Your website is arguably the most important element of your small business, especially for e-commerce sites that sell products or services only online. Even brick-and-mortar stores can benefit from a website that showcases their inventories and helps customers find their locations. Oftentimes, your homepage is the first contact that customers have with your company, and if it doesn’t hook visitors quickly, you can miss out on hundreds of potential clients.
The Internet has revolutionized marketing, and designing an artful website is the first step toward using the Internet to your advantage. It’s also important that your webpage showcase your business’s value. By following simple website design guidelines and formatting your page for search engines, you maximize the amount of Internet traffic your site receives and the number of visitors who become paying customers. This article will introduce you to five quick tips for designing a great website.
1. Use Appropriate Diction and Rhetoric
Diction refers to the words you place on your website, and rhetoric describes the tactics you use to persuade visitors to become paying customers.
The diction and rhetorical strategies that you use must appeal to your audience. When deciding the appropriate level of vocabulary and your methods of persuading visitors, ask yourself these questions:
- What is the average age of my audience?
- What is the average education level of my audience?
- Is my audience international?
- Which is more appropriate: informal or formal speech?
Most often, it’s best to use simple words and focus on conveying your message and selling points, rather than being too sophisticated and inappropriately formal. Quality webpage content doesn’t necessarily imply highbrow vocabulary; it implies writing content that is engaging and useful for your particular audience.
Remember, it’s never a bad idea to use good grammar. If your business wants to portray a certain level of expertise and attention to detail, consider hiring a professional writer to create your content.
2. Showcase Your Value Statement
Many freelance website designers focus on the art. A flash website designer might focus on clever animation. The most important characteristic of your website, however, is that it helps your business generate profits.
One of the first aspects of your website that visitors should see is your value statement. Why is your business better than its competitors? Lower prices? Higher quality? Are you offering unbeatable discounts? No matter what goods or services you offer, a website that clearly displays its selling points on the homepage (and other pages) will be more effective than those that do not.
On top of showcasing your selling points, make sure your website features several calls to action that encourage people to contact your company or purchase your products or services. It can help to capitalize the first letters of every word in the call to action. For example, a lawyer’s website might say “Call 555-555-5555 To Schedule A Free Consultation Today!” on the top of every page. Not only does this include the selling point of offering a free consultation, it also clearly states how website visitors can contact the law firm, making them one step closer to becoming a customers!
3. Optimize Your Website for Search Engines
Whether or not you choose to optimize your website for search engines should depend on how much your business will benefit from increased website traffic. It’s never advised that a company try to optimize its website without professional help. This is a very time-consuming, difficult process, and if you go it alone, chances are you’re just wasting your time, especially if your business is part of a competitive industry.
Here are a few steps that an Internet marketing agency will take while optimizing your website:
- Performing keyword research
- Incorporating keywords into the meta title, headers, and description tags
- Incorporating keywords into the website content
- Publishing useful content on specific websites that contain links back to your website
- Publishing your business’ information on industry directories
- Posting your business’ location on Internet mapping platforms, such as Google Maps – NAP
- Developing social media pages and profiles, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn
4. Embed a Blog Into Your Website
If you hire an Internet marketing agency to optimize your website, creating a blog will be part of the process. A blog allows your business to publish content that is useful specifically for your audience, and if this content is formatted for search engines and people access your blog through organic searches, the authority of your website will increase. This helps improve the authority and trust of your domain.
Like social media pages, an industry blog can be another way to interact with your customers, who can post comments and stay up-to-date with your latest products and industry news.
5. Make Your Website Easy to Navigate
Case study after case study has shown that making a website easier to navigate enhances its effectiveness. If customers can’t find your products, how are they supposed to buy them? Creating a website that is easy to navigate will encourage visitors to stay on your website longer.
Here are a few steps your website design company should take to enhance navigability:
- Provide a links bar at the top of each page that helps visitors find the information they seek.
- Use subheadings to divide information on a page, so users can skim to their topics of interest.
- Include links to contact pages that move down the page as the visitor scrolls.
Other Useful Ideas for Small Business Website Design
Although these are five tips that every small business should incorporate into its website design, this is far from a complete list. Other considerations include whether to use marketing tactics like pay-per-click (PPC) and email marketing. You may also want to incorporate a responsive website design for visitors using mobile devices such as iPads, tablets and smartphones. Seeking professional help and making a one-time investment in a quality Internet marketing agency are two smart moves that can lead to long-term investment returns.