In today's world, virtually every business needs a website to stay competitive. A professional website can help your small business stand out from the rest while also attracting new clients by showcasing what your business does best.
Although it's becoming increasingly important to have a small business website, less than two-thirds of small businesses have a website. Today's technology makes it easier than ever before to create a new website to promote your business and share your work.
This step-by-step guide is focused on essential elements in website development, such as website design and a user-friendly interface, how to create copy with search engine optimization (SEO) in mind, and other marketing strategies.
The Importance of Having a Small Business Website
While 70% to 80% of people research a company online before purchasing from them, only 64% of small businesses have a website. A lack of a small business website is an untapped resource for many.
Having an online presence is essential, as 84% of customers believe having a website makes a business more credible. A website explains to potential customers what you do and why they should choose the products or services your business provides.
A website can help you bring in new customers. When a website is optimized, you can expect new people to visit your site. During website development, it's important to prioritize search engine optimization (SEO). When a website is SEO-friendly, search engines like Google can crawl each webpage and index it. The internet is full of website content, and with less than 5% of people scrolling beyond the first search page on Google, your website must rank higher to increase leads.
Things to Include in Your Small Business Website Design
Now that you understand the importance of having a small business website, let's break down the steps involved when developing a new website for your business.
Start With a Purpose for Having the Website
To develop your small business website, you'll want to outline the purpose of your new website. In most cases, business websites offer basic information about your company or serve as a space for e-commerce. Because a marketing agency and e-commerce business have vastly different needs for web design, you'll need a clear definition of the purpose of your website.
By describing the purpose of the website, you can better design your website to serve the customer throughout their journey on your website. Having a fundamental goal for your website will help you better design the navigation and create a better user experience.
For example, if your new website is to promote your yoga studio, you may not need to offer online payments. On the other hand, an online clothing business would need to be designed with an e-commerce website in mind.
A Clean and Simple Web Address
Next, you will need to purchase a clean and simple web address. A domain name, which acts as the address for your website, is often the same name as your business. For example, Apple's domain name is Apple.com. All in all, it's important to purchase a relevant and descriptive domain name.
To purchase a domain name, you will need to go through a domain name registrar. Registration typically costs around $10 to $12 a year. Although it's common to purchase a domain name through a registrar like Domain.com or GoDaddy, you can also purchase your web address through a website builder company like Wix or Squarespace.
A Clear Description of Who You Are and What You Do
Aside from website design and purchasing a domain name, you need a mission statement for the homepage. You should put the information in this section in plain terms so potential customers or clients don't have to dig around your website to understand what you do.
Adding a descriptive headline to your homepage communicates to site visitors what your business offers. The best small business websites let visitors know what they do within seconds of someone navigating to their page.
The homepage should include a:
- Headline: Website visitors should understand what your business does within three seconds.
- Sub-headline: Summarize what services you offer or products you provide.
- Call to action: Encourage site visitors to navigate your website to explore new products or services.
- Benefits: Explain why what you offer matters to your target audience.
- Success markers: Link to your business's social media accounts and include testimonials or case studies to add credibility.
- Navigation: Provide a good user experience with well-thought-out navigation. Typically, when website visitors have a clear path, the bounce rate decreases.
Easy-to-Find Contact Information
All small business websites could benefit from having an easily accessible contact page. Although providing your email address or phone number on your contact page is helpful, providing a contact form is even better.
Providing a contact form to your site's visitors makes it easy for them to contact you. Instead of the visitor having to open a new tab, copy your email address, paste it, and craft a message, a contact form decreases the steps they need to take. In most cases, contact forms ask for their name, subject, and their message.
Additional contact information can include:
- The physical address of the business
- Business hours
- Social media sites
An Easy-to-Navigate Site Design
Web development can be tricky if you don't have a lot of experience. Luckily, there are many reputable website builders to simplify the process. Popular website builders like Wix, Weebly, WordPress.com, Shopify, and Squarespace offer easy-to-use templates.
Most website builders have a drag-and-drop interface. This intuitive tool allows you to drag and drop content onto your webpage. Some of the more advanced website builders leave customization in your hands, meaning you can fully adapt the website to your specifications.
Depending on the type of business you conduct, you should choose a website builder designed for businesses in your industry. Choosing a website builder specializing in your industry can help you create the most intuitive design. For example, if you are developing an e-commerce website, Shopify, WordPress, and BigCommerce are great website builders because they specialize in online retail.
Besidesgeneral website design, having intuitive site navigation is essential. When a website's navigation is hard to follow or illogical, you'll have a poor user experience and may lose potential customers. A simplified navigation bar is not only important in creating a well-defined structure but also an optimized experience for mobile device users.
An effective mobile navigation menu should convey:
- What kind of service or products your business offers
- How to contact your business
All business websites should include high-quality images. Although it's tempting to use stock photos, you should do so cautiously. Stock photos can come across as tacky, especially when they're frequently used.
Instead, invest in high-quality images for your website. This is especially important if you have an online store. If you're selling products on your site, and the product images are obviously stock photos, this may cause visitors to consider the legitimacy of your business.
Besides including high-quality images, they should also be optimized. By compressing images, your webpage will have faster load times, reducing the likelihood of visitors giving up and leaving. By adding metadata (e.g., tags and captions) to your images, you can also let search engines know what the images are about.
Interesting Content for Your Target Customers
As mentioned, SEO is incredibly important for a small business website. Optimized website content can help direct potential leads to your webpage and attract new customers. Creating content developed with SEO in mind can help generate traffic from the start.
Develop a strong SEO strategy throughout your website by including:
- Title tags
- Meta descriptions
- Relevant keywords
- Internal and external links
Add authority to your website by regularly publishing content relevant to your industry. By writing about exciting topics in your industry, you can establish your business as a thought leader. Digital marketing experts recommend regularly updating your blog to keep customers acquainted with your business. A HubSpot study found small businesses with blogs generate 126% more leads when compared to companies without blogs.
However, don't get too caught up in churning out content because you think you have to. Let's say you have an online store. Writing a post about your newest clothing drop is fine, but does it convert? Instead, try to write more engaging content. In this case, you could write about summer clothing trends and link to the newest products on your online store.
A Direct Call to Action
Whether your small business website promotes a service or acts as an online store, webpages need to include calls to action (CTAs). Part of your marketing strategy should include crafting engaging CTAs.
Should the potential customer visit your blog or the landing page? Regardless of the answer, the CTA should tell the visitor what to do next.
Here's how to craft a strong CTA:
- Use a strong command verb like "shop," "buy," "subscribe," or "download."
- Use numbers when you can. In most cases, customers respond well to seeing numbers related to pricing, promotions, discounts, and other incentives.
- Use engaging words or symbols (e.g., exclamation mark) to show enthusiasm.
Manage Your Small Business Finances With Skynova
Just as using website builders can simplify your website design process, so can the use of accounting software when it comes to running your business. As a small business owner, you have enough to worry about. Streamlining your accounting processes can make completing essential business tasks much easier. Learn how Skynova's accounting software can help you invest more time into your business.
Notice to the Reader
The content within this article is meant to be used as general guidelines for creating a small business website and may not apply to your specific situation. Always consult with a marketing agency or professional to ensure you're meeting web design standards.