Small businesses don't need large websites with hundreds of pages. But they do need usable websites.
Creating a small business website is all about focusing on services and selling points for potential customers. You can do this with 5-6 pages or even 1 page. This is greatly determined by the design and the type of company (eg. electrician, plumber, gardener, etc).
Below are some common design trends that apply to all small business websites.
This is perhaps the most important trend to keep in mind because it works for so many industries.
No matter what line of business you're in, great photos help sell your company.
These photos can showcase your work quality, your office, your tools, your clients, or any combination. Generally I advise against stock photography because it's usually too cheesy. But you can find very natural(and free) photos on sites like Unsplash and Pexels.
Keep your photos relevant and marketable. Show visitors a photo that'll instantly convey the message you are trying to send.
Most small business owners don't know photography well enough to grab their own pictures. This is why it's often worth hiring a photographer just for a quick shoot on big projects. We guarantee these photos will come in handy down the line.
Or if you'd rather go the stock route you can find photos online. But you'll want pictures that don't look cheesy or overly promotional.
Another feature we constantly see is the online quote form. This works much like a contact form except it requests details from potential customers.
This generally encourages more conversions because visitors have an easier time making the leap from "average visitor" to potential customer. No worries if the office is closed, no need to hop on the phone or deal with answering machines.
The only task required is filling out an online form.
The letters CTA stand for Call To Action, it's a common acronym describing large buttons/forms that usually appear above the fold.
Every optimized small business site needs a clean CTA. It encourages new visitors to take some type of action whether it's requesting advice, scheduling a call, or sending a job inquiry.
Most people who glance over a page will immediately be drawn towards a bright red "get free quote" button. Red often jumps off the page and leaves a strong lasting impression on the viewer.
Something like a "request quote" button is also valuable because it pre-qualifies visitors. If anyone clicks that button they're probably willing and ready to request a quote, so you're likely to see more conversions on the next page.
You can also change up the text and aim for different results. For example, use the text "try us free" to let the visitor know there's no cost upfront.
Think more about what your visitors want and less about what you want. The best CTA button helps visitors solve their problems by addressing their needs, and the business makes money by solving that need. CTAs are just the first step of the process.
Copy sells and it's absolutely vital to have great writing on your site. Especially on the homepage where visitors enter cold.
Text color, size, and font family all play important factors in keeping users engaged. But so does the context of the copy and what it really means.
We encourage all small business owners to learn some basic copywriting. This isn't something every designer knows how to do well, and you, as the business owner, know how to describe your product or service better than anybody.
Once you start looking at web copy you'll see it everywhere. Study your local competition and see how they design their pages. You can learn a lot just by reading their sites as if you're a typical customer.
What would you do differently? How would you improve their current site?
These tips are just the fundamentals needed for great small business websites. But you should always feel free to break outside these trends and try new things.
Whether you're launching a new website or updating an older website, always remember that customers should be the focus of every piece of content added to your website.
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