In the digital age, your website is often your first impression. It is an opportunity for you to build a relationship with your current and prospective customers, even when you’re a small business. How can you make sure you’re making your small business website is as powerful as possible?

I’ll always remember a conversation I had when I was bussing tables at a restaurant as a teen. My manager said to me one day, “Basically, the trick is to be as lazy as possible.” He was half joking, but he had a good point. We were talking about efficiency – what he really meant, was, strategize so that you get more done in one shot. Work smarter, not harder.

So, how does this tie into web design? Well, basically, you need to simplify your user’s experience so that more can be accomplished in shorter visits to your site.

Now, this doesn’t mean you should cut corners. Usability is about making things easier, but it is hardly easy. It takes time, research and planning. There are several things to consider when building or updating your company’s website.

Like this fun fact: according to research, the majority of users will spend only 15 seconds on a web page. This means you have very little time to gauge their interest. Here are some important things to consider:

KEEP IT SIMPLE

This not only applies to your design but also your content. Keep your messaging short, clear and concise.

One huge thing to avoid – and I cannot stress this enough – is overwhelming your user with cluttered pages and unnecessary content. Those potential customers are going to leave your site if they feel overwhelmed or stressed out. Think of how much information you are inundated with daily. Why add to the chaos?

Take the time to decide what is important, and what can be left out. Your website visitors aren’t going to read ten paragraphs on an About page. Instead, give them value-packed content in smaller quantities.

BE GENUINE

What are your company’s values? Show us. Show us in a way that you don’t even have to spell it out.

I read a piece a while ago where Stephen King was talking about character development. He was saying that you should never say your character is [insert character defining adjective here], because the reader should be able to make that distinction on their own. For example: you would never say that your main character was likeable, but their personality traits would show through actions and other character’s reactions in the story.

I like to think this also applies to branding. What is your company’s personality? Another thing to consider, is that sincerity goes a long way. People value sincerity and feel connected to brands that are authentic. Be sincere.

PAY ATTENTION TO TRENDS

Does your small business website look like it was created in 2002? Was it created in 2002? It might be time for an update.

Advancements in technology and important updates to HTML and CSS in the past few years have made it possible to create beautiful, breathtaking websites that were just not attainable before.

If your website is falling behind in terms of design, your customers and users will notice. By improving your web design, you’ll be able to improve your credibility – and also your bottom line.

CONVERT

Include call to actions! You’ve got users checking out your company’s page, and that’s great. Now how do you turn them into customers? Clear, punchy call to actions that are easy to follow encourage your users to take the next step.

That’s the whole point of this after all, right?

 

 

Kate Bourque is a branding and web specialist in Ottawa, Canada with a background in design. She’s passionate about brand psychology and why we buy. 

 

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