Being a small business usually means that you need to accomplish more with less; here’s how to make your web design better work for you.
When it comes to your small business website, it is a business-imperative to realise this one thing; your website is your best friend, your secret weapon, and above all, the great equalizer.
No, this is not a bunch of millennial marketing-speak hyperbole. Around here we think a “ninja” is a title strictly reserved for the martial arts world and a rock star should never be a title put on a business card. Unlike many of our peers, we take web design very, very seriously.
With introductions aside, let’s take a look at your own corporate website and isolate a few of the mistakes you may currently be making to ensure smooth sailing –more leads, a more thoroughly engaged audience, and that warm-fuzzy feeling in all of your customer’s bellies.
Small Businesses Should Avoid These Web Design Mistakes
1. You’re Yelling
No one likes a tone-deaf karaoke singer, am I right? Is your web design too loud?
While “filling up all available white space” may apply to the Van Gogh’s of the art world, it does not apply to the web. If you are using loud colours and cluttering up your website with too much rich media, too much information, too much gee whiz –stop it. Call your web design company and simplify it, or login to your content management system and do it yourself.
You have 1 to 2 seconds to appeal to the attention deficit of your next online visitor and you’re really doing a number on them if you’re shouting from every darn corner of your web page.
Instead, assign one or maybe two business objectives to each page and ask yourself what they are for each page in your entire website’s site map. If there’s too many, or your primary objective is being shoved around like a teenager at an AC/DC concert, you are doing something wrong.
2. What Do I Do Now?
If your clients are asking themselves this –or you are when going through your website as suggested in the previous point, you’ve stumbled upon number two; if there isn’t some sort of call to action, chalk yourself up for another fail on the fail-o-metre.
Think of your website as a highway with a number of exits; lead your visitor through each one and help them find where they need to get off gracefully to fulfil the mandate for said visitor.
For example, let’s say you’re a toy company and you sell toys for all age groups. Your visitor is likely looking for something in particular, right? Or maybe they don’t know –but they do know they are shopping for a 5-year old girl’s birthday party.
In a situation like that, you’re going to want to make it easy for them to find what they’re looking for with as little clicks as possible (remember that attention deficit!). So what do you do? Add 3 drop-down menus; Gender, age, event type. The second page they visit on your website would have exactly what they’re looking for.
On pages where it isn’t that easy, find a reason to encourage them to share with you. Maybe it’s their email address, a survey, or even a phone call to your business. Would you just give something up for free? Nope. Neither will they. Try creating some bait in the form of a free offer and coax your website visitors into a call to action.
3. Go Where the Wild Things Are
This last one is a biggie. You might think you’re a social media sweetheart. You got a lot of followers, you’re getting social traffic en masse, and gosh darn it, people like you. They really like you.
You didn’t get into this to make friends, you started your business and spent good money on a website. Forget nice. You want conversions.
Look at your competition. What are they doing? The bigger they are, the better to research them. Where do they hang out online? What hash tags do they use? Have they forgone certain social networks in favour of others? Have you followed suit? Competition is a good thing –it proves there’s a market.
So back to that website design. Social buttons are not badges of honour or a passport to cool. Only build in the social media “like” or “share” integrations that paying customers are using. Drop everything else. Because it is important to note that a button that isn’t engaging the right kind of people is merely a link off your website and onto some giant social media monolith.
Think smart, think hard, and roll like your big competition does first. Once you’ve covered all those bases, then you can go back to being that super cool person online that you are in real life.
Money is always first.
Image by citrixonline via Flickr