Just as in any area of marketing, there’s a true art behind designing a great small business website. There is a lot of competition online – likely thousands of other pages in any major field of business – so your website design is crucial. When people visit you at any time, from any place on the globe, your website needs to be ready to impress them at all times.
Standing out is probably the single biggest challenge in small business web design. Great content is a must-have, but even the best content may go ignored if it’s packaged in an unattractive or non-intuitive website design.
We've put together a few tips on how to create a better small business web design. Follow these principles during your next design process, or when you choose your next template, and you’ll have a leg up on the competition!
Four Key Areas Of Focus For Your Small Business Web Design
1 – The First Five Seconds
The single most crucial moment for your website is when a visitor first clicks onto it. You have approximately five seconds before some new viewers will already be clicking away. That’s not a lot of time, and it means your website needs to immediately demonstrate who you are and what you’re about.
Leave out any unnecessary grandstanding animations, or other “catchy” features. They drive off more people than they capture. The first glimpse visitors get of your site should include your name and logo, accompanied by graphics and messaging that make it absolutely clear what your business does. If a visitor to your page might end up wondering what you do, you need more clarity in your web design.
2 – Simplicity
It’s tempting to overload your page with buttons and other options for the visitor to click on, but this is something else to avoid. Your small business web design needs to be clean, with relatively few clickable elements distracting visitors at any one time.
The “Rule of Seven” or Miller’s Law is a well-known psychological principle that states humans can generally only hold about seven items in their short term memory. This tends to be true for everything from phone numbers to presenting buttons on your website. A wall of clickable options will confuse people, so try to keep the options available at any one time to seven or less.
Use nested menus or similar tricks if you need more options.
3 – Whitespace
Many beginning designers fear whitespace, but you shouldn’t. It’s necessary both for good design, and helping to avoid the sort of mental clutter that occurs when Miller’s Law is exceeded.
Don’t cram information into every area of your site. Leave plenty of empty room. This draws the eye to the most important elements, as well as –once again—ensuring that your visitors have no question about what your site is or what they’re supposed to do next.
Whitespace can also be utilized to ‘lead’ your visitors’ eyeballs down a page. Stair-stepped columns or other elements arranged in a deliberate line make a page flow easily and naturally, while guiding the eyes to where you want them to be.
4 – When In Doubt, Leave It Out.
Every element on your website should have a purpose, from copy to graphic flourishes. When you’re creating a website design, ask yourself every now and then, “Why is this element here?”
If you can’t think of a real and specific purpose for the design element, you can probably cut it out and have a better website. As the old saying goes, “Perfection is reached not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”
When perfecting your small business web design strategies, remember that the Internet is always flexible. Experiment, try new things, and keep looking for new approaches that will gain you new leads!