Whether your actual small business operates solely in the real world, entirely on the internet or somewhere in between, online your website is the face of your business. The website you create is the first impression visitors will see, and that makes website design one of your biggest and most important responsibility.
The website you ultimately create to be the face of your small business will depend on a number of factors, from the nature of your business and what it has to offer to the niche in which it operates. Even so, all great small business websites do have a few things in common, and a few design elements that must be in place before the project can be deemed successful. Here are some of the essential design elements that your small business website must include.
In the age of the Smartphone and tablet, mobile friendly design is no longer an option, it is an absolute necessity. If your small business website does not look just as good on a Smartphone, tablet or other mobile device as it does on a laptop or desktop screen, it is time to go back to the drawing board.
It is also important for the small business website to detect which device visitors are coming from, seamlessly displaying the proper type of site and creating an easy experience for every user. This kind of mobile friendly design just may be the most important element of a great business website.
If you want your small business website to be successful and your customers to be satisfied, you should not make them work too hard. When a visitor arrives at your small business website, they will want to have a look around, and it is important that they be able to find what they are looking for as quickly as possible.
Easy navigation is one of the most essential elements of a great small business website, and that means creating a detailed sitemap that lays out every page and what it does. Keeping that sitemap updated is vital as well, as is checking for dead links and other issues that could damage the reputation of your brand and send visitors fleeing.
Consistent Look and Feel
Having a disjointed website will not win you any fans online, and it is important to create a consistent look and feel across all the various pages and subpages. This can be a difficult thing to do when you are revising or revamping an existing website, but it will be much easier if you are designing the site from the ground up or building it for the first time.
Whether your website is already up and running or not, it is important to review it carefully with an eye for design. Look at the pages with the eyes of a first time visitor, and then tweak the look and feel to make every page an integral part of the larger whole.
Fast Page Loading
Studies have shown that visitors will wait only a few seconds while waiting for an unfamiliar website to load, so if your page does not show up quickly it may never show up at all. In an age of short attention spans and increasingly busy lifestyles, fast page loading is absolutely essential, and it is something you cannot afford to leave to chance.
Even if your website loads super fast on your own devices, the performance may not be so great on other types of screens. That is why it is so important to test and quantify page loading speeds across a variety of different devices, browsers and environments.
The website you create for your small business is much more than an online property — it is a vital part of your overall branding strategy. It is important to view your website as an integral part of your brand and not merely as an add-on to your existing operations.
Think about how your small business website fits into the brand image you want to project, and then use that knowledge to make your design even better. When you view your small business website as a branding element it becomes much easier to take your design to the next level.
When you run your own business you have a lot of things to think about, and it is easy to view website design as just another thing that must be done. Even so, building a great website and designing it well are vital parts of running your business, and every great small business website must have the elements outlined above.