Small business website design doesn’t have to be too complicated. Use these 7 simple steps to design a website that improves your bottom line and converts.
Your website is the digital face of your business and should therefore represent your brand; investing in a functional and aesthetically pleasing website is well worth it in today’s ever-growing digital world.
Embarking on creating a website for your business, whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been operating for some time, can seem overwhelming. However, there are some vital components to designing a great website that you should keep in mind.
First impressions are key. According to Forbes, 38% of users will leave a website if the layout isn’t attractive.
Within 15 minutes, 59 % of people will read/browse through something beautifully designed rather than something that’s bland. Simply put, designing a website that is visually appealing will increase retention rates.
However, looks aren’t everything. We’re in an age of instant satisfaction and time-poor consumers, so website speed is crucial. Nearly 40% of users will stop engaging if the website itself or the images take too long to load i.e. more than 2 seconds! A slow load time will affect your bottom line.
Ease of contact is also is a big one. We live in a world of convenience; if things aren’t at our fingertips then we’re not interested.
64 % of total visitors want to see a company’s contact information on its homepage, not somewhere hidden in the background. Too many clicks is too much effort.
Mobile-friendly matters. 72% of people want mobile-friendly websites; with around half of total e-Commerce revenue coming from mobile platforms. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you’ll be missing out on a huge chunk of potential customers.
Visibility is good for business. If customers can easily find you online, then that’ll boost your bottom line; search engine rankings need to be a focus when designing a website.
Clear messaging that instantly grabs attention is essential. Clear and concise messaging, that delivers your message in an interesting way, will keep visitors engaged. Having long, fluffy content will scare potential customers away; they need to know what you can offer them, by putting minimal effort and thought into the message.
Website design may seem complicated, but there is a formula that you can use to ensure that your website converts. Having a marketing approach combined with a design approach, will make sure that all the key elements of an online marketing strategy are included in your website design.
Use these 7 steps for a small business website design formula that converts:
1. Functionality Before Aesthetics
Many get fooled by website design that looks great, but doesn’t actually function properly. It’s been proven that visually appealing websites engage visitors. But you’ll quickly lose their interest if the functionality of your website is substandard.
More often than not, website designers focus solely on aesthetics, and not on how a website functions. Selling website design based on this aspect alone, with small businesses being none the wiser, is common. However, this leads to disappointment because those types of websites, while they look pretty, just don’t convert.
Having amazing images and pretty colours is only a small part of what a website needs to do. Visitors need to be able to use your website with ease, and find what they’re looking for without too much effort; navigating your website should be a breeze.
Both functionality and aesthetics are important parts of creating a website that converts browsers into customers. However, focusing on the visual aspect alone does not guarantee sales. Having a pretty website will attract attention, but your bounce rates will jump up quickly if users are getting frustrated when browsing your site.
Make sure your website functions properly before you spend your whole design budget on the aesthetics.
If you’re working with a professional web designer when creating your website, make sure you clearly communicate the importance of functionality, rather than allowing them to focus mainly on visuals.
2. Clear Messaging
Your target audience is bombarded with hundreds of messages every day. If you can’t clearly communicate who you are, what you do and how you’ll benefit them, then you most likely won’t grab their attention.
Having long-winded, fluffy content will do you no favours. Once again, consumers are time poor so they won’t spend lots of time reading long copy. If they can’t quickly and easily understand your messaging, then they’ll swiftly move onto the next best thing.
Communicating in a concise way, with enough detail will convey your message in the right way. If your business name or tagline don’t describe exactly what you do, then consider adding a “one liner” for a better explanation.
Clear communication is crucial in today’s saturated digital landscape, so make sure you spend some time on tweaking your messaging; getting it wrong will ultimately cost you sales.
3. Include an Irresistible Offer
Now that you’ve grabbed your visitor’s attention, you need to persuade them that your offer is one that they don’t want to miss. Your brand promise should be so persuasive that they just can’t overlook such a great opportunity; it needs to make them feel like they’d actually lose out if they didn’t take it up.
You want your audience to be so persuaded about what you can provide them, that they have to have it, there and then. Grabbing them at the right time and quickly guiding through the buyer journey will ensure that you’re maximising every opportunity that comes along.
But you need to be careful here, overpromising and under delivering will lead to unhappy customers. Only promise what you can deliver, this manages expectations and avoids disappointment and problems down the track.
If you promise one thing and the customer gets something different, it’s likely that your brand image will be tarnished and their loyalty will be diminished. With all the competition out there, they’ll easily be able to source something similar from another brand that delivers exactly what they’ve promised, as well as what the customer expects.
4. Call to Action
Now that they know your product or service is exactly what they need, you need to tell them what to do next.
Having a compelling call to action directs visitors to act and take that next step; at this point they change from being browsers and becoming customers. Whatever action you want them to take, whether you want the visitor to buy, subscribe etc., the call to action will guide them to act.
Having an ambiguous call to action will only be to your detriment; using strong, direct wording like “shop”, “sign up” etc., encourages the visitor to take a specific action.
These action orientated words direct the customer to their next step of their buyer journey.
Make sure that when they take that next step, they arrive at a place that makes that action easy for them. The last thing that a customer wants to do is to have to go through a tedious buying process; this will put them off very quickly.
Make the next step easy, quick and rewarding; they’ll feel good about their purchase and so will you.
Providing shoppers with different payment options, like PayPal, ensures that you have all bases covered; you can’t afford to lose business at this crucial stage.
5. About Us Page
Small business web design just isn’t complete without an “About Us” section; not having an “About Us” Page is a big mistake.
With an endless amount of information available online, consumers are researching companies and brands more and more these days, prior to making a purchase.
If a consumer isn’t able to find out about your business, what your values are and why you exist, they may not stick around.
Consumers are becoming more focused on where their products are coming from, how they’re made, and what businesses stand for. Ethics within business practices is becoming more prevalent, as consumers around the world become more conscious shoppers.
Tell your story and let your customers know who you are; it’ll add a personal touch to your digital presence.
6. Contact Details
Having your contact details on your homepage is good practice. A large percentage of website users prefer to have the contact details front and centre; make it as easy as possible for potential and existing customers to get in touch with you.
Having your contact details on the homepage that leads to a “Contact Us” page with just one click, enables customers to easily engage with your business. Isn’t that exactly what you want?
If contact details aren’t visible on the homepage, customers will put it into the “too hard basket” category and swiftly move on. This is a simple way to make the purchasing experience more convenient for your customers.
Don’t forget to include your social media contact details too; telephone and email is not enough when it comes to customer contact. Giving your customers several avenues to contact you will make them feel more valued.
If they’re able to contact you on social media 24/7, it builds a more personal relationship. If they receive a personalised, rather than a generic response, it makes them feel special.
Don’t include contact details if you know they won’t get a response from them. If you have limited resources, then only include the details that you know that they’re guaranteed to get a response from.
There’s nothing more frustrating than sending a query to a business and not getting a response. This doesn’t look good; and they’re likely to complain to their friends or family about it.
7. Add Value
Don’t just sell your products or services, add value to your potential and existing customers. Include content about your industry or product/service that solves a problem.
“How to” articles and videos are a great way to get visitors to your site, as well as getting them engaged. If you can solve a problem for them, you’ll build their trust and they’ll view you as a subject matter expert; your brand authority will rapidly increase.
A blog is a great way provide a value add to your proposition; it also helps with search engine optimisation by driving traffic to your website.
If you deliver valuable content, that’s an add-on, your customers will keep coming back. If they know that their problems can be solved by you, their trusted advisor, you’ll be top of mind the next time they need to purchase a product or service.
Purely selling is now a thing of the past, consumers are looking for added value from brands that they can trust. Become a thought leader in your industry by adding valuable content to your website; it will eventually pay off.
Small business website design doesn’t have to be complicated. Follow these 7 steps to ensure that you include the necessary components into your website design in order to maximise your selling potential.
Your website can take your business to the next level, if it’s done right. So, invest sufficient resources into its design to ensure that you’re putting your best foot forward online.
Your website should be a digital extension of your business, and fit seamlessly into your overall brand image. Giving your customers the same feeling that they would get if they walked into your office, is a great way of extending your business operations into a digital space.
Make sure that you extend your brand image to your website by incorporating your brand associated colour palette, any visuals that are brand specific and of course your logo.
Whether you decide to go it alone, or engage with a web design professional, use this formula to create a website that converts; increase those sales and your bottom line at the same time.