It is critical to overcome the following misconception: “It is impossible for a small business to look BIG online”. Simply being a small business does not mean that the expectations for a quality web design should be lowered – it’s quite the opposite. When designing your website, it should do the following:
- Catches the visitor’s attention (which keeps them from leaving your website.)
- Immediately tells your audience what your business offers.
- Instantly increase your brands trust and authority.
- Motivate visitors to take action – (signing up on a form, purchasing a product, setting up an appointment, etc.)
Therefore, we are going to go over 9 simple small business web design tips that small businesses will want to integrate in their current online plans. These tips aren’t necessarily groundbreaking; however, if you apply all of them, you will increase your chances of creating an “online sales machine”.
#1 – Invest in Professional Photography
Website visitors can sense generic photos in an instant. Sure, you can get some stock photos at a websites such as Shutterstock or Getty Images; however, if you want your brand to be taken seriously; it is recommended that you hire a professional to take legitimate photos of your business in action. If you cannot afford high quality photography, then it is recommended that you invest in professional stock photography.
#2 – Try To Make Every Page, a Landing Page
Remember this saying: “Websites do not rank, webpages do”. This, of course, is in reference to search engines. As a small business owner, you are initially going be at an unfair disadvantage in terms of your website’s search engine visibility. Therefore, when a visitor does visit your website, you want to motivate them to interact with your business (phone call, sign-up, purchase). Therefore, you want your website to have as many landing pages as possible. Want proof? Websites that have 40+ landing pages receive 12x leads than websites with 5 or less landing pages.
Keep in mind that when a visitor goes to your website, they may not ever see the home page – they may go to a blog post; therefore, it’s essential that your designer optimizes it for conversions.
#3 – Responsive Web Design is Now a Necessity
As of 2014, mobile phones and tablets are now outselling the traditional laptop and personal computer. This means that people are going to be interacting with your website on iPhones, Androids, & iPads. Therefore, it is critical to test your website on different screen sizes to test your websites usability.
Responsinator is one of the best tools on the market to test the responsiveness of your web design. It will give you a fairly accurate view of what your website looks like on the most popular mobile devices.
#4 – Increase Sales with Testing
The user experience manager at Bing that made a shocking statement. Simply testing a shade of blue generated an additional $80 million in revenue! The importance of landing page optimization and testing has never been more relevant.
By utilizing a tool such as the visual website optimizer – you can take out the guesswork, and know for certain what webpage designs work, and which ones do not.
#5 – BE SOCIABLE
Giving your users the ability to share your content is a design must. Social media is often underestimated by business decision makers because it tends to have invisible results. For example, if one person shares your business or blog post – it’s not necessarily going to make a tremendous difference. However, as more people see the posts on their Facebook or Twitter profile – they will begin sharing it – creating a snowball effect. If you have a WordPress blog attached to your website, be sure to install Flare to make social sharing to sites like Facebook and Twitter a breeze!
#6 – Remember to Focus on the Customer
A brochure website is one that tends to brag about your business. It’s always great to have an “About Us”, or “Meet the Team” section in the website; but that’s about where the self-bragging should stop. Many businesses are far too concerned with making themselves seem “big and established” in the eyes of the customer. The best way to overcome this “self-centered” website design style is to focus on answering the following questions:
What is the main problem my customer is looking to solve by visiting my website?
What features are they searching for in a product?
What first step do I want the customer to take with my company?
By answering these questions, and building a website that focuses on enhancing the customer experience – you will witness your website increase its own ability to generate qualified leads.
#7 – How is your Content?
Content is part of the design process, believe it or not. It’s all about user experience, and if you have a blog, you need content that sales. If you become an expert on the customer’s problem and educate them on how they can solve it – your customer base will instantly believe that you have the solution.
Inbound.org will give you a better sense of the kind of content that people find attractive. Use this website as inspiration for both your landing pages and blog posts.
#8 – Did Someone Say Video?
Adding video to your landing page can increase conversions by 80%. One of the best videos that a business owner can add to their home page is an explainer video. These are usually animated and explain to the visitor step-by-step exactly what your business offers. Not only are explainer videos recommended – they are quickly becoming a necessity to maintain the attention of the visitor!
#9 – Add Live Chat to Your Website
There are many case studies of customers who have added a LiveChat box and witnessed an increase in conversion percentage. Many customers will leave your website simply because their questions go unanswered. If a customer initiates a chat with your website using the Live Chat tool – Live chat will notify you via e-mail or phone app notification. Therefore, after your web design is complete – it’s a great idea to consult your web designer to see if this is a viable option for you.