Your Business’s Website Design Is More Important Than You Think
If you’re a small business owner in any industry, having a website that attracts and engages your current and potential customers should be a top priority. But what’s the best route to take, and are there any rules of thumb you should keep in mind? This article covers a few best practices for business website design, with a goal of helping your online presence make a difference in your bottom line.
What to consider when designing a business website?
Who are you, and what are you doing here?
Before you can really design the appearance and functionality of your website, you must define the identity and values of your brand and what you do. Once you’ve nailed that down, you need to make sure that the content and design of the site are consistent with who you are and helps convey the story of your brand. Determining your business identity can provide you with a road map going forward.
The domain name - short and sweet is best
If you think about some of the major global websites like Google or Amazon, the name of the company and the domain name are short, simple, and put the brand first. When purchasing a domain name, make sure you find one that is short, appealing, pulls viewers in and makes them want to check it out. If a hosting service requires you to pay a fee to have a .com at the end, you should seriously consider paying it, as it can directly affect how professional your site looks.
What are your hosting needs?
When deciding what type of web hosting package to sign up for you need to give some thought to the type of site you expect yours to be. Will you need extra bandwidth to keep up with a high amount of traffic? Is shared hosting enough or do you think you’d prefer a virtual private server to handle your traffic? Do you want to run an Ecommerce site with an online store where you can sell your products directly? How important is an uptime guarantee? All of these are powerful considerations to make when deciding which package to sign up for and for how long. Being that things may change down the road, you should consider a hosting package that is flexible and scalable if circumstances call for it.
What are your competitors doing and can you do it better?
Obviously you want to present a unique product that really captures your voice, but it's important to also see what the competition is doing, and how you can top them. Do they have a hard to navigate site? No online store? Annoying pop-up ads and videos? See where they strengths and weaknesses are, and act accordingly.
Do you want to have an online store on your site?
Decide If you’d like your company website to be not only a way to promote your business and perform customer outreach but also to sell your products directly. Since most web hosting companies offer ecommerce packages, if you do decide to run an online store this should affect which service plan you go with.
What are the requirements of a business website?
This should go without saying these days, but if your site doesn’t have a mobile version or doesn’t run properly and look great on a mobile device, you’re going to lose visitors and customers at a pretty fast clip.
- Great content
Design is very important, but you need to make sure that your content still conveys who you are and improves the user experience of your site. Great content can keep users on your website longer, keep them coming back, and increase your conversion rate.
Lean and clean
If your site loads slow and then bombards readers with ads and pop ups once they land, there’s a good chance they won’t return. Think of your website as an experience for the visitor. While ad revenue is important, you need to put yourself in the visitor’s shoes and make sure that your site has design that loads fast and is clean, attractive, and easy on the eyes.
If you’re running a business website - especially one with an online store - you need to ensure that your data and that of your customers is kept secure from hackers and data breaches. Online threats are legion and new ones are always popping up, make sure you’re prepared.
SEO and analytics
All the best content and design in the world won’t matter much if people can’t find your site. Make sure your site is optimized for search engines to increase traffic and enable some sort of comprehensive analytics so you can monitor your traffic, where its coming from, what’s working and what isn’t, and react accordingly.
Your details are key
There isn’t too much sense making a website to showcase your company, if people aren’t able to reach out. Make sure that your company details are easy to find and prominently displayed, if not on a “Contact” or “About” page, then somewhere on the homepage or on the bottom of the site. Make sure to have your company phone number, address, and email, and consider also an online form for sending messages.
Call to action
Have a little finesse of course, but a call to action, such as “Click Here for More Information” or “Buy Now” can help steer customers in the right direction and help your conversion rate.
Social media integration
Today it is essential that your site be integrated with social media as much as possible. Set up a Facebook page, Twitter account, and Instagram account and highlight your product, brand, and message across all platforms, with your website linked to all. You should also consider setting up a Facebook store where you can sell your products directly to customers using the world’s largest social media site.
What are the different types of business website designs?
Business website designs tend to correspond to the type of business. If you are running a small food service business, you want a template made for a small eatery, with well-placed, beautiful pictures highlighting your food, as well as your food cart or storefront. You’ll also want to be dynamic and clearly highlight your promotions and events, and how to find them.
For a retail company, say, a small fashion house, you’ll want a template that can really highlight the clothes with rich, large photos. You’ll want to be able to put your product front and center, and pick a template and theme that truly highlights your creativity.
With these sorts of sites, you’ll want to determine if you’d like to sell products directly off the site, in which case you’ll need to go with an Ecommerce platform.
There are also more staid business website designs, for companies like a law firm or a consulting agency. These will have more of a focus on their content and should stress a clean, professional appearance that doesn’t bog viewers down with ads or unnecessary graphics.
It’s hard to understate the significance your theme plays in the overall success of your website. Your theme—or template—sets the tone of your website and leaves an instant impression on your visitors before they even read a word. Your theme’s color scheme should match your logo, and its overall design should be appropriate for your line of work.
Fortunately, many builders offer extensive galleries of business website templates sorted into categories based on industry type, making it easy to choose the best one for you.
Best Bets for Ecommerce Website Design
If you’re trying to sell anything on your website, it’s of the utmost importance that your products and services are showcased at their absolute best. For all physical merchandise, photos can make all the difference. Consider hiring a professional photographer rather than just snapping shots with your smartphone. Other important elements to consider as far as Ecommerce website designing is concerned include clear calls to action and easily accessible “Buy Now” buttons.
Now that you have a better idea as to what your business website should look like, why not check out some of the best design-friendly website builders?