A website is critical to creating an online presence for your small business. However, you need to ensure that it is both aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly, as this will be the first impression potential online customers have of your business.
An effective small business website design should include intuitive navigation, easy-to-find contact information, clear messaging, and tailored content that speaks directly to your target audience.
You should also ensure that your design is optimized for search engines so potential customers can easily find you on the web. By investing in small business website design, you are taking steps toward building a strong digital footprint for your business.
In this article, we will explore the steps to building an amazing small business website and the features of a solid small business website design.
Steps To Building An Amazing Small Business Website
With the right plan and resources, you can quickly create an effective online presence that will help grow your small business. Follow these steps to ensure you have an amazing small business website design:
Choose A Domain Name
A domain name is the URL of your website or your website address, for example, www.mysmallbusiness.com. You should choose a domain name that is easy to remember and relevant to your business.
You can purchase a domain name through various web hosting services such as GoDaddy or HostGator. You can even get a free domain name from these same web hosting services.
When choosing a domain name, consider the following tips:
- Keep it short and easy to remember
- Use keywords that relate to your business
- Avoid numbers or hyphens
Choose A Web Hosting Service
A web hosting service is a service that allows you to make your website available online. Once you have chosen a domain name, you will need to purchase web hosting from a reliable hosting company. When selecting a hosting service, consider the following factors:
- Reliability and uptime of the server
- Price and amount of storage included
- Security features
Building The Website
Once you have chosen a domain name and web hosting provider, you can begin to build your website. You may use an online website builder such as WordPress, Wix, or Shopify to create your website. However, note that each website builder has its benefits and drawbacks that can’t easily be avoided.
For example, while a WordPress website is great for SEO, the site lacks a graphical user interface and needs more coding skills to customize.
On the other hand, Wix offers an intuitive drag-and-drop design with numerous customization options. Lastly, Shopify is great for creating e-commerce stores but lacks some of the features needed for content-driven websites.
- Keep it simple and uncluttered
- Use consistency in font, color, and images throughout the site
- Incorporate intuitive navigation so users can easily access content
- Utilize user-friendly features such as autocomplete search bars
In the later part of this article, we will explore the best features to incorporate into your small business website in more detail.
Install A Content Management System
A content management system (CMS) is a software application that allows you to publish and edit your small business website’s content easily. Some popular content management systems include WordPress, Joomla!, and Drupal.
When installing a content management system, ensure it is compatible with your web hosting service. You can also pay for content management services to help install and configure your content management system.
When choosing a CMS or hiring a CMS service, you should consider the following:
- Security and user management features
- Ease of content editing and publishing
Create A Shopping Cart Or Online Store
As a small business, you shouldn’t just create a website for the sake of it. Take advantage of the online platform and create an online store. You can use shopping cart software such as Magento, OpenCart, PrestaShop, etc.
Alternatively, you can integrate a payment processing gateway with your content management system. This will allow you to process payments from customers securely. When creating an online store, consider the following features:
Optimizing For Search Engines
Once you have built the website, the next step is to optimize your website content so that it appears in search engine results.
This process is widely known as search engine optimization (SEO). It is an important part of creating an effective small business web design as it will help potential customers easily find your business online. To optimize for SEO, consider the following tips:
- Include relevant keywords throughout your website content.
- Place internal and external links in your blogs and articles.
- Add alt tags to all images on your website.
- Utilize internal linking and create a sitemap.
- Submit an XML site map to search engines such as Google and Bing.
Consider hiring a professional for Local SEO if you want to focus on a particular area.
Install Webmaster Tools
Webmaster tools track and measure website performance, such as traffic, rankings, etc. The most popular webmaster tools are Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools.
They provide detailed reports on what content is performing well and which content needs improvement. You can also use these tools to submit a sitemap for faster indexing and troubleshooting of any website errors. Additionally, webmaster tools can do the following:
- Monitor search traffic
- Identify crawl errors
- Track backlinks and measure their quality
Using the information provided by webmaster tools, businesses can easily improve their overall web strategies, positioning them for success.
Finally, all successful websites require regular maintenance. This includes content updates, security patches, and software upgrades. Keeping the website up to date ensures that users have an optimal experience when visiting the website, and it is also essential for search engine rankings.
When maintaining a website, consider doing the following:
- Create content backups
- Use secure hosting services
- Install security patches
- Update content regularly
- Monitor for malware and viruses
- Check the page loading speed
- Regularly check links and remove broken ones
- Use descriptive URLs
6 Must-Have Features For Your Small Business Website
For better functionality, great user experience, and an effective web strategy, here are 6 must-have features that should be included in your small business website design.
1. Contact Form
A Contact form is essential to any modern website, especially for small businesses. Contact forms make it easy for customers to reach out with queries and comments. It also allows you to capture potential customer inquiries and respond quickly.
A Contact Form should include fields such as name, email, message body, and any relevant information required. Additionally, most Contact Forms allow visitors to upload files like documents or images.
To ensure your Contact Form effectively works for your small business website design, here are a few tips you can follow:
- Include a simple layout that customers can easily fill out and submit
- Use descriptive titles for each field, so visitors know exactly what information to provide
- Ensure the Contact Form is secure by using HTTPS encryption
- Offer multiple options for Contact, such as email address or phone numbers, in case someone prefers those methods
- Include CAPTCHAs to prevent spam messages from being sent out
- Offer auto-response messages after a user submits the Contact Form, so they know their message was received
- Follow up on Contact Forms from new leads quickly, as this will help build relationships with potential customers
Consider using Contact Form plugins, especially if you use a content management system like WordPress or Drupal. Popular Contact Form plugins are Gravity Forms and Ninja Forms, which offer plenty of customization options.
Furthermore, you can also find several top web design companies that specialize in creating custom Contact Forms with all the features previously mentioned.
2. Live Chat
Live chat features have become increasingly popular in recent years and essential for small business website design. Live chat can be used to provide customer service, answer questions, and manage customer inquiries. Life chat has a 38% conversion rate as prospective customers are often happy to make a purchase after a positive live-chat.
With live chat, businesses are able to respond quickly to customer inquiries and provide timely support when needed.
Another great benefit of live chat is that it gives customers the opportunity to engage in real-time conversations with a representative from the company. This allows customers to get their questions answered or any issues resolved quickly compared to email or phone support.
Furthermore, with automated messaging systems integrated with live chat, companies can also save time by providing instant responses even when representatives are unavailable.
Live chats can also provide valuable insights into customer needs and preferences, which businesses can use to enhance their products or services. By analyzing the data collected from live chats, businesses can better understand their customer’s expectations and needs, which will help them improve their overall product offerings.
Also, consider integrating Artificial Intelligence (AI) into your live chat feature to take customer service one step further. AI-powered bots can handle customer service requests such as product information, order status updates, etc., freeing up resources for more complex tasks requiring human interaction.
Blog Or Newsletters
For small businesses, having a blog or newsletter can be extremely beneficial in terms of gaining more visibility on the search engine results page (SERP). By regularly posting interesting and relevant content on their blog or newsletter, businesses can improve their search engine ranking and attract more targeted visitors to their websites.
Additionally, it can also serve as an effective tool to establish relationships with customers by providing them with insights into the company’s vision and values.
In addition to improving SERP rankings and engaging with customers through content, blogs, and newsletters are also great for helping businesses generate leads. Through call-to-action buttons within the blog posts or newsletters, businesses can drive readers to fill out forms or even subscribe to the newsletter, which ultimately helps capture leads.
To ensure effective results from blogs and newsletters, businesses should consider including SEO (Search Engine Optimization) techniques in their content marketing strategy.
Social Media Integration
Integrating social media in your small business website design has the potential to create numerous growth opportunities. This can include connecting with customers, creating brand awareness, driving traffic to your site, and even increasing sales.
As such, businesses should consider including social media plugins or widgets within their website’s design to make it easier for visitors to share content or promote the company’s products or services.
Live Review Section
Including a live review section on your website can be extremely beneficial in terms of improving customer trust and reputation.
By displaying customers’ feedback or reviews in real-time, businesses can give potential customers an idea of the quality of their product or service, increasing their chances of purchasing.
To make sure that only genuine reviews are included, businesses should consider implementing verification processes before accepting any reviews to ensure authenticity or use a review management platform.
Furthermore, promptly responding to all customer feedback is essential as it helps improve customer relations and builds trust among existing customers.
Given the amount of sensitive data transmitted online, businesses should ensure to include various security measures in their website design.
This includes implementing SSL certificates for all pages containing customer information and adding stringent password policies and other forms of secure access controls.
Furthermore, consider including measures such as two-factor authentication to protect accounts from malicious actors.
In conclusion, having business websites is no longer an option for small businesses; it’s an absolute must.
If you are looking for professional web design and development services that can build you a functional and responsive website that will generate high returns for your business, contact Priceless Consulting LLC today.