Does your website fit the needs of your small business? Or is it just sitting there in cyberspace gathering internet dust? Don’t worry you’re not alone. It happens all the time.
But I’m here to tell you that, this doesn’t have to be the case. You can have a website that looks great and fits your business needs. All it takes is good planning and strategic execution. And I’m going to help with my top 5 tips to design a better website for your business.
1 // Research & Plan
Before starting the design phase, it’s important to set aside some time to research and plan your website properly. A clear plan of action saves you time and money. Compared to the old ‘winging it’ method that leads to confusion, revisions and a whole heap of frustration.
With a website action plan, you’ll know exactly what you need your website to achieve and how to make that happen.
Crack out your notepad and answer these questions…
- Who is your target audience?
- What are your website goals? – more enquiries, to sell online, inform potential customers, collect signups.
- What information should be included to help you achieve those goals? – Think about your customer, what do they need to know to make an informed buying decision.
- What makes you different? – Do you have something unique that sets you apart from others in your industry? Discovering and conveying that message on your website will help you stand out.
- How can you ensure your visitors have a pleasant experience? Are there ways you can streamline your information and action steps. Making it easy to contact or order from you will increase the chances of someone doing so.
- Do you have a particular style you’d like to use? – minimalist, feminine, lots of white space.
- What images will you use? – hiring a professional photographer or using stock photography
2 // Choose the right designer
The website design industry is huge. Type ‘website designer’ into Google and you’ll have thousands of results. So who do you choose? The freelancer or agency? Budget or expensive investment? It’s a big decision and can have major implications for your business, if you don’t choose the right fit.
You can make it easier on yourself by conducting research and asking your design candidates questions. Most will be happy to answer your queries and concerns.
- Does their website state clearly what services they offer?
- No jargon! I don’t know about you but I hate jargon, I want to know in simple terms how you can help not be bamboozled with industry words.
- Do they have testimonials?
- Do you like the work in their portfolio?
- Can you find out about the designer or team?
- Are they open to answering your questions?
- Who owns your domain and website once complete?
- Who is responsible for what?
- Are there ongoing costs?
3 // Professional visual design
Layout and design are an important factor in the success of your website – instilling trust, educating and establishing your credibility. A well-designed website can be the deciding factor for many customers choosing to buy from you. Adobe reports that 38% of website visitors will stop engaging with content if it is unattractively laid out.
Your website design should have a healthy dose of your own personality and appeal to your target market. Everyone has a unique vision but visitors may not be able to appreciate it in the same way as you do. Consider your design from your customers perspective and have a look around at other websites in your industry. You’ll get a good idea of what works and doesn’t work.
Quick tips for good design…
- Minimalism – A clean design will always have an advantage over a cluttered, messy layout.
- Good typography – Choose fonts that compliment each other. If you are unsure of what works best, check out Google fonts where you can see good pairings.
- Professional photos – Use high-quality stock photos or opt for professional photography to give a truly custom feel.
4 // Think ahead
Where do you see your business in a year, 3 years, 5 years? Will your website work for you in the long-term or will you have to start from scratch? Ideally, your website needs to be scalable so that as your business grows, your website will adapt with you. A restrictive website limits your ability to easily grow resulting in costly redevelopments.
Choose a platform that is going to work for you long-term. A few of the big players are Squarespace, Shopify and WordPress. Each one has pros and cons and your choice will depend on your skill level, requirements and needs.
5 // Plan your launch
Having a website doesn’t automatically mean you’re going to be flooded with new visitors and customers. Your work doesn’t stop when you switch your website live. You need a strategy for ongoing marketing and promotion.
- Utilise your social media profiles to share links to your website.
- Create relevant, useful content on your website blog and share it across your profiles.
- Invest in social media advertising.
- Work on your search engine optimisation to boost your ranking.
Still need help?
If you’re still unsure of how to get the most out of your website, get in touch about my website audit and consulting service. I can help you figure out the best approach for your website, how you can grow your business online and the steps you need to take.
Photo by Karolina Grabowska / Kaboompics