Clients for websites come in all shapes and sizes – sometimes they know exactly what they want, most often they have no idea! Whatever they actually end up with with regards to their small business website design there are certain best practices that I always try and incorporate on their behalf.
- KISS – Keep it simple stupid. Simple design with easy-to-navigate menu items on a small business website are preferred over “clever”, “flashy” or “sophisticated”. Visitors are going to be looking for certain things in certain places (company name/logo at top, navigation at top or in a sidebar, etc.). Stick to simple design and your visitors will love you for it.
- Use a declarative statement. Tell your visitors (and Google) what you do, who you do it for and where you do it as one of the first statements on your home page. You can not assume that visitors (human and bot) to your small business website know what you do from a few pictures or from a mission statement. Make it clear and obvious.
- Polish your Unique Selling Proposition. You have such a small time to capture visitors attention – make sure they see right away why they should do business with you. Are you the biggest widget maker in the North East? Do you provide individual attention to each client? are you the most experienced provider of your services in your town? Whatever it is, say so.
- Use visuals but don’t over-rely on them. A picture is worth a thousand words – we all get that, but remember two things: 1) Google can’t read images unless you tell it what its looking at and 2) generic stock photography can bite you in the butt if people see the same image on multiple sites. Use your own images wherever possible on your small business website.
- Make it easy for people to contact you. Whatever your preferred method of contact is make sure that visitors see it on EVERY page so wherever they are on your site they can pull the trigger and call, e-mail or send smoke signals if that’s what you want them to do.