Having a website for your small business is essential but whether you DIY or hire a professional digital web design company, it’s a wasted effort if it’s not done right. Small businesses have different needs than big corporations, and your unique demands should be reflected in the design format and functionality of your site. Before you start executing “Website 2.0”, take a minute to learn a few important things about designing websites for small businesses.
Your website is often the first stop before consumers shop.
Even if you’re a small business that relies solely on your local community like West Chester or Downingtown, PA, many of your potential customers will still visit your website first. Today’s consumers are mobile and likely to seek more information about your products or services through your website, reviews and social media before visiting your brick and mortar. If your site is not fully functional, it could deter an interested individual from taking the leap to actual customer.
Content management systems aren’t one size fits all.
The size of your business, what you sell, and your future goals should all be regarded when selecting a content management system (CMS). There are simple options like Squarespace, which have limited capabilities but can get you a few visually pleasing pages. Those looking for something more than basic should hire a designer to set up their initial design using a system like WordPress. With this CMS, your web designer can create a site with all the features you want that will also be easy enough for you to manage and update on your own. Getting the hang of WordPress takes very little time, and the system has tons of benefits such as SEO capabilities and quick loading time. Whether you keep it simple or take it to the next level, figure out the best method for designing and maintaining your small business’ website before settling on a system that won’t deliver what you want.
SEO is the best investment you can make on your website.
From interactive video content to a live chat popup, there are endless ways you can enhance your website to be more effective and user-friendly. While many of these features can provide great benefit to your business, many are expensive to set up and even more costly to maintain. Search Engine Optimization is the one investment you can make that will almost always guarantee a return and is affordable to implement. SEO or search engine optimization refers to the process of developing a website so that it ranks on the first page of search engines for keywords that your target demographic are searching to find your product or service. Without this placement, it is likely your website won’t be seen by those searching for the services or products you offer. Still don’t think you need to invest in SEO? Take a look at some of these mind-blowing statistics.
Your website should have a clear call to action.
Your website shouldn’t be a dead end. It should include a clear call to action ensuring a visitor becomes a lead. There are a variety of call to actions and which is best for your website depends on your business. For example, an interior designer might offer a free consultation to new clients while a jewelry store could extend a 15% discount on new purchases.
Being mobile friendly is the most important design element.
Guarantee your site is seen by all visitors by developing a mobile-friendly or responsive website. A responsive design format will ensure your website is easy to read — no matter what type of device it’s viewed on. Today mobile browsing exceeds desktop usage so having a site that only functions on a standard sized screen will seriously hurt your sales.
*contributed by Dan Scalco