Get Your Small Business Up And Running Quickly
Whether you are a local plumber, a freelance photographer or an electrician, you must have an online presence in today's digital world. Your website design is often the first port of call for customers looking for your services, so it is essential to show off your skills and expertise online.
However, small business website design can be daunting, especially if you have no previous experience. This guide will take you through the process step-by-step, from start to finish, to give you the best chance to make your small business website design successful.
1. Spend Some Time Choosing A Domain Name
Businesses have snapped up many of the best domain names, but they stop trading for many reasons and domain names are constantly recycled, so it's worth taking some time to look around.
I highly recommend looking at Acorn Domains, where many of the top UK domain traders hang out, and you can often pick up a bargain for less than a hundred pounds.
Keep these pointers in mind when looking for a domain name:
- Keep it easy to spell and pronounce
- Short and memorable
- Relevant to your business or personal brand
- Not too similar to other domain names
- Has a .co.uk extension (or another relevant extension for your country/region)
One often overlooked method for obtaining an excellent domain name is to use your name as the brand. That way, the business can evolve without being restricted by the domain name.
2. Choose The Right Small Business Software Platform
One of the first things you'll need to do is choose a platform. There are dozens of website development platforms, but WordPress is far and away the most popular. Here are four reasons why you should choose WordPress for your website:
1. WordPress is easy to use. Even if you're not tech-savvy, you'll be able to figure out how to use WordPress quickly. The platform is intuitive and user-friendly, and there's plenty of documentation available if you need help.
2. WordPress is flexible. Whether you want to create a simple blog or a complex website, WordPress can handle it. Thousands of themes and plugins are available, so you can customise your website however you want.
3. WordPress is well-supported. A large community of users and developers is always willing to help if you encounter any problems. And because WordPress is so popular, there's no shortage of helpful resources like tutorials and forums.
4. WordPress is free. While there are some costs associated with hosting and domain names, using WordPress itself will cost you nothing. That makes it an ideal platform for those on a budget.
If you're planning to sell products or services on your website, you'll need to choose a platform designed for eCommerce. Shopify is one of the best options out there, and it's what I recommend for small businesses and entrepreneurs who want to build an online store. Here are four reasons why Shopify is a good choice:
1. Shopify is easy to use. Just like WordPress, Shopify is easy to set up and use, even if you're not a tech-savvy person. The platform is intuitive and user-friendly, so you'll be able to get your store up and running in no time.
2. Shopify is customisable. Hundreds of themes and plugins are available, so you can tailor your store to match your brand. And if you need help with customisation, there's no shortage of Shopify experts who can lend a hand.
3. Shopify is reliable. Shopify's servers will host your store, so you don't have to worry about downtime or server issues. And because Shopify is a well-established platform, you can rest assured that it will be around for the long haul.
4. Shopify has excellent features for selling online. In addition to selling physical and digital products, Shopify offers features like automatic tax calculations, abandoned cart recovery, and fraud analysis. So no matter how you want to sell online, Shopify has plugins available, so you can tailor your store to match your brand. And if you need help with customisation, there's no shortage of Shopify experts who can lend a hand.
Help To Grow
It's also worth checking out the Government Help to Grow digital scheme, which now offers a 50% discount on approved eCommerce software from the 25th of July 2022.
- The government’s Help to Grow: Digital scheme is nearly tripling in reach, supporting up to 1.2 million UK businesses to adopt the latest digital technology
- Businesses with 1 to 249 employees can now access discounts worth up to £5,000 on approved software
- eCommerce software has recently been added to the scheme, helping businesses to sell online and reach new markets
EKM is an approved eCommerce growth partner, and this EKM review will give you all the information you need to get started.
3. Create A Clear And Concise Website Structure
The next step is to create a clear and concise website structure that's easy for visitors to understand. There are a few ways to do this:
1. Use simple menus. Don't try to cram too many menu items into your navigation bar. Stick to the essentials, and organise your menu items in a way that makes sense.
2. Use clear and descriptive titles. The title of each page should be clear and explanatory, so visitors know what they'll find on that page.
3. Use supporting text. In addition to using titles, use short paragraphs of text to explain the purpose of each page further, helping visitors understand what they'll find on that page, and it will also help search engines index your content.
4. Use images and videos. Images and videos are a great way to break up text and add visual interest to your website. But be sure to use them sparingly, as too many can make your site seem cluttered.
5. Use calls to action. A call to action is a statement or button that encourages visitors to take a specific action, like signing up for a newsletter or making a purchase. Including calls to action on your website will help you convert more visitors into leads or customers.
4. Design Your Website For Mobile Devices
More and more people are using their smartphones and tablets to browse the internet, so it's crucial to design your website with mobile devices in mind. There are a few things to keep in mind when designing for mobile:
1. Use a responsive design. A responsive design is a website that automatically adjusts to fit the viewable screen size of the device, that way, and your content will always look its best.
2. Use larger font sizes. Small font sizes are difficult to read on small screens, so make sure your text is large enough to be easy to read.
3. Use small images. Large images can take forever to load on a mobile device, so use small, optimised photos instead.
4. Use touch-friendly elements. Buttons and links should be large enough to tap on a small screen easily. And make sure your website's forms are easy to fill out on a mobile device.
5. Use less content. Mobile visitors have shorter attention spans than desktop visitors, so keeping your content concise and to the point is essential.
5. Optimise Your Website For Search Engines
If you want your small business website to succeed, you need to ensure it is search engine optimised. Here are a few things you can do to optimise your site:
1. Use keyword-rich titles and descriptions. When creating titles and descriptions for your pages, use keywords that accurately describe the page's content, helping your pages rank higher in search results.
2. Use keyword-rich text. In addition to using keywords in your titles and descriptions, be sure to use them throughout the body of your text, helping search engines understand what your pages are about and helping them rank your pages higher in search results.
3. Use alt tags for images. When adding images to your website, include alt tags, these small pieces of text describe the picture and help search engines index your content.
4. Use sitemaps. Sitemaps are files that list all of your website's pages and help search engines index your content. Be sure to submit your sitemap to Google so they can crawl your site and add your pages to their search results.
5. Use Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a free tool that allows you to track the traffic to your website. This information can help you understand how visitors interact with your site, and it can also help you optimise your site for better performance.
6. Use High-Quality Images
Images are a great way to add visual interest to your small business website. But it's essential to use high-quality graphic design relevant to your business. Here are a few tips for choosing the right images:
1. Use professional photos. If you use images of your products or services, be sure to use professional-looking photos. Poorly lit or blurry images will reflect poorly on your business.
2. Use lifestyle shots. In addition to product shots, consider using lifestyle shots that show your products in use, helping potential customers visualise using your products or services in their own lives.
3. Use stock photos sparingly. Stock photos can be a great way to add visual interest to your website. But be sure to use them sparingly, as too many can make your site look unprofessional.
4. Use original photos. Original photos are always the best choice, as they're unique to your business. If you don't have any actual photos, consider hiring a photographer to take some for you.
5. Use relevant photos. Be sure your images are relevant to your business and your target audience. Irrelevant photos will only serve to distract and confuse visitors.
7. Write Compelling Copy That Sells Your Products Or Services.
Your small business website needs to do more than look good—it also needs to sell your products or services. And the best way to do that is with compelling copy that speaks to your target audience. Here are a few tips for writing copy that sells:
1. Know your audience. Before you start writing, take some time to understand what your target audience is looking for, helping you create copy that resonates and speaks to your customers' needs.
2. Write benefit-oriented copy. When crafting your copy, focus on the benefits of your products or services. What will your customers get out of using them? How will their lives be improved? Answering these questions will help you write copy that sells.
3. Use persuasive language. In addition to focusing on the benefits of your products or services, use compelling speech throughout your copy, convincing potential customers that they need what you're selling.
4. Use strong calls to action. Calls to action (or CTAs) are a vital part of any sales message, and they tell your readers what you want them to do next. Make your CTAs clear and concise, so visitors know what to do.
5. Test your copy. Once you've written your copy, it's crucial to test it out to see how it performs. Try A/B testing different versions of your copy to see which gets the best results.
8. Add Testimonials And Reviews.
Potential customers are more likely to trust your small business if they see that other people have had positive experiences with you. That's why adding testimonials and reviews to your website is vital. Here are a few tips for doing so:
1. Ask for testimonials. Ask your customers for a testimonial when you deliver a great product or service. They can provide a written testimonial or record a video testimonial that you can post on your site.
2. Add customer reviews. In addition to testimonials, consider adding customer reviews to your website. You can add a review widget to your site or post customer reviews on third-party sites like Google and Yelp.
3. Display your awards and accolades. If your small business has won any awards or honours, display them prominently on your website, showing potential customers that you're a reputable and trustworthy business.
4. Use social proof. Social proof is the idea that people are more likely to trust a business if they see that others are doing so. You can use social proof by displaying testimonials, reviews, and awards on your website or by linking to positive media mentions.
5. Make it easy to leave a review. If you want customers to leave reviews, make it easy for them to include links to review sites on your website or add a review widget that makes it simple for visitors to leave a review.
9. Include a blog
1. Plan your content. Before you start writing, take some time to plan out your content. What topics will you cover? Who is your target audience? What kind of tone will you use? Answering these questions will help you create a successful blog.
2. Write interesting and informative posts. Once you have a plan for your blog, it's time to start writing. Be sure to write interesting and informative posts that will engage your readers.
4. Interact with your readers. A successful blog is more than just a one-way communication channel. Be sure to interact with your readers by responding to comments and questions and creating a community around your small business.
5. Update your blog regularly. If you want people to keep coming back to your blog, you must update it regularly with fresh content. Aim to post new articles at least once a week and more often if possible.
Now that you know what's involved with creating a beautiful website contact us for a quote and let us do all the hard work for you!