Whether you run a small business that sells burgers and fries or hardware supplies, you need a great business website. Oddly enough, this is true even if you don’t sell products online. A business website isn’t only for selling. It’s also for expanding your brand, so you can reach new customers, and for holding the interest of the customers you already have.
It’s a mistake to think that just because you have a small business, you don’t need to invest in good website design. If you neglect this very important area of your brand, your customer base will shrink, and your profits will suffer.
Good website design isn’t some exclusive knowledge reserved for big companies with even bigger budgets. There are twelve very simple steps that you can take to design a website that will make your small business competitive with bigger, more established brands.
12 tips for creating a business website your customers will love:
- Write good copy
- Pay attention to your website design
- Use Calls to Action
- Own a custom domain
- Make it easy for customers to contact you
- Humanize your business
- Avoid curly, cutesy fonts
- Invest in great photos
- Use social proof
- Make sure your site is optimized for mobile users
- Make your site secure
- Have a 404 page
1. Write good copy
“Copy” is what we call anything you write for your business. This includes your announcements, product details, and anything else you communicate to your customers.
Your website is an extension of your brand, so don’t be tempted to adopt a completely different brand persona on your website than you do in other areas of your business. If your business is warm and friendly, make your copy warm and friendly. Use contractions, play around with alliteration, joke around a little. If your business is serious and reliable, make your copy serious and reliable. Use words that have more gravity, keep your sentences crisp and straightforward, and don’t insert jokes unless you’re absolutely certain they’ll be well received.
2. Pay attention to your website design
Your website design is also crucial to having a cohesive brand. If your brand has a mascot, your mascot should be on your website. If certain colors are strong design elements in your brick-and-mortar store, make sure those colors are also present in your website.
The best websites have crisp, clean, uncluttered designs, because research shows that these are better at converting customers than crowded, cluttered designs. As you look through our website themes, you’ll notice that every one of them features a clear, clean layout that’s designed for easy scrolling. That isn’t an accident. Clean website designs are better at making money.
Read more about design element that you should have on your site here.
3. Use Calls to Action
A Call to Action (CTA) is a line in your copy that tells your visitors what you want them to do. (E.g., “Click here to buy!”; “Enter your email address here to join our mailing list!”)
Some small business owners don’t add these to their website, because they think it’s kind of obvious what they want the customer to do. But don’t be so sure. A call to action removes doubt entirely, and it’s the surest way to keep your visitors moving down the sales funnel.
4. Own a custom domain
Free blogging platforms that don’t let you have your own domain look cheap and unprofessional. If you want to be taken seriously as a small business owner, you need to own your domain. (A domain is the address of your website that starts with “www” and ends in an extension like “.com”.)
When you use our website builder, you also get to register your own unique domain with us, so your business looks polished and professional.
5. Make it easy for customers to contact you
There are few things that are more frustrating to a customer than having a question or concern about a product, but not being able to get in contact with the business they bought it from. Make it easy for your customers to get in touch with you.
Display your contact information in a prominent place on your website, and then make it a company policy to get in touch with customers as soon as possible.
6. Humanize your business
It’s generally a good idea for people to see pictures of your staff displayed somewhere on your website. People like feeling like they’re interacting with other people, instead of with giant, faceless corporations. And as a small business, you already have the advantage of being automatically more accessible in people’s minds. Take advantage of that charming, small business reputation. On your website, include pictures of your staff enjoying a holiday party, hanging out after work, packaging products, and doing other things that show your customers that there are real people behind your brand.
7. Avoid curly, cutesy fonts
Most customers aren’t spending huge chunks of time carefully reading every line you write. They’re mindlessly scrolling in their pajamas. Make your fonts easy to read.
8. Invest in great photos
You already know that products sell better when you take photos of them, but some photos can actually turn your customers away from your product. If your photos are poorly lit and do a terrible job showing off the best qualities of your product, you’ll lose customers.
So, invest in great product photos for your website.
9. Use social proof
Customers are skittish creatures. They’re slow to trust, and they don’t like parting with their money unless they know they’re going to like your product. To help them along, use social proof. Include testimonials on your website and consider adding a place where customers can leave reviews. This will help loosen the purse strings of more cautious customers.
10. Make sure your site is optimized for mobile users
Some of your customers will encounter your site for the very first time while they’re scrolling on their mobile phones. Make sure your site looks great, even on those tiny screens. (If you use our site builder, you don’t have to worry about this. All our site designs are mobile optimized.)
11. Make your site secure
Your customers need to trust that they’ll be safe browsing your website, and that they’ll also have a secure checkout. And you need to trust that your website won’t be left wide open to hackers.
Site security is important to us, so we provide daily backup on our servers. To put your customers at ease, we also support trusted payment gateways like PayPal and Stripe.
12. Have a 404 page
Anyone with a business website knows it’s only a matter of time before this happens: A customer tries to visit a page, but they get an error message. This seems like an embarrassing problem, but it’s actually a great opportunity to impress your customers! Remember what we said earlier, about copy being important?
Your error page is a part of your copy. Don’t leave this page unbranded. Find a funny way to let your customers know what’s happened and smoothly redirect them to another area of your site they might be interested in.
Every part of your website design is important – even your 404 page.
And that’s it! Follow these twelve tips, and you’re sure to design a business website that your customers will adore.