow these guidelines so you don’t waste time and money creating an ineffective website. Need some assistance building your website? That is what we are here for. See our process here.
Until next time.