- Now that your new business is up and running, the next and perhaps most important step is to develop a good website. It’s important to not just focus on getting a website up and running, but to make sure it’s a great website.
- Like everything else in life, websites have rules. To ensure that your website does what it is supposed to do, there are a set of “golden rules” that should be followed.
- From choosing an easy-to-remember email address to essential pages for your website, understanding your website design will ultimately help your visitors have a memorable site visit.
So, you’ve just started a new business, and although you know that every new business should have a good website, you don’t know the first thing about website design. Here are the 12 golden rules of small business website design to follow, whether you are building your business website yourself or outsourcing it to an individual or a company.
Make sure your website address is easy to remember.
Your web address isn’t the place to be too smart – you want to make the site easy for potential customers to find. Avoid numbers, which confuse Internet users, and dashes, which can be problematic for SEO. Go for a .com domain, too, because that’s what people know best, as Ron Wright, founder of website design and online marketing company Accentrix, puts it. Entrepreneur.com.
Use clear and simple navigation methods.
It’s tempting to want to differentiate your site by using a fancy Flash layout and one-of-a-kind web design, but that could prevent your customers from finding what they’re looking for quickly. It’s best to use standard site navigation practices: use drop-down lists with clear titles that appear on every page, include a sitemap, and make sure the search bar is easy to find ( the upper right side of a page is a good rule to follow).
Publish your business contact information.
What good is your website if no one knows how to reach you? Include a page with your address, phone number and email address, and make sure there is a prominent link to your contact details on your homepage. “The best place for contact information is the upper left or upper right corner of the home page,” John Zhuang, of web design and SEO optimization firm Winning Interactive, told Entrepreneuer.com. “It’s also a good practice to include contact information in every page of the website in the footer or sidebar, or even in the top right corner, which helps visitors find them more easily. “
The beauty of the internet is that customers can get information about your products or services at their own pace, even if it’s 2 am. Including a page with frequently asked questions allows your target customer to quickly find the information they are looking for, day or night. without having to call or email your business. It’s also another chance to help establish and grow your brand on your website.
Also include customer reviews and testimonials.
Honest reviews of your product or service not only help customers decide if it’s exactly what they’re looking for, but it also makes your business more tangible. Customer reviews offer insight into your business that you might not have thought to include in other areas of the site.
Don’t forget to include social links as well.
If you’re a smart business owner, chances are you already market your products and services on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, FourSquare, Pinterest, etc. Grow your followers and reach customers where they spend their time by including icon links to your various social media efforts. Include sharing features on your content pages so visitors can easily “like” a blog post, pin a photo, or tweet about a cool product you have.
Include an information entry form
Even if your business is only open during the day, Monday through Friday, new customers visit your website 24/7. Make it look like you’re always open by including a form on the site that new and existing customers can fill out to ask questions, request quotes, or provide feedback. You’ll have the added benefit of collecting valuable information (email addresses, phone numbers, etc.) from people interested in your brand.
Create an About Us page for your site.
Customers love being able to put a face to a business, so be sure to add information about the people behind your business, its history, and what drives it. This will help you differentiate your site from others and make your business more legitimate and relevant.
Spice up your website with various calls to action.
Once customers find the information they need on your site, tell them what to do next. Sign up for your newsletter, request a free quote, follow you on Facebook – anything to get them more engaged with your business.
Provide useful content to visitors.
Beyond information about your business, give your site visitors a reason to come back. You can become the go-to source for information about your field for customers by providing original, well-written articles or blog posts. Think beyond the specific product or service you offer to come up with ideas of what your site visitors might be interested in. If you run a local farmer’s market, provide a harvest calendar and recipes; If you run a temp agency, blog about office life trends. This will show them that you are not only passionate about your business, but also about your customers.
Use a responsive format.
People rely on their smartphones more than ever when it comes to finding businesses, so your website needs to be mobile-friendly. It is estimated that the use of mobile search will only increase over time. You must have a responsive design, which means the website is able to detect the size of the visitor’s screen; whether it’s a tablet, desktop or smartphone, and will change the layout accordingly.
Ensure an excellent user experience for your visitors.
Whether visitors are accessing your website through a mobile device or a desktop computer, your website should communicate the message as quickly and clearly as possible. Your website should have quick calls to action and an effective landing page. Every page on the website should link to every other page to ensure your visitors aren’t lost and always have somewhere to go.