A website is often the first interaction businesses have with their potential clients and where you'll direct all of your additional online marketing efforts. For that reason, it's important to make sure that you offer an impressive, unforgettable, first impression. The right web presence will work for you 24/7, rain or shine, marketing to and educating your current and potential clients.
When it comes to business website design, to ensure that you end up with a successful web presence that your target audience will appreciate, here's what you need to consider.
1. Anyone Can Build a Website
"First impressions matter, many of those happen online."
If you’re a small business owner today, your website should be the most important part of your marketing, a pivotal component in the brand recognition of your business. Since this is the case, don't just throw up any free template website in an effort to save money. This would be a huge mistake. If you need to cut corners, find another way to do it. Unless you have programming and design skills already, hire a professional who can build a website that professionally represents your business – no one want to hire someone that presents themselves as an amateur.
2. Responsive Website Design
"People search and surf more on mobile devices than laptops or desktops."
This type of website development is crucial today as it ensures that your prospects and clients can easily navigate your website from any device. Whether consumers are using their desktop computers, smartphones or tablets, it's important that your website is "responsive" to all mediums. (more on responsive web design)
A website that improperly renders on smaller screens makes it impossible to navigate which can result in a loss of revenue. When you consider the number of people, of all ages, using smartphones and tablets today, small businesses can't afford to ignore responsive website design. Having one responsive website saves you the time and money of building multiple versions and mobile apps.
3. Keep the End User in Mind
"Use analytics to review user behavior to better optimize your website."
Websites that aren't easy to navigate, are too flashy or clutters (distracting from your key message), are ineffective. If this describes yours, it probably needs to be redesigned, this time around keeping your target audience in mind. Put together a list of important considerations based on your clients and potential clients making sure that it includes easy navigation, fill it with useful information (using a branded blog, easy contact points, etc.). Last but not least, make sure that it will be visually appealing to your sphere.
Whitespace is an essential building block for superior website designs these days and it's one of the first things designers are taught. Having said that, some website owners waste the available space, room that could be better used to promote their services and/or products. It's a fundamental website design best practice because it improves comprehension, legibility, tone and attention.
4. Don't Forget About Call to Actions (CTA)
"Your phone number and contact details should be on every page."
We’ll all want visitors to take action when they land on our websites which is where "call to action" site design aspects come into play (via forms, banners, buttons, etc.). These design aspects draw a visitor’s attention whether your goal is to have them pick up the phone or fill out a form. Your website designer will know how make the primary call to action aspects of the site stand out.
5. Original, Well Written, Engaging Content
"Develop a content marketing plan that includes on-going content creation."
It is essential that any content on your website is unique and well written. In addition, it needs to be relevant information that your target audience might be looking for, anticipating their questions and answering them. Having said that, don’t simply present information, make certain the information you're providing is engaging and helps boost your credibility.
Pair your content with high quality visuals and give your visitors a perceptible idea of what you have to offer. Additional considerations include catchy headlines, short paragraphs, easy to read fonts, and colors and avoid any loud background images or colors. Avoid these 7 common content marketing mistakes.
6. Organic SEO
"Ranking is determined by both onsite and offsite factors"
Search engine optimization (SEO) is another important aspect of successful small (and large) business websites. It's important to have each pages sprinkled with relevant keywords without over doing it. Good quality incoming links, also referred to as back links, are important as well. Both website optimization steps can result in improved page rankings which will generate more targeted traffic and eventually increased conversion rates.
7. Present a Relevant Brand
"Keep branding consistent across all mediums"
It’s important for businesses to present a relevant brand online, one that their customers and prospects can make a visual connection with. Good branding perpetuates the connection between a product and its reputation, builds a sense of familiarity and trust, invaluable assets for any company.
These simple design tips can mean the difference between a potential customer and a dissatisfied visitor. At the end of the day you're not building a new website for you, at least not entirely, but rather your potential clients, so make sure that they benefit from the best experience possible when they visit your new or improved website.