Building a high performing and easy-to-use website is something any small business should aim for. Having a well made and well-run website to compliment your brick and mortar store, or even as your main business platform, puts you head and shoulders above the competition.
All of this, however, requires effort and some know-how. If you find yourself wondering what all good small business sites have in common, below are some of the most essential features of every small business website.
A well thought-out domain name
Before even beginning your web design you should already have an effective, intuitive domain name picked out. Anyone who has spent time searching for that perfect domain name for their site knows just how painstaking a process it can be.
But the tediousness of finding and buying the right domain name is entirely worth it. Ideally, the domain name you buy should not have any similar-sounding and, importantly, similarly-spelled names competing with it. Additionally, the best extension for almost any domain name is the “.com” extension.
An easy-to-understand navigation bar at the top
Not only that, you want to make sure that your navigation bar is featured prominently at the top of every page of your website. Your users need to be able to move around your site effortlessly if they are going to stay on it long enough to give you their business.
Another good idea and a feature you should consider is to make your navigation bar available at the foot of your page. Moving navigation bars that slide as a user scrolls are another option.
Prominent contact information
Contact information is a vital part of any small business website, but it is especially important if you also sell your goods and services from a brick and mortar location. Your location (and a map with directions), phone number, email address(s), and a contact form are all standard elements of a contact page/section. Register your business with ‘Google my business‘ to stand out even more and be listed on the Google map that appears in the sidebar when people are searching for businesses like yours in your area.
Contact information could (and if you already have it, should) feature your social media profiles, including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube channel. Social media is a big part of online business, marketing, and traffic driving, so it shouldn’t be overlooked.
Unambiguous calls to action
Having well-placed and easy-to-understand calls to action are non-negotiable for a small business website. Most importantly, calls to action should be recognizable. Don’t get overly creative; it’s better to stick with what works.
Having well-placed and easy-to-understand calls to action are non-negotiable for a small business website. Most importantly, calls to action should be recognisable. Don’t get overly creative, it’s better to stick with what works.
What works includes tags and phrases like “log in”, “prices”, or “purchase”. These are the word combinations people are accustomed to seeing, and here reliability is incredibly important.
It must have responsive design
Calling a website responsive means that it is viewable and easily navigable on a wide range of devices. People don’t just use their computers to browse the web anymore, they are more likely to use phones and tablets.
If you’re having a new site developed, make sure that it is mobile-friendly or even better these days: mobile first. This is now standard on DIY website builders like Wix and WordPress.
The bottom line is, as a small business owner, your website is what is going to make you stand out in a very large, very competitive sea of other offerings. The internet is a fickle place, and doing business online requires more than just a good product or service: it requires shrewdness and knowhow.
While there are many similarities between traditional business models, marketing, and promotion when it comes to the online world, web design skills and competence are impossible to do without. Whether you are in the planning stages of a new site or have one already up and running, the above small business web design essentials should be helpful.