You’ve seen the small business sites. Links don’t work. There are no social media buttons. Images aren’t sized correctly when you’re viewing them on your tablet. The small business category isn’t known for its award-winning websites. Be the exception. Here’s how to approach website design like a pro.
Create a Navigation Plan That is Intuitive and Inviting
Your site navigation should entice your visitors, not frustrate them. So don’t crowd a page with links. Use them sparingly, and be strategic. Links should graphically communicate your brand identity and contain trigger words. Trigger words help your visitors to find the information they’re looking for or persuade them to explore other paths. And let your visitors know if they’ve previously viewed links with color-coded copy. The goal is to create a navigation plan that is intuitive and inviting.
Showcase Your Business With the Least Amount of Pages
The more website pages, the better, right? Wrong. For many entrepreneurs, a single-page site with parallax scrolling is a professional-looking yet inexpensive design solution. It’s the equivalent of an online business card, and it allows you to feature a company description, examples of your work, your bio, testimonials, and your contact info. On the other hand, if you’re selling a variety of products or services via your website, a multi-paged e-commerce platform is essential. Retail site layouts typically require a page for each product, 360-view and zoom screens, a customer service chat window, a shopping cart, a checkout page, and a post-purchase survey. Map out how you can best showcase your business with the least amount of pages.
Be Image-Driven, Not Copy-Driven
The human brain naturally processes images better than words. Specifically, images are “read” more quickly, understood more clearly, and are retained far longer than copy. As much as possible, use illustrations and photography to communicate your company’s positioning, product benefits, reviews, and website navigation.
Embed Social Media Tools on Your Site
Are you active on social media? Be sure to incorporate the functionality of these accounts, as well as your feeds, on your website. How? Each social media platform has code (referred to as plugins and widgets) that you can drop into your site’s design. That way, you can include a LinkedIn “Follow Company” button under your logo, display your Instagram pictures on your homepage and place Facebook “Like” and “Share” buttons next to your content. These tools allow website visitors to interact with your company across platforms.
Design for All Devices
What good is your website if it can’t be viewed on a smartphone? Not only must your website work for desktops and mobile devices, but adjustments need to be made for the smaller screen, too. A navigation bar is replaced by a hamburger button. Instead of mouse-friendly, links are finger-friendly. Images and text must have pinch-to-zoom programming in place so users can enlarge content. Thoughtful modifications are key to keeping the user experience consistent and seamless across devices.
Don’t be the small business owner who underestimates the marketing might of a well-designed website. Be sure you create an intuitive and inviting navigation plan, decide the fewest amount of pages to best showcase your business, be image-driven, embed social media tools, make your site view-able across devices, and save money with templates. Follow these tips and you’ll go from website rookie to looking like a Webby Award winner.
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