Where are you on web design? Trying to stay afloat in the competitive world of local small businesses in today’s entrepreneurial climate can be both challenging and incredibly rewarding.
So, what makes you so special? How do you stand out from your competition?
There are countless ways to make sure your “open” sign shines brighter than the figurative “store next door” and today we will be talking about one of the most important elements, web design.
With millennials carrying the majority of the buying power in today’s market, it’s important you connect with your audience on their level. The fact of the matter is, more and more people are identifying as “anti-social” and would strongly prefer to make their purchasing decisions online.
Can you be found online? What kind of presence do you have? Are you proud of it? Most importantly, would your potential customers be proud of it?
Keep reading, because we are going to talk about how you stack up against your competition when it comes to pushing your product or service to the masses, and you may be surprised to find where you land on the list of “hot or not”.
This may sound absolutely mad to some of you reading this, however to others, it sounds perfectly sane. There are still some businesses operating today that don’t have an online presence, let alone a website, let even further alone a well-designed website.
If you happen to be one of the readers that fit into the latter – WAKE UP! We are nearing 2020 and you still don’t have a company website?
How do you expect to keep up with the competition? And no…having a Facebook page does not constitute a website.
Your business needs a website that tells a story, informs the reader about your industry, product, or service, as well as functions well and looks great.
There are plenty of options for creating your own website available, most of which are incredibly affordable and easy to use. Unfortunately, unless you went to school for design and development or have spent countless hours on YouTube watching stuffy tutorial videos, this solution may not always meet the criteria outlined above.
Of course, you always have the option of hiring a web design company with the chops for the job. This takes a lot of the burden off of you, the business owner, and allows you to enjoy a well-polished end product without the hassle of having to learn the ins and outs of the practice.
So you have a website..good job!
But, hold up. Does it meet the latest and greatest design and coding standards and practices?
The game of web design and development is an ever-changing thing, and it’s a fulltime job just to stay on top of the current trends and standards.
Having a poorly coded website can spell big trouble for small businesses. You’ve heard the expression “Lipstick on a pig”, and that rings true in this situation. You can have a beautifully designed website but if the code is a mess than web authorities such as Google will see behind the curtains and avoid your website at all costs – along with the traffic that they may have sent your way.
It’s hard enough as is to stand out from the crowd so don’t do yourself an injustice by cutting corners in the coding standards of your website resulting in poor search engine rankings.
If at this point you are still trying to grit your teeth and bear the burden of small business web design on your own, give this article a read to brush up on the modern coding standards.
Now, let’s talk about the opposite of the scenario above. You have a website which has been coded to standards that Google would reward you for…but it’s ugly as sh*t.
The design is just as important as the code. You want a sleek, attractive, and easy to use website that will attract the masses. You either have an eye for it, or you don’t.
There are some bare necessities when it comes to design;
Beyond that, it tends to be preference. Some people like loud, flashy, fun websites while others relate more to sleek, stylish, and mature (not that kind of mature, nasty) looking sites.
Take a look at what your competitors are doing. Take notes from other websites outside of your industry that you like. The bottom line is, get inspired.
Have you ever purchased a new book, excited to get home and read the story only to crack the cover and see that there are no pages?
Of course not! Because it would be a waste of money to publish a book without any content inside. This also applies to your small business website as well.
The goal of the game is to be able to educate your visitors and potential clients on your product, service, or industry thus making you the expert in your industry. You want to be a resource of knowledge so that people continue to return to your website in the future, ideally resulting in more conversions.
Give away the secret sauce. There is no harm in telling people how to do whatever it is that you do – chances are they won’t have the time or the patience and will return to the source of information from which they started their journey. You.
Be sure to map out the pages and content of your website prior to the design phase. You want to know what you are designing for. Having a wealth of quality, informative content on your website can make the difference between success and failure.
If you aren’t a writer, have no fear – there are content solutions for people with a pathetic pen game.
Ok, so you’re still with me. By now, you have either decided to contact Visibly Connected to get the website of your small business dreams, or you are dead set on crafting this masterpiece on your own. Bravo!
You nailed down the design, you are confident with your code, you have written content for the ages, but for some reason, your phones aren’t ringing. This could be for one of the most overlooked aspects of a small business website. Calls-to-Action!
You have the visitor…excuse me, potential client, on your website, so why are you not trying to sell them? Business owners tend to have a hard time asking for the sale, and this holds true online as well.
There is nothing wrong with asking for business. In fact, it’s encouraged. Sometimes people need you to hold their hand and guide them where to go. If your goal is to convert web visitors into customers by having them add a product to their shopping cart, or fill out a form and become a lead…just ask them to do it!
Having creative and fun calls-to-action can help lead your website visitor down the path to becoming a customer who champions your brand. Just don’t forget the Top 5 Questions Visitors Want Your Website to Answer Before They Convert.
Designing a small business website can be fun and profitable, however, this isn’t the Field of Dreams – if you build it, they won’t come.
You must take the necessary steps to help drive traffic to this nice, shiny, new website that you have created. This can be as simple
as handing out business cards with your website address on it at networking events or as complex as running multiple ad campaigns on multiple platforms with different objectives in mind.
Whichever you choose, just remember to always analyze your traffic and make adjustments as needed to give your audience the most desirable experience possible.