There’s no getting around it anymore, if you are a small business, you need a website. Something half-hearted and hastily thrown together on a budget web builder won’t cut it. You need a sleek, professional site to impress your audience and demonstrate that your business is legitimate. Here are our 10 best web design tips for small businesses.
Display a clear description of your business
Hopefully, a quick look at your site or your offering should make it obvious what your business does, but that’s not always the case. Even if it is obvious, it’s helpful to plainly state who you are, what it is you do, and what makes your small business so special. On the home page, this could be your tagline with a brief summary, and then you can make use of a separate ‘About Us’ page to tell the story or history of your brand and the people behind it.
Contact details need to be easily visible
One web design tip that is arguably even more important for small businesses than it is for big brands is that you need to make it easy for your customers to contact you. This could mean you have your contact email address appearing in the header or footer of every page, or a specific ‘Contact Us’ page, with an email address, phone number and address, and/or a contact form. You need to make it look like you want your customers to get in touch so that they know there is a real presence behind the brand.
Optimize your website for search engines
Your small business likely doesn’t have the advertising budget of a big brand, so it’s essential that your site appears high on the SERP (search engine results page). It doesn’t matter how great you make your site look if no one ever sees it, so to make your site visible, you need to make sure your website is SEO ready. With good SEO, Google should be able to find your site easily, meaning each page should be optimised for the key search terms surrounding your services and products. To further increase your visibility, you should start a blog. Not only does this give you plenty of SEO-boosting opportunities but also lets you show off your expertise and industry know-how.
Make sure your site has a quick load time
Make it mobile-friendly
One essential web design tip for small businesses is to make your site mobile-friendly. More than half of all internet traffic is now coming from mobile users, so if your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you could be turning away 50% of your audience. This means more than just having a portrait version of your site to accommodate the screen shape. You will also need to use a mobile-responsive theme or template, change the size and placement of buttons, space out your links, possibly change your font and avoid the use of Flash. For a more detailed breakdown, you can view our blog on usability in e-commerce design here.
Products and services should be showcased well
As well as clearly displaying who you are and what you do as a business, you need to make sure that you shine a spotlight on the products and services you sell, by using high-quality images with multiple angles where possible, detailed descriptions and technical specifications where necessary. Give each product its own page, so that you can optimise the content and provider the user with a cleaner experience.
Create an engaging website user interface
Try and put yourself in your user’s shoes when designing your site’s UI. One of the main points of frustration with bad websites is poor navigation, so make sure that your site is intuitive and easy to navigate, with a logical path to reach each page without unnecessary stops along the way. To stop your pages from looking too cluttered, try using collapsible menus that can be summoned only when needed.
Design should be simple, unique, and clutter-free
No doubt your small business is a labour of love, and you might have a load of ideas that you want to include in your site’s design, but the more you try to squeeze in, the more cluttered the site will be, and the less likely the different elements will work harmoniously. Your site design should be unique to your brand but try to strip everything back and keep it simple and easy to navigate, giving each element room to breathe.
Make text easy to read and accessible
This one should be obvious, but you need to make sure people can read the content on your site easily, not just when squinting or in the right light. Go for high contrast when choosing your text and background colours, and don’t waste time with a font that’s difficult to read just because it looks fancy. It also helps to break up your text into small paragraphs rather than huge blocks of text, which can be off-putting to users before they’ve even read a word.
Branding should be professional
Our final web design tip for small businesses is to make sure your branding is well represented across your site. Your logos, font, colour scheme and tone all need to be in line with your brand and consistent across your site, as well as on any social media channels or printed content that you use. It’s worth designing multiple logos for different formats too so that you have a version of your logo that can slip into your design, whatever space you have available.
Even though small businesses have smaller budgets than bigger brands, a professional website doesn’t have to cost the earth and can put you right alongside your competitors in the digital space. If you follow these web design tips, your small business’s site can have a big impact.