7 INGREDIENTS OF GREAT WEBSITE DESIGN FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
Let’s start with some fun facts! There are about 4.57 billion active Internet users around the globe, meaning that nearly 59% of the world’s population is looking for information online. In the United Kingdom, 63.5 million people surf the web which is about 95% of its population. These ever-growing numbers clearly project huge opportunities for businesses.
Nowadays, the majority of consumers search for product and service information before buying. They look at ratings, reviews, and forums. The higher the price tag of the product or service, the more time they will typically spend on research. Not just those consumers care about your website who shop online frequently. Another global survey found out that 74% of in-store shoppers searched online prior to going to the store for in-store related information such as locations of shops, opening hours, potential wait times, contact information, etc.
These numbers indicate how important it is to have a well-designed website. Sooner or later, your potential consumers will land on your business website. Your site implies your level of professionalism, trustworthiness, authenticity, so you need to ensure that it delivers the right message. People tend to judge the book by its cover, so give them a modern, visually appealing, well-designed website to judge your business by!
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT FOR A SMALL BUSINESS TO HAVE A WEBSITE THAT STANDS OUT?
There is an ocean of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the UK. To be more exact: 99.9% of all businesses are categorised as SMEs (0-249 employees), and actually 99.2% are small or micro businesses (0-49 employees). Most companies operate in competitive markets, so you need to stand out in every way possible in order to convince consumers to choose you.
Think for a moment about how many different websites you visit a day, a week and a month. It is hard to even guess. You can probably list a few sites from the top of your head that were terribly designed, making your visit frustrating and painful. And surely, you can also provide examples on the other end of the spectrum, leaving you with pleasant experiences. These memories stick.
Poorly designed websites will make consumers feel that you are not professional enough, question your credibility and authority as a business. As a result, they might choose your competitor who had done a much better job convincing them with their web design. A website needs to be professionally designed, clean, contemporary that wows visitors. They might just want to check out your business location or open times, but, with amazing web design, you can persuade them to stay longer and engage with your content. That is the goal.
Furthermore, the ongoing pandemic made people realize that the future is in an ever more digitalized world. With lockdowns around the globe, people spend many more hours a day on the web. Consumers have never shopped online more so the geographic scope of the competition is expanding (of course it is highly dependent on your market and offerings).
Businesses need to adapt the way they communicate with their customers and improve how they present themselves online. Your web design needs to stand out from the sea of your competitors.
BRANDING AND WEBSITE DESIGN
Branding can help you overcome business challenges that small companies are so commonly set against. Professional, modern branding can help increase your sales and profits, grow your business, increase your market share, create the right perceptions and charge a premium price, amongst its other benefits. With strong branding, your business can become your consumers’ go-to brand, their first choice over your competitors. One of the most important elements of great branding is powerful website design.
Website design can effectively deliver your brand essence that will help associate your company with positive emotions and stay in your customers’ minds in the long run. Brand essence is all the attributes and qualities consumers associate with enterprises and their product or service offerings. It is how your customers perceive your business and its values.
If you would like to learn more on branding, go and check out our other helpful articles!
WEBSITE DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT
Website design and development can be a daunting task. Designing it on your own without professional help can certainly be done, but it requires a lot of effort and time. It can seem like a never-ending trial and error process. Lots of aspects of a website need a thorough consideration: its purpose, the domain name, the host server and page contents. You also need to decide if it should have a blog section, and how it should be advertised on social media sites and on search engines.
More than 3.5 billion Google searches are performed a day, so search engine optimisation (SEO) goes a long way to make your webpages visible to your potential customers. Poorly optimised websites result in high bounce rates, which will cause your site ranking to decline. Our 7 quick tips can give a great way to start with SEO.
Today, over 52.6% of worldwide web traffic comes from mobile devices. This number suggests the importance of having a website that works flawlessly on both desktop and mobile devices. Google does put a huge emphasis on mobile-friendliness: it is a ranking factor. Search algorithms check whether a website is optimised for smartphones and tablets. If they are not, they will not rank them well. Moreover, favoured sites by Google must load promptly, be reliable, and appear correctly in different browsers.
Errors and misunderstandings can easily be made with no previous experience. We have collected the top 6 costly mistakes that you must avoid when designing your website.
WHAT MAKES GREAT WEBSITE DESIGN?
1) CLARITY OF PURPOSE
Every aspect of great website design is well thought out: from the colours of the page elements to the placement of the business logo to the use of images and white spaces. None of the elements should be incorporated without a purpose. Less is sometimes more. Especially in web design.
2) PRECISE USP AND VALUE PROPOSITION
Excellent web design clearly emphasises the unique selling points (UPSs) of a business and communicates its value proposition. It is an important tool to convince customers to buy from your business and not from your competitors.
3) CONVERSION OPTIMISATION
Websites should be optimised for increasing inquiries and generating leads through well-designed conversion paths, sales funnels and calls to action. But it should not be too ‘salesy’. Being aggressive and pushy can scare customers away and leave them feeling spammed. Finding the right balance is key.
4) SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION
In order to reach potential customers and start converting leads, a website needs to be findable on search engines and not buried on pages where no one looks. SEO is important as it brings organic traffic to your site which is highly valuable. Titles, headlines, URLs, meta descriptions, images, and page contents can be SEO optimised. Great web design can turn curious searchers into buyers.
5) CUSTOMER FOCUS
Many of your potential customers will look at your website before even considering buying from you. Think of it as the very first impression you will make on them. When you meet someone, especially for the first time, you probably would not enjoy a one-sided conversation. It is only about the other person, who is rambling endlessly without caring for you. Find the balance and be assertive! A website should be designed with potential customers in mind: it exists to help them solve their problems, fulfil their wants, answer their needs and questions.
6) EASE OF USE
Visitors quickly want to find the information they came for to the website, without spending precious time on figuring out how to use it. Impatient internet users will leave sites they cannot understand, it makes them frustrated and annoyed. User experience must be flawless. A well-designed user interface is clean, responsive, and interactive. It should be evident how to operate and browse around your website with no or little explanation. This even enables a site to rank higher in search engine results.
7) VISUAL APPEAL
People tend to recall visual information much better than just plain text. The aesthetic of a website can help stick in consumers’ minds. Websites should include lots of relevant, professional images and photos that immensely contribute to that desired positive first impression visitors will have with your site and thus with your brand.
Another key ingredient of visually appealing web design is using eye-catching colours that further emphasise the core values of businesses and resonate with their audience. A professional graphic design can help intensify your brand’s essence, as well as it can provide your website with a strong competitive advantage.
OUR WEBSITE DESIGN SERVICES – HOW CAN WE HELP?
At Propel, we specialise in clean, modern, effective web design that is not just interactive and engaging but also fully optimised.
Do you feel like your site is not the high-quality representation of your brand that it would otherwise deserve? We will help you achieve a professional look. It is vital to positive consumer perceptions. Be proud of your website and make every first impression count!
Are you not satisfied with the current sales conversion rates of your website? Our fully optimised website design with effective conversion paths, sales funnels and calls to action will enable you to be capturing and converting leads on a level you wish you had seen before.
Do you sell online and you feel your site gets lost in the sea of digital retailers? You will increase the profitability of your e-commerce store with our clean, modern digital shopfront that highlights your unique selling points. Wow your customers!
We live in a world that is unimaginable without the internet. Companies, even brick-and-mortar ones, can no longer be run without a website. It is simply not feasible. Web presence is crucial. In the online world, your website is your number one asset that represents your business. It showcases your offerings and demonstrates your values.
A well-composed website is an important part of a company’s branding. It helps build awareness, reach new audiences, create the right perception in the consumers’ minds and accelerate business growth.
Fresh, modern and well-thought-out website design can give a great competitive advantage and make a brand the first choice in your customers’ minds.
Website building seems to be a daunting task with numerous elements to consider in detail.
In general, the ingredients of great website design are:
Clarity of purpose
Precise USP and value proposition
Search engine optimisation
Ease of use
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About the author: Vincent Bissette is a freelance Brand Strategy and Design Consultant with over 30 years experience of branding and rebranding businesses and organisations, systematically, thoroughly and objectively. He has worked in major Design Consultancies as well as having run his own agency for 25 years, working with SMEs all over the UK to help them modernise their brand, grow their business, attract new customers, penetrate new markets and increase their sales, market share and profit. Throughout that time, there’s not much he hasn't done or many industries he hasn't worked in. He’s a creative, strategic thinker and problem solver with a wealth of experience in diagnosing trouble spots in brands and discovering their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Now based in South Lanarkshire, Scotland, he works throughout the entire UK.
Get in touch with him on Linkedin here