Feb 24 Small Business Web Design in 2015 – 7 Aspects to Keep in Mind
If your small business doesn’t have a prominent online presence, you will find it difficult to improve brand awareness. At the heart of every strong and sustainable presence on the internet, is a website. Its design needs to encourage conversions, enhance brand credibility and improve niche authority.
Remember, a website is no longer a luxury that only big businesses can use in their brand building efforts; most small businesses are now using a website as an important part of their marketing strategy. So, it is of significant importance that you are able to get your website and its design absolutely right.
By doing so, you will be improving its chances of being seen and heard more than your competitors’ websites. This is important, because your brand needs to break through all the clutter that exists online. It needs to be able to shout the loudest and web design (provided you get it right) helps your brand in this regard.
So the question is how you do you get small business web design absolutely right in 2015? Here’s a quick look:
1. Minimalism a.k.a Keep It Simple
One of the best things you can do is stop yourself from going overboard as far as creativity is concerned. Focus on design minimalism; use only those design elements that are absolutely critical for making your point, stay away from everything else. What you are essentially doing by focusing on minimalism is setting the stage for a clutter free website that makes it easy for users to access information. Online users are impatient and don’t want websites to waste their time. This is why minimalist design is so important in 2015. You will be able to cater to users with very little time on their hands and ensure they get access to the information they need, quickly and seamlessly.
2. Responsive Web Design
With mobile internet usage increasing considerably over the last year or so, it’s imperative that your website is mobile friendly. For that to happen, it needs to be responsively designed. Responsive web design ensures your website delivers a unified experience across various mobile devices irrespective of their screen sizes or resolutions. This is important because you cannot afford to miss out on the ever increasing mobile audience out there. In the earlier point, we discussed minimalist web design; it is again something that helps prep your website to be consumed via a mobile device.
3. Loading Speed
Your website’s design must not compromise its load speed. You need to see all your web design choices from the prism of your site’s loading speed. The lighter your website, the faster it will load. If you’re packing the website with images and videos in a bid to making it more interactive and engaging, make sure this doesn’t impact the site’s loading time. If you think they are making the site ‘heavier’, thus increasing the time taken for the page to load, just get rid of all images and videos that you believe are irrelevant in the scheme of things.
What’s more, use image compression tools to compress images and video compression tools to reduce the size of your videos. These tools will ensure the use of images and videos doesn’t adversely impact the web page load speed. It’s important to understand that the page loading time will affect your bottom line. You ignore it at your own risk.
4. Relevant Images
There is no doubt; you will have to use images on your site. The question is – how do you pick images that will work towards getting the attention of your audience. Firstly, you need to pick images that are extremely relevant to the brand message you want to deliver; secondly you need to make sure your images have emotive appeal; and thirdly, your images must encourage action. Very often we see images being used purely to up the visual appeal of a website. But this is where designers go wrong.
The idea behind images is to tell the brand story, showcase the benefits of the products and services you are selling, improve trust and trigger conversions. If your images are doing none of these things, then you’ve got your image selection wrong. So, it’s very important to spend time choosing the right images. What’s more, if you are choosing stock images, try to avoid picking images that one will find on a large percentage of websites that belong to your domain. Emphasize on unique images, even if you have to spend some more money on them.
5. Design for the User – Not for the Business
Yes, your website represents your brand and it needs to perfectly encapsulate what your business stands for, its principles, values and objectives. But, it’s your target audience that is going to determine its success or failure. This is why your design must be as user oriented as possible. Don’t lose sight of your business goals but see them from the perspective of the user. This way you will be able to design a website that users will love going through, meaning you will be able to offer the best possible user experience.
6. Don’t Miss Blog Integration
If your small business website doesn’t have a blog, it will miss out on a huge opportunity to make an impression on its target audience. Today, customers only want to buy from/work with a business they can trust, irrespective of whether it’s a big player in the niche, a startup or small business. One of the ways you can instill trust about your business and its products and services in your audience is through a website blog. You can keep publishing fresh content on the blog that acts as a solutions provider for any domain centric problem your target customers are suffering from. This improves the brand’s niche authority and credibility. The fact that you are trying to help them, is appreciated by target customers and your products and services are seen in a positive light. This definitely boosts the profitability of your business.
7. Don’t Overthink
Last but not the least; don’t spend sleepless nights wondering how you can grab the attention of your audience. In the first point, we’ve talked about the importance of keeping it simple, so do that; if you can come up with a unique, yet minimalist design that helps create just the right impression in the minds of your audience well and good. But if you cannot, just make sure you get the fundamentals of the design process right. This way you will stay away from the pitfalls that can otherwise destroy your website.
If you are planning to build a small business website this year, keeping these 7 aspects in mind will definitely help you create an effective website that delivers the returns you are looking for.