If your business is lacking a website, then you are lacking one more chance to find new customers and earn more revenue. In today’s constantly-connected world, every business needs to have a web presence that is easy to find and makes customer’s visits worthwhile.
But do you know what makes a good business website?
Many people know a good website when they see one, but sometimes they can’t quite place their finger on why. Website Design for Small Businesses can be tough, and even if you choose not to create your site on your own, you should know the things that all great business websites have in common.
The most important thing your business website needs to be is functional. You want every space to have a purpose and everything to work every time a visitor clicks on a link or reads one of you posts. Nothing will ruin a user’s experience faster than a malfunctioning site that lags or is riddled with missing pages.
This is where the technical knowledge of website design comes in. If you’re going to outsource the website creation, then make sure the company has an impeccable record and great reviews. When a company designs your page, they will use computer code that outlines the general workings of the site. If this code is not the best, then you will have problems almost immediately. If you design the site yourself, use a template from WordPress or other site that allows you to manipulate the code easily.
Also, choose a hosting company that is reliable. Even if you have a great design, slow hosting or hosting that is always down will cost you time and money trying to fix.
Easy to Navigate
You want your customers to be able to visit your site and find exactly what they are looking for as quickly as possible. Having customers stay on your page for a long period of time is a good thing, but not because they become frustrated with getting the answers they are looking for.
You website should have a logical flow that leads the customer to where they want to go. The best way to do this is to have each category on your site clearly marked at the top, like About Us, Contact Us and Services and Products. Make these links standout with great design, not with uncharacteristic fonts or colors that may annoy you customers.
As with many things in life, less is more when it comes to great web design. Don’t have thirty different panels on a page that compete for the user’s attention. Choose a sleek, intuitive design and your customers will thank you.
Space for New, Original Content
New, relevant and original content is the way to get customers to stay on your page for extended amounts of time. Just as with a brick-and-mortar store, the longer they linger on your page, the more likely they are to make an extra purchase.
Your website shouldn’t just list your products and services…it should also share stories and give customers insight into your company and your brand. If you are an architect, write posts about the history of the subject or share photos of your favorite buildings from around the world. If you sell sporting equipment, post about various adventures or stories of athletes overcoming adversity.
By sharing different aspects of your business that people may not think about, you offer your customers interesting information that will make them remember your site. They may even begin to check back for more posts, which could result in more sales.
Make it Engaging
If you provide great content and great web design, then your customers should be happy to visit your site. Now, give them a voice.
Allow your customers to engage with you and your business on both personal and professional levels by encouraging them to respond to posts, write product reviews and share their own relevant stories. This will build a sense of community with your customers in which they will feel a more personal relationship with your brand.
You can also use your customer engagement to mine data and find ways to improve aspects of your site and your business. If a lot of people are concerned about the same thing, you can change it; if a lot of people like something, then you can build upon it.
Whether you or someone else designs your business website, make sure that these elements are included to get the most out of it.
Derek Brown is the Managing Director of Pronto Marketing, a provider of outsourced website design and Internet marketing services to small businesses around the world. Previously, Derek was the Director of Marketing Communications for the Mobile Devices Division at Microsoft Corp. and oversaw all marketing disciplines including advertising, branding, Internet marketing and public relations on global efforts.