Here are some of the key topics we’ll cover:
Table of Contents
Before getting started, let’s look at why you would need a website!
If you want your business to succeed in the online world, having a professionally designed website is essential.
Simply having a site is no longer enough to attract customers, increase sales, and achieve success in today’s competitive digital landscape.
You’ll want a site that is well-designed, efficient and built to perform at a high level. Whether you make your website yourself or choose an affordable web design company to do it for you, it needs to be right.
We understand the unique challenges and opportunities that you may face when it comes to website design.
That’s why we’ve compiled the best tips and advice for creating a top-performing website.
In this comprehensive guide, you’ll learn about the key elements of a great website.
Whether you’re a new startup needing a new website or looking to refresh your existing site, these tips are for you.
Take our word for it, you need a website!
Before diving into the best small business website design tips to create an effective website, it’s important to understand the basics of why you need one in the first place.
In today’s digital age, it’s rare to find a business that doesn’t have a website.
There are many reasons why a website is crucial for businesses, small or otherwise.
While the specific functions of a website may vary depending on the business and its goals, all websites generally serve the following three core purposes:
- To provide information about the business and its products or services
- To help market your business around the clock
- To generate leads and sales
Websites for small businesses need to work just as hard as any other site out there.
A website needs to attract more customers, boost sales, and help you achieve success on the web.
To provide information about the business and its products or services
Today, it’s more important than ever to have a strong online presence if you want to stand out and attract customers.
With so many options available, it’s essential to find a way to get noticed and differentiate your business from the competition.
A website is a fantastic tool for doing just that.
It’s like a giant flag waving in the virtual world, saying “Hey! We’re here and we’re worth checking out!”
With a well-designed and effective website, you can reach a wider audience, establish credibility and professionalism, and ultimately grow your business.
The best small business websites, market your company around the clock
If you’re a business owner, a website is a valuable asset that can help you reach new customers and grow your sales.
One of the key benefits of having a small business website design can be the ability to use an e-commerce platform to sell your products directly to customers online.
This means that as soon as someone lands on your website, they can make a purchase without any physical interaction on your part.
Even if you don’t sell physical products, your website can still be a powerful tool for generating leads, newsletter sign-ups, email enquiries, and more.
And the best part is that it will do all of this for you even when you’re not around.
With a well-designed website, you can make the most of every opportunity to connect with potential customers and grow your business.
To generate leads and sales, whether you have an e-commerce site or not
Have you ever made a purchase from a business online without knowing anything about them?
When it comes to important decisions, such as buying an appliance or looking for a service, most people want to do their research and make sure they’re choosing a reliable and trustworthy company.
In fact, according to WebFX, 88% of consumers research a company online before making a purchase, and a website is the most common starting point for this research.
This is especially true today, with more and more people having access to the internet and can browse on the go.
Today’s customers want to know as much as possible about what they’re buying, and they want to feel confident that they’re getting it from the best possible source.
This is where a professional website shines!
By providing customers with all the information they need about your business and products, you can help them make informed decisions and feel good about choosing your company.
And the more information you provide, the more trust you’ll build with potential customers.
It’s crazy to think, in a recent survey from 2022, nearly 27% of all small businesses still don’t have a website.
Our guide is intended to help you create an amazing site whether you do it yourself or start with a design agency.
Start by Setting Your Goals, Before You Try And Get Your Business Online
Before you start designing your website, it’s important to plan and set clear goals.
Without a clear purpose, your website won’t be able to perform at its best.
This doesn’t have to be a complicated process – all you need to do is think about a few key questions:
- Who is your website for and who is your target audience?
- What do you want your website to achieve? This could be generating sales through an eCommerce platform, attracting phone calls to your business, getting users to sign up for your email list, or something else.
- How will you measure success?
- Are you looking to get a high number of conversions or just a lot of attention and visitors?
Answering these questions will help you focus your small business website design and prioritise the technical aspects of your website.
For example, if you want to allow customers to book an appointment and be able to pay a deposit your website is a great way to do this. This is a good goal.
By setting clear goals, you’ll be able to create a website that meets the needs of your business and helps you achieve your objectives.
If you’re having trouble with this step, bring it back to basics, and ask yourself:
“what outcome do I want a potential customer to do?”.
Simply having a website built without clear goals will not really help you.
Use Strong Call-to-Actions (CTAs) in Your Small Business Website Design
Now that you know the goals and purpose of your small business website, it’s time to think about how you’ll get customers to take the actions you want them to.
One effective way to do this is by using call-to-actions (CTAs).
CTAs are short, commanding phrases that tell users what to do.
You’ll often see them on successful websites, urging visitors to click on them.
For example, it could be a button on your website saying “Buy now” – it’s a decisive action that you want to clearly get the visitor to perform.
Some best practices for designing effective CTAs include:
- Making the CTA prominent and easy to find on the page
- Using action-oriented language, such as “Sign Up Now” or “Learn More”
- Using contrasting colours to make the CTA stand out from the rest of the page
- Placing the CTA in a logical and relevant location on the page
Effective website CTAs should be direct and concise.
They should give a clear command without any hesitation or politeness.
For example, “apply now” is a strong CTA because it’s a simple, straightforward command.
It’s also important to think about where you place your CTAs on your website.
Generally, they should appear “above the fold” or in other words on the website before a visitor would scroll down the page.
This makes it easy for visitors to see what action they need to take.
According to research “CTAs placed above the fold convert up to 304% better than those placed below the fold.” Also, HubSpot’s “State of Inbound” report found that including a call to action on a landing page or homepage can increase conversions by up to 121%.
So you can see how important they are!
CTAs can also be effective when placed next to content that relates directly to the action.
However, you don’t want to overuse them or place them in a way that might confuse users.
Again going back to planning, if your website goal is to get people to ‘book an appointment then that should be your main call to action.
Highlight Your Unique Selling Point (USP) on Your Small Business Website
Your unique selling point (USP) is what sets your business apart from the competition and convinces customers to choose you over others.
It could be anything from a price guarantee, money back, try-before-you-buy or free delivery for instance.
It’s essential to know what your USP is, as it will help you stand out and differentiate your business from others.
If you can’t easily answer what makes you special to a potential customer over another online competitor (USP) you may struggle to attract any customers at all.
Once you know your USP, make sure to highlight it prominently on your site. It’s about getting your business to stand out.
For example, if you’re a vet that offers 24-hour emergency opening times. You know your competitor businesses don’t, make that your headline at the top of the site.
There are a few key factors that can help make a company’s USP stand out:
- Clarity: The USP should be clear and easy to understand, making it immediately apparent your products and services offer a benefit.
- Relevance: The USP should be relevant to your target audience. It should address a specific pain point or problem that the company’s products or services are able to solve.
- Specificity: The USP should be specific and not overly broad or vague. It should clearly describe the unique benefits or features of the company’s products or services.
- Credibility: The USP should be credible and backed up by evidence or examples. This can help to build trust with potential customers.
Your USPs should be used also within your digital marketing and offline marketing efforts.
By focusing on these factors, you can create a USP that effectively communicates the unique value of your products or services and stand out in your marketplace.
Choose a Good Domain Name for Your Small Business Website
Your domain name is your website’s address.
Choose a good domain name that is easy to spell, remember, and type.
Ideally, your domain name should be the same as your business name.
However, if that’s not possible (because it’s already taken or for some other reason), you’ll need to be creative.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Make it easy to spell. If your domain name is hard to spell, you’ll risk turning away customers who can’t find your website because they accidentally typed it in wrong.
- Keep it short and sweet. A long or complicated domain name will be harder for customers to remember and type.
- Consider using a .com or .co.uk extension. These are the most common and trusted extensions, although there are a few exceptions (such as .gov, .edu, and .org).
- Avoid using numbers or hyphens. These can make your domain name harder to remember and type, and may not be seen as trustworthy.
- Make sure your domain name reflects your business and brand. It should be a clear and accurate representation of what you do and who you are.
By following these guidelines, you’ll be able to choose a domain name that helps your small business website design succeed.
Incorporate a Strong “About Us” Section on your website
Your website is your opportunity to tell customers who you are, what you do, and why they should choose you over the competition.
It’s important to get this information right and to make it easy for customers to find.
While you don’t necessarily need a dedicated “About Us” page, you should know what information your customers are interested in.
Turn visitors into customers by including following info:
- A brief overview of the company, including its mission, vision, and values.
- The history of the company and how it was founded.
- An introduction to the team or key members of the company.
- Information on the company’s products or services.
- Testimonials or case studies from satisfied customers.
- Social proof, such as media mentions or industry awards.
- Contact information, including a phone number and email address.
- Social media integration and links.
- Create beautiful forms for visitors to sign up for updates or newsletters.
- A call to action, such as inviting visitors to learn more about the company or make a purchase
The specific elements to include on your “About” page will depend on the nature of your business and your target audience.
The goal of the page should be to provide visitors with info on who the company is, what it does, and why it is unique.
For example, if you’re making a UK-based e-commerce website that sells mainly sustainable or green gifts. Then you should include information on things such as your focus on the environment. That you’re using carbon-neutral materials or that you have been accredited with an environmental award.
No matter whether you have a multipage or a one-page website, it’s crucial to include your contact information on your website.
This gives customers a way to get in touch with you and adds an extra level of trust and accountability.
By including a strong “About Us” section in your small business website design, you’ll be able to build trust and credibility with your customers.
Create a Visual Impact with Your Small Business Website Design
A great-looking website is important for engaging and retaining customers.
A recent study by Neil Patel found that “38% of people will leave a website if they find the layout and design unattractive.”
That doesn’t mean you should go overboard with the graphic design, using lots of vivid colours or flashy animation everywhere.
You want a clean, attractive design with the occasional pop of colour and visual interest that draw the eye to the right information.
If you use too many colours and GIFs when you build your site, it can be overwhelming and confusing for customers.
Here are some simple web design principles to follow:
- Use a cohesive colour scheme and font choices throughout the website.
- Use high-quality images. There are loads of free and premium stock sites.
- Use whitespace effectively to create a clean, uncluttered look.
- Use clear and descriptive headings to organise content and make it easy to quickly read.
- Use responsive design techniques to ensure that the website looks good on different devices or design templates that are mobile responsive.
By following these steps, you can create a visually appealing and user-friendly website.
Make Your Customers A Priority On Your Website
Your website should be centred around your customers, not just your business.
All of the information, web pages, and media marketing you create should be designed to what the customer will want and need.
Remember your website is going to be used as a tool to help with achieving your goals. It’s not there just as a vanity project for your business.
It all boils down to your audience or buyer persona, know who they are and give them what they want.
I hear you ask “what is a buyer persona?”
A buyer persona is a fictional representation of a company’s ideal customer.
It is based on market research and real data about your customer’s demographics, behaviours, goals, and motivations.
Creating a buyer persona can help you better understand your target audience and tailor your marketing and sales efforts to better meet the needs and interests of your customers.
For example, if you’re an online shop selling high-fashion clothing to the 18-24-year-old female market. You will also probably know that the majority may not have a huge disposable income.
With that in mind, you could look at providing a payment gateway on your website that allows for split payments like Klarna, ClearPay or LayBuy.
That will be something they would probably like, to spread the cost over a few weeks or months.
On the other hand, if you’re selling products to a hard-rock-orientated crowd, they probably won’t want rainbows and unicorns on the site, it’s probably not what they are looking for.
Understand your audience, know what they want and update your website so it to gives to them!
Easy-to-read fonts and text
If you are in search of a small business website design that not only looks great but is easy for your customers to read. Then you seriously need to consider the font that is used.
Font choice is crucial and will give a positive impression of you!
While fancy, decorative fonts may seem tempting to use, it’s best to save them for headlines. Use one or two easy-to-read fonts for the main text.
There are hundreds that are considered “web-safe” and work well across different browsers.
Some popular choices include:
- Times New Roman
These fonts are widely available on most operating systems and devices. They’re less likely to cause issues with compatibility.
Using web-safe fonts can help ensure that your site looks consistent and professional no matter where it’s accessed.
Keep in mind however with the advances in web technologies most standard fonts will work well on most devices and browsers.
It’s a good practice to have a backup font in case users couldn’t load the intended font for any reason.
When it comes to small business website design, it’s best to stick with web-safe fonts that are widely available.
This can help ensure that your site looks consistent across different browsers and devices. Giving your customers a positive experience and helping to build trust in your business.
Website fonts for the visually impaired
When it comes to creating a website, it should be accessible to everyone. For those with visual impairments, the size of the font is an important consideration.
Having text that is too small can make it difficult for people with vision problems to read.
One of the best ways to ensure that your font size is large enough for everyone is to use a responsive design for your website.
This means that the font size will automatically adjust to the size of the screen used to view the site.
People who are accessing your site from a large desktop monitor will see larger text than those who are viewing it on a smaller mobile device screen.
This can make it much easier for people with visual impairments to read the content on your site, regardless of the device they are using.
It is also a good idea to give users the option to increase or decrease the font size themselves.
Within the right platforms such as WordPress, you can use a font size adjuster as an accessibility feature on the website.
By providing this option, users can adjust the size of the text to their personal preferences. This can make it easy to navigate and for them to read and understand the content on your website.
Ultimately, the size of the font on your website is an important consideration. Creating your website on the right platform for your business that offers an accessible and user-friendly experience for all visitors, including those with visual impairments.
Keep your branding consistent to achieve a great website
For every website for a business, small or large, branding is an incredibly important aspect to think about. Whether it’s an online store or a brochure website it really doesn’t matter.
Your website is often the first point of contact that potential customers or have with your business, and it’s important to make a great first impression.
Branding within a website or any design project needs to have consistent branding.
This includes things like the colour scheme, typography, and imagery used.
These elements should all be consistent with your brand’s overall look. They should make it clear to visitors that they are on your website.
Another important aspect to consider is the messaging and tone used throughout the site.
This should also be consistent with your brand’s overall messaging and should be used to create a seamless experience for visitors.
It’s also important to ensure that your branding is prominently displayed on the website. Such as your logo and tagline and contact details top right.
This will help visitors identify your brand and will make it easy for them to remember your business.
Finally, it’s essential to make sure that your website is mobile-friendly and responsive.
All branding elements should be optimised for any device that it’s being viewed on.
Take our word for it, when designing a website, branding and design are important.
Easy website navigation helps users and your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
When it comes to small business website design, easy navigation is paramount. It also plays a roll in your website’s search engine optimisation.
Navigation refers to the process of a user moving around a website, and it can make a big difference in the user experience.
A website with easy navigation is one that visitors can find their way around easily, find the information they need quickly and seamlessly, and move from one page to another with ease.
There are a few key elements that constitute easy website navigation, which include a clear and consistent layout, intuitive labels for each page and section, and a simple and easy-to-use menu.
A well-designed menu should be easily visible and accessible from any page on the website, and it should be organized in a logical and intuitive manner.
Here are a few points to help ensure your website visitors have a great and easy experience navigating around your website:
- Consistent layout: A consistent layout across the website helps visitors know what to expect and where to find the information they need.
- Intuitive page and section labels: Clear and descriptive labels help visitors understand what they can find on each page and section of the website.
- Simple and easy-to-use menu: A simple and easy-to-use menu that is always accessible, makes it easy for visitors to find the information they need and move around the website.
- Search bar: A search bar is an important feature as it allows visitors to find the specific information they are looking for quickly and easily.
- Breadcrumb navigation: Showing the hierarchy of the website content and the position of the current page, can help visitors understand where they are on the website and how to go back to previous pages.
- Hyperlinks: Using links throughout the website, such as “Read more”, “Learn more”, etc, can help visitors access more information about a topic or product without having to navigate away from the current page.
- Accessibility: Making sure that the website is accessible to all users, including those with disabilities, can help ensure that all visitors can navigate the website with ease.
Having easy navigation on your website not only makes it more user-friendly but also has some key benefits for your small business.
Easy navigation can improve the overall user experience, make it more likely that visitors will stay on your site longer, and increase the chances that they will convert into customers. Additionally, having easy navigation can make it simpler for Search Engines to crawl and index your website, which can ultimately result in better visibility and ranking.
Ensure your website is mobile-responsive, most web designers will do this as standard
A mobile-responsive website is a website that is designed to adapt to the size and layout of the device on which it is being viewed. This means that whether a user is visiting the website on a desktop computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone, the website will automatically adjust its layout and functionality to provide an optimal viewing and user experience.
Here are some of the benefits of having a mobile-responsive website:
- Increased mobile traffic: With more and more people accessing the internet on their smartphones, a mobile-responsive website can help you tap into this growing market and attract more mobile users to your site.
- Improved user experience: By providing a consistent, easy-to-use experience across all devices, a mobile responsive website can help improve the overall user experience and make it more likely that visitors will stay on your site and convert into customers.
- Better search engine rankings: Search engines like Google have stated that responsive design is one of the signals used by its algorithm to rank pages. This means that having a mobile responsive website can help you rank higher in search engine results, making it more likely that people will find your site when they’re looking for what you offer.
- Reduced development and maintenance costs: Having separate mobile and desktop websites can be time-consuming and costly to maintain. With a mobile responsive design, you have to maintain only one site.
According to a report from research from Statista, mobile devices accounted for 58.99% of all digital media consumption in the first quarter of 2022.
This number is expected to continue to grow in the coming years, by 2025 it is predicted that three-quarters of all internet users will only access it via mobile.
Having a mobile responsive website is no longer an option, but a requirement to keep up with users’ behaviour and technologies.
Make sure your web pages only include relevant content
Keeping your website free from unnecessary or irrelevant content is an important aspect of creating a user-friendly and effective website.
When a website is cluttered with irrelevant information, it can make it difficult for users to find what they’re looking for, which can lead to frustration and a higher bounce rate.
By cleaning up your website and removing irrelevant content, you can make it more focused and easier to navigate. This can improve the user experience and make it more likely that visitors will stick around and ultimately convert into customers.
When considering which elements to remove from your website, it’s important to consider a few things:
- First, take a look at your website’s analytics to see which pages or sections are not receiving much traffic or engagement. This can be a good indication that the content on those pages is not resonating with your target audience and should be removed or updated.
- Second, think about the purpose of your website and what you want visitors to do when they get there. Are there any pages or sections that don’t align with that goal? If so, it may be best to remove them so that visitors are more focused on the content that is relevant to them.
- Third, review the content on your website to ensure that it is accurate, up-to-date and useful for the user. Outdated or irrelevant information can turn away potential customers or readers as well.
By simplifying your website, it will be easier for users to find the information they need and help them to stay on the site longer.
By removing irrelevant content and focusing on what matters most, your website can become more efficient, user-friendly and ultimately more successful.
Website content should always to true
It’s important to ensure that the content on your website is truthful and accurate, not only to build trust with your audience but also to avoid potential legal and reputational issues.
Here are a few reasons why:
- Trust: When your audience finds that the information on your website is not true, they lose trust in your website and your brand. This can lead to a loss of customers and a decrease In the overall business.
- Legal issues: Misleading or false information on your website can get you in hot water and can lead to legal issues. This is especially true if it harms someone else’s business or reputation. It is important to be sure of the information you are sharing and the source of it.
- False selling: If you sell products on your website, if they have misleading descriptions, provide incorrect information or if a customer buys an item that is not as described it will cause you problems.
- Reputation: False or misleading information can harm your reputation and it can be very hard to regain the trust of the public once it’s been lost. This is especially true in today’s digital age, where news and information spread quickly and reputations can be damaged just as quickly.
- Search Engine Optimisation: Search engines like Google have started to penalise sites with false information and factually incorrect information on their pages. If you start getting bad reviews even on third-party sites like Facebook, Google Business Profile or any other site it can have a negative impact on your ranking, the ultimate sanction is Google my remove your site entirely from its results.
It’s important to remember that your website is often the first point of contact for many of your potential customers, and it’s crucial to make sure that the information you provide is truthful and accurate.
By ensuring that your website’s content is truthful, you will build trust with your audience, avoid potential legal issues, and protect your reputation.
Include social media links on your website
Having social media links on your website can be a great way to connect with your audience and promote your business.
There are many benefits of including social media links on your website:
- Increased visibility: By linking to your social media profiles from your website, you can drive more traffic to your social media pages, which can help increase your overall visibility and reach.
- Engagement: By providing links to your social media profiles, you can encourage your website visitors to engage with your brand on social media. This engagement can take many forms, such as likes, shares, comments and followers.
- Building community: Having links to your social media profiles on your website can help you to build a community around your brand. By engaging with your followers on social media, you can create a sense of community and connection with your audience.
- Social Proof: Having a large number of followers and engagement on your social media accounts can be an indicator of trust and authority in your field. When people see that your social media profiles have a large following, they may be more likely to trust your brand and feel more comfortable doing business with you.
- Cost-effective marketing: Having a strong social media presence can be a cost-effective way to market your business. Having links to your social media profiles on your website can help you to build a following and create engagement on social media, which can help you to reach a large audience without having to spend a lot of money on advertising.
- It allows you to share fresh, relevant and up-to-date content: You can use social media to share fresh and relevant content that is not included on your website. This gives your audience a reason to come back to your website again and again.
Adding social media links to your website is a simple but powerful way to connect with your audience and promote your business. By doing so, you can increase visibility, and engagement, build community and even save costs on your marketing efforts.
One final point worth mentioning is, if you know you’re busy and can only handle a few social media accounts select only one or two.
There is no reason to have tens of social accounts on different platforms if you aren’t going to be active, that will hurt you. It’s better to be active on a few than spread yourself too thinly.
Ensure your website and visitors are safe
When it comes to small business website design, security should be considered a top priority.
Having a secure website can help protect your business and your customers from potential cyber threats.
Why website security is so important:
- Protecting sensitive information: Your website may collect sensitive information from your customers, such as personal information, financial data or login credentials. If your website is not properly secured, this information could be vulnerable to theft or breaches, which can be a major liability for your business.
- Ensuring compliance: Many industries are subject to strict regulations regarding the handling and storage of sensitive information such as GDPR. If your website is not secure, you may be in violation of these regulations, which could result in hefty fines.
- Maintaining customer trust: If your customers know that your website is secure, they will be more likely to trust your business and feel comfortable sharing their personal and sensitive information with you.
- Increasing conversions: Having a secure website can help increase conversions by giving customers peace of mind when making a purchase, submitting a form, or providing personal information.
Here are a few security measures that a small business website designer should consider implementing:
- SSL certificate encrypts the data sent between your website and its visitors, making it more difficult for hackers to intercept or steal sensitive information.
- Strong passwords, which can help prevent unauthorised access to your website’s backend.
- A firewall can help prevent cyberattacks, such as denial-of-service (DoS) attacks.
- Regular security updates to your website and its software and plugins.
- Regular backups of your website’s content, so that in case of emergency you can restore the site.
website security is crucial for small business website design and build, not only to protect your business from potential cyber threats but also to keep your customer’s trust and increase conversions.
There is a lot to consider when you’re looking to build a new website or improve your current one. This guide is meant as a starting point to get you moving in the right direction! We’d love your feedback and comments.