As a small business, your website is actually one of your biggest assets. It is, in essence, your ambassador to the rest of the world. This is even more true if you have an e-commerce website, or if your business is in an industry that works in national and/or global markets, or even if you’re just plain looking to grow. Having a website that presents you in your best light is an absolute must, because more often than not, a potential customer will check out your website prior to doing business with you.
Your small business website design must make an unforgettable first impression. In fact, 75% of visitors create an image of a company based on how the website looks. And if visitors like what they see in terms of the design, your business instantly has more chances of being attractive.
At our Lincoln web design company, we focus on thinking big, and that goes for our small business clients too. Below are some easy website design tips for small business owners.
In order to help small business owners accomplish these goals and make their website the best it can be, we put together 5 great tips that they should keep in mind when getting a website design (or redesign), and working with a website designer. These tips aren’t revolutionary, but they are necessary, and they should absolutely be considered by any small business owner planning for a new website design.
People don’t browse using computers as much as they used to decades ago. These days, mobile devices have taken over, meaning you have to make sure that your small business website is mobile-friendly. Responsiveness is the key to mobile-friendliness.
Having a responsive website design or a separate mobile site should be a top priority for all small businesses who haven’t yet implemented these features.
One element that business owners often struggle with is not actually understanding the needs or wants of their customers. They often think they have an idea of who their customers are, but when actual testing is done, it’s not uncommon to find that many business owners don’t truly understand their customers’ motivations.
There’s an exception to that, however. Something we’ve uncovered at our web design firm in Lincoln, is that, interestingly enough, it’s actually small business owners dealing locally in a smaller city or town, who often have an advantage with that aspect.
It makes sense when you think about it, because a lot of their business is done face to face. And if their business is in a smaller area, or if their business has been around for a long time, chances are they’re more in touch with their community and their customers. In fact, in a case like this, it’s not uncommon for many of their customers to be friends.
But not every brand and small business owner has these advantages, and those who work in less of a one-on-one capacity, do business in a larger city, have a larger company in general, are e-commerce based, or who have more of a national or international customer base, or for whatever reason they just don’t have the same grasp on who their customers are – the most important thing all business owners should learn is what motivates your visitors into buying. When you uncover what motivates your visitors into buying, you will be able to successfully turn your leads into loyal customers and lifelong promoters of your brand.
So just remember as you’re working towards the design of your website, you should gear your website towards your customers’ needs, values and motivations and that will keep them coming back again and again.
We often hear this as a gripe for smaller business owners. They don’t think professional photography is necessary. They think a few glossy stock photos or the pictures they took on their phone will work just fine.
Unfortunately that couldn’t be further from the truth. Nothing can make a brand feel more stale than a bunch of stock photos. And making your brand feel stale is definitely something you DON’T want to do.
The photos you took on your phone with you and your staff will work great on Facebook, and perhaps on your blog too, but your main website isn’t the place for them.
On your website, you want to put your best (but real) face on to help build authority and trust in your brand, so we strongly encourage you to invest in a professional photographer, as this will help showcase all the great and unique aspects of your business. That doesn’t mean you can’t have professional photos of you and your staff on your main site either. By all means you should. But let the professional photographer capture you and your company in its best light.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
This may seem like the most obvious thing to do but small business website design companies tend to overlook this factor at times. Your phone number and e-mail address should be displayed prominently on the website and, if possible, at the top and bottom of every page. Create a ‘CONTACT’ page at the end which includes not just the contact numbers but email address, physical address of the company, and a map, along with directions to and hours of operation of your company.
Social media has bridged the communication gap, allowing people to communicate with their loved ones easily. That is especially true if people are in different geographical locations from each other. It creates an opportunity for small businesses to get in on the action as well.
All businesses should make sure they have social media icons, with links to their various pages, shown prominently on their website. When first starting out, attempt to utilise as many social media platforms as you can, and definitely the big ones, like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Youtube, Pinterest and Instagram.
Make sure it’s easy for visitors to share elements of your website, in particular your blog. You’ll want them to share your articles and information as much as possible with their friends and followers. Through time and experimentation, it’s likely you’ll find that a few of these platforms will work better for you than others. That’s normal, and you’ll want to invest the bulk of your social media energy (and budget) into the platforms where your customers are spending the most time.
Social media can be a great thing for small businesses, because it allows you to reach out and connect with customers & clients in a way that was never fully possible before. But nowadays, most social media platforms don’t give you full access to your fans & followers unless you promote or advertise with them. All small businesses should consider this as a must for their marketing efforts and plan accordingly with their budgets.
Whether you’re looking for your first website design, or a redesign of your current website, it’s important to keep these elements in mind, as it will help get you started in the right direction. And if you’re looking for help in the process, give our Lincoln web design agency a call. We love working with small businesses!
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