Web Design Ideas for Small Business
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“The design is not just what it looks like and feels like. The design is how it works” – Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs redefined how we see design. Design is more than how something looks – it is how it works. Functionality is everything.
Small business website design is just like that. Good website design not only looks good but also functions well. Exceptional website design creates a usable, findable, and accessible experience for your online visitors. In this article, I’ll show you design ideas to create not only a professional website design but a website experience that can be measured.
We’ll start by looking at user experience. User experience is the measurement of how an online visitor feels after navigating your website. Following a few user experience guidelines and incorporating simple changes can enhance how your visitors feel after using your website. That “good feeling” goes a long way to how your brand and business are remembered by your potential customers!
Google’s latest algorithm change includes page experience metrics. Page experience is how well a page functions as the content is delivered to the visitor. Using Google’s Page Experience metrics to improve your overall customer experience, will serve your business by also improving your organic search engine optimization and search engine ranking.
Lastly, we’ll look at how to use the metrics of analytics and engagement to glean insights to learn what can be improved, so your small business website can function as well as it looks!
Small Business Website User Experience
It’s no secret that first impressions are important. Whether you’re meeting someone for the first time or starting a new business, you only have one chance to make a good first impression. The same is true of small business websites.
User experience is how a person feels when they interact with a website. Creating a great user experience is important because it can make the difference between a website that’s successful and one that’s not.
While people will gladly provide feedback for customer service, it’s harder to get feedback on whether your website is negatively affecting your customers and potential customers. Reviewing your website with a user experience focus can improve how your website functions.
Here are some tips for creating a good user experience on your small business website:
1. Keep it simple
Your website should be easy to navigate and understand. Potential clients should be able to find what they’re looking for easily and intuitively. Make it easy for your visitor to know who you work with, how you help your customers, and their results from working with you.
2. Make it user-friendly
Your website should be designed with the user in mind. All of the elements on your website should work together to create a seamless experience for the user. Keep your homepage navigation simple and easily usable. Use a pleasing color scheme or color palette to ensure that buttons and links stand out on your landing pages.
3. Pay attention to detail
The details on your website are what set it apart from the rest. Small things, like the right fonts, customized photography, and graphic design can make a big difference in the overall user experience, as well as solidify your visual brand. Good use of white space allows important features to stand out and be noticed.
4. Promote engagement
Modern web design templates can showcase your website content in a very graphical, engaging way. Website builder tools like Squarespace, Wix, WordPress, Shopify, and others contain plenty of tools for small business owners to creatively display their visual content. By utilizing large photography, high-quality graphic design, and animations, your website design can keep your visitor engaged as they interact with the content on your website. Each page should have a purpose with a clear call to action (CTA) that makes sense as the next logical step for your visitor.
5. Test, test, test
Pretty means nothing if it doesn’t work! Before launch, be sure to test your website step-by-step on different browsers and devices. Make sure all links and buttons work as expected, and photos display as intended. This will help ensure that your website looks and works the way it should for all users and on all screen sizes.
6. Get feedback
After your website is up and running, don’t be afraid to get feedback from users. Consider reaching out to a small group of trusted customers that can take your new design for a test run and get their feedback. Testimonials like this can help you identify any areas that need improvement.
By following these tips, you can create a small business website that provides a great user experience for your customers.
Web Page Experience
Just like user experience looks at the design and functionality of your website, Page Experience looks at an individual page and rates it on how well it performs for your online visitor. Google Page Experience should be part of a solid search engine strategy and is defined by Google as a way to measure how well a page is constructed, the relevance of the content, and how well a page performs for an online visitor. These SEO metrics are used by Google to help rank your website pages and can now be measured within your Google Search Console tool.
By looking at your user experience through the lens of Google guidelines, you can improve the usability of your website – and improve your page ranking at the same time. Each of these SEO metrics below impacts the way your website functions and helps you deliver an optimal user experience for your visitors.
Page Load Time
Your visitors come through many different devices in many different ways. How quickly your website pages load has a direct effect on how long your visitors will stay on your site. There are many ways to measure and improve page performance, and luckily, there are tools that can point out to you where your pages can be improved. Here are a few of the online tools that we use when optimizing how quickly a web page loads:
Your visitors want to feel secure as they are browsing through your website. Installing a security certificate and ensuring that it is properly installed on your website ensures your visitors are provided with a safe experience.
In the United States, 50% of visitors navigate from their desktop, 46% from their mobile device, and 4% from tablets. Mobile-friendly is a must-have if you want to engage your online visitors with an excellent user experience. Review your website pages from your phone and tablet and ensure the experience translates to the smaller device. Most website themes have mobile-friendly options.
Popups or other blocking factors that cover page content
We want our customers to have a good experience when navigating our website. And we also want them to engage with our business and subscribe to our newsletter. Pop-up forms asking for your website visitors to opt into an email newsletter is a common and effective way to do that. Yet, there are right ways and wrong ways to do this. Pop-ups can be just as interruptive as they can be useful. When designing a pop-up box on your website, adhere to one simple rule: design your email opt-in in such a way that is part of the experience and not blocking their experience. Pop-ups can be either a good or a bad user experience–depending upon how they are designed and what they have to offer.
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SEO Metrics and Insights
By looking at your small business website design through the lens of customer experience, you can find ways to better improve how your online visitors find the information they are looking for and better rank your website by adhering to the Google SEO guidelines. As small businesses, our website is the center of our digital marketing, it allows our business to be found, to differentiate from our competitors, and show our potential customers how we can change their lives through our services and offerings.
Google Analytics and Google Search Console provide the metrics every small business should use to better understand what is working and what is not working, and what needs improvement.
- Which pages are visited the most?
- What blog articles are most commonly being read?
- What search terms are people using that lead to tangible traffic to your website?
- How long do your visitors stay on your site–and particular pages?
- What is the typical flow of how people navigate your website pages?
- How well is your website converting?
The answers to these questions can help you create a more functional, useful, professional website. The insights can guide you to redesign particular pages to improve overall page performance; they can point you to the right topics, articles, and videos that your visitors are interested in; and they can provide insights to opt-ins and offers that are tailored to how your visitors are searching through your site.
Your small business website is the hub of your digital marketing. By designing your website to provide a better customer experience, you elevate your business’s brand and create a more relevant, usable website. This is exactly what every small business wants—a website that is a resource for your potential customers, one that is focused on providing exactly what your ideal customers are looking for!
About the author
Donna Galassi, founder of Blue Zenith, has been in the tech industry all of her career with more than 15 years as a Software Engineer before founding Blue Zenith Design + Strategy in 2009. She is the magic behind the strategies that set apart the Blue Zenith team. It’s her passion to provide quality top-notch services to small businesses to help them compete in this highly competitive online world.