Whatever your line of work, having a professional website that’s easy to navigate is essential in today’s competitive market. A well designed and functioning website can mean the difference between a new, loyal customer or losing a potential sale. If you run a small business and are looking to upgrade an existing website, or launch a new site to highlight your products or services, here’s a few things to keep in mind:
The main goal of most small businesses is to produce sales of products or services. While having a brick and mortar building and some solid clientele is important, word of mouth may help you with local sales, but it won’t help you reach the masses. A solid website can help you reach customers that might not have otherwise have discovered your brand. Here are some best practices when it comes to building or reinventing your website. Consider implementing these yourself or hiring a website designer.
- Make sure you have an easy domain that fits with your brand: When determining your domain, it’s important that it exemplifies your business model and brand. If possible, choose a domain that has the name of your business in it. If that’s already been taken, find a domain name that is an acronym of your business, has the name included in it, or highlights your main product or services offered. When choosing a domain name, keep it short and simple, target your core audience or region, and make sure it aligns with your company’s overall brand.
- Your website should be accessible: The benefit of a website is that customers can access important information 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Adding design functions such as a shopping cart where customers can purchase goods year round or a contact form where they can reach you at all hours of the night not only builds trust, it opens a door for direct contact with potential customers, even if your company is closed for a holiday or they reach you after hours.
- A simple design is key: Don’t underestimate the power of a well designed website. A complicated design can be difficult for customers to navigate. A simple website that answers pertinent questions and is easy for customers to navigate can boost sales, build trust, and bring customers back again. It’s important to integrate functions based on why a customer would come to your website. Are they looking for information about a product or service you sell? If so, make sure to include content that answers those questions. Are they hoping to schedule an in-person meeting or get a call back from a live person? If so, make sure there’s a contact form that allows them to set up a meeting or get a call back within a set amount of time. It’s crucial to consider all the moving parts of a website design before implementing it and what that looks like will depend on your brand, what you are selling, and what your customers’ needs look like.
- Include and analyze data: Having a successful website is more than just designing it, launching it, and then leaving it. It should be an ongoing process of adding content and functions based on customer feedback, and studying analytics to see what’s working and what’s not working. Incorporating keywords and search engine optimization tactics can help you target your audience and boost your ranking on Google. Having the ability to pull important data such as how people are accessing your website (mobile device or laptop), when they are accessing your site, what pages are getting the most traction, and what pages are getting the least views or most bounces can help you determine strategic steps to ensure your website is designed with the customer in mind.
- Hire a website design agency: One of the most important things you can do is delegate the task of building, designing, and managing your business website. Doing this allows you, the business owner, to keep your focus on running the day-to-day business and dealing one-on-one with customers. A website design agency will have professionals who specialize in various niche career paths devoted to helping small businesses succeed. Most website design agencies can walk you through the design process from choosing and purchasing your domain name to building and launching your website, managing technical difficulties, writing design code, keeping your website secure from hackers, tracking and reporting data, and much, much more.