The act of learning the best practices for small business web design and then implementing them is both an art and a science. A lot of artistic talent can go into creating a beautiful, modern-looking website. When it comes to creating the site's layout, all that artistic effort can—and should be—backed up by hard data. Any small business web design provider worth his or her salt will have spent some time researching what works and what doesn't. Small business owners have a lot to gain by relying on all that tangible experience and wisdom.
There is (or at least should be) a methodical process that a small business web designer adheres to when designing the layout of a website's UI/UX, such as putting call-to-actions (CTAs) in the right places, picking the right types of colors, and positioning the small business' brand in a way that resonates with customers and positively reflects the industry.
The Difference in Hiring a Professional is Shown in How These Best Practices for Small Business Web Design are Implemented:
- Clear messaging of who you are, what you do, and who it's for must be present above-the-fold (ATF).
- A clean, easy-to-follow layout with simple, logical navigation is present throughout the website.
- All necessary tech “under the hood” is in working order and can be maintained by any web developer.
- Images are optimized with web-friendly dimensions & file sizes to ensure faster page speed
For small business owners shopping for a new website, the quality of the final project may well provide the difference between a 1% conversion rate and a 10% rate. Let's break down these best practices for small business web design into further detail.
1. Do You Have a Clear Objective & Funnel for Visitors to Complete?
Your finished small business website must present a clear message of what you offer and why your target customers need to care. Visitors form opinions about your small business within seconds of visiting your new website, and will grant you only a few seconds before deciding to stay or leave. You must have the information they're looking for easily and readily accessible. Focus on making the first impression of your small business web design a stellar one.
Your must also plan the development of your small business website around a visitor objective you want completed. If your web traffic just comes and goes without any meaningful exchange, then it's all but useless. Common objectives can be getting visitors to subscribe to your email list, to book for your services, or to buy one of your products. Getting visitors to "convert" into customers is a science in and of itself, but any professional small business web design provider will recommend A/B testing to reveal the numbers.
2. Is Your New Small Business Web Design Fast (e.g. <2 Seconds)?
This is the age of information and people expect instant results more now than ever before. There are only seconds before another distraction comes along, and visitors hate slow-loading pages. You will only get a moment to grab their attention before they click away. This is why incorporating fast loading times into your small business web design is essential.
Your website pagespeed will be affected by both the website itself as well as your web hosting server. A website requires optimized images & code and high-performance hosting to load the fastest. Your small business web designer or developer should do each of the following in some capacity:
- Optimize your website photos by cropping and/or resizing them to the most web-friendly resolutions.
- Run all your website images through an optimizer like TinyPNG, EWWW, or WP Smush
- Use a regularly-maintained visual builder or, if coding from scratch, write clean, easily serviceable code
- Cut out bloatware, unclean code, and unnecessary WordPress plugins (Clearfy can help with this)
3. Is Your Small Business Website Mobile Responsive?
Over half of all global traffic (including 3rd world countries without good cellular/4G networks) comes from mobile devices. In fact, nearly 54% of traffic is coming from mobile, while just 43% is coming from desktop. Often, visitors come across your small business website on mobile first, and then decide whether or not they will revisit on their laptop or desktop.
You might be asking yourself, if that's the case, why does a mobile responsive site even matter? Won't they revisit with their desktop anyways? Perhaps not—if you lose out during a potential customer's early research stage, you may have lost them for good.
4. Have You Installed Tracking Tools like Google Analytics or Facebook Pixel?
Remember my earlier bit about science and conversion-tracking? Numbers indeed don't lie. When it comes to conversion optimizing, lowering bounce rates (getting visitors to stay), and boosting search engine rankings, empirical data is vital. Fortunately, search engine providers like Google make it ridiculously easy to gather this data.
Yet, sometimes I build or service websites for clients who are so eager to be done with everything, that the installation of Google Analytics is skipped. Completing the necessary steps your provider recommends, like installing Google Analytics, is important to get the best ROI out of your new small business web design. Not only are tools like these 100% free, but using them is as simple as emailing the code to your web developer. Still, some less experienced types of small business web designers or perhaps indifferent small business owners can skip over this step and forget.
Next, a professional small business web designer must be able to recommend what steps to take based on the results of the data. Many digital agencies also provide SEO services, such as on-page or off-page SEO. Cyberia Technologies leverages our close-knit network of SEO specialists to clients.
5. Can Fans Follow & Share Your Social Media Pages?
Your social media strategy must go hand-in-hand with your website, rather than exist in a parallel universe. Provide links to your small business website on your social media pages and integrate a social media tool like Monarch or Social Warfare. Put social media buttons on your website pages, blog posts, & products to get more shares, and in turn more reach.
6. Is the Security of Your Website a Priority to You?
In the age of information, security is front and center for websites both big and small. If you have a WordPress site, then it is only a matter of time before a bad actor tries to hack it. This very site receives over a thousand various attack attempts per month, and we are by no means “big time”.
Plenty of well-paid, well-respected IT experts, including web developers and system administrators, fail to properly secure their sites and servers. A professional small business web developer not ensures that your website is secured to the best it can be, but also works with you to teach the basics and best practices to keep your small business website secure post-development.
Here's an example: one of the simplest yet routinely overlooked things you can do today is use a password generator and storage locker like LastPass. Read our post covering how to secure your WordPress site and protect against hackers to learn more.
So...Why Hire a Professional for Your Small Business Web Design?
So why should you shell out the big bucks for for a professional small business web designer? Hopefully the answer is to avoid getting unfinished, botched, or otherwise sub-par work where basic due diligence wasn't followed. Professionally building a new website can get expensive very quickly, no doubt. Though considering a costly alternative like a slow, under-performing, or even broken website makes any wise small business owner see why hiring a professional to design and develop a website is the smartest choice.