You don’t need a big budget to create a great looking website that works hard for your business. What you absolutely do need is a website ‘designed for success’. What does that mean for small businesses and new start-ups?
It pivots on creating a website that’s attractive, but also highly functional and effective. Those last two attributes get overlooked, especially if you play around with a template. You end up with a fabulous layout that fails miserably in attracting traffic, holding customer attention and getting sales!
If you want a good looking website that also grows your business, here are the five most effective design tips for SME websites.
1.Make it responsive
This is top of the list as sadly it’s the aspect of website design most poorly served by ‘off the shelf’ solutions. It’s no good if your website only looks amazing when it’s viewed on a computer, and with certain browsers!
Getting your website design right means ‘optimising it’ for any device and browser.
Over 50% (and growing) of your potential customers go online using their mobile phone.
Yet many websites perform poorly on small screens, including becoming difficult to see and tricky to navigate. Pretty disastrous in terms of generating sales then!
You don’t need more than one website. You simply need a responsive website design that changes its layout according to how it is being viewed.
2.Less can be more
When investing your crucial cash on a website, the tendency is to pack in as much as possible. A website designer’s toolbox is vast these days, with a plethora of bolt-ons, features and multi-media magic!
Before you get carried away putting in dense blocks of text, scrolling images, splash pages, pop-ups, Flash and all the whistles and bells, stop!
The best website designs are quick to load, easy on the eye, intuitive to navigate around and get to the point. Use website design tools by all means, but in moderation and in the correct forms and places.
3.Content is crucial
The above tip on website design for small businesses links with this one. To be successful online, you need strong content to command attention, not flowery effects and features.
Content is the images and text you use to populate your website design. It must be fresh, concise, relevant and packed with the sorts of words and phrases customers would use to search for your products and services (more on that later).
Your website design also needs to make it easy to update content regularly with new blogs, news, added value statements and links to social media posts, for example.
This serves two important functions. Website visitors have something of genuine interest and value to see, making them more inclined to linger and progress to a transaction. This is called good User Experience (UX). Secondly, it helps with your SEO (see below).
4.Compelling USPs and calls to action
Another important step towards great website design for small businesses is to make certain parts of your content ‘unmissable’.
The twin essentials are unique selling propositions (or brand statements) that make your product or service stand out; and secondly, wording and website features that guide visitors to a measurable action such as buying, enquiring or registering.
It’s shocking how many SME websites hide contact details on one page, towards the end of tabs!
What does Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) mean for small businesses?
Your website needs to be created (and updated) to make it easy to find on Google (the dominant search engine). When potential customers search for relevant products, with various terms of reference, your website should appear as high as possible in the results (page rankings). Preferably at the top, and certainly on page one!
Getting technical on website design
Many of the things that contribute to a successful small business website are built-in from day one. This can be very tricky to achieve if you’re not an expert, particularly if you rely on commercial website templates. To gain a full understanding, try approaching some digital agencies for advice and help.