Having an effective website is critical for any small business — it is often the first experience a potential customer has with you and your brand. Yet many small businesses still pay little attention to the design and creation of their online presence. While you don’t need to know how to build a site, as the owner, you need to weigh in on the content, navigation of information, web page design and the customer sales path.
Whether you are building a website from scratch, or need to revamp your existing site, there are five keys to building a high-performing website for your small business. How you want to approach each will help you create a strong brief for the web designer — which will result in a better website.
1. Determine the Point of Your Website
Building a website just because you have to will not lead to having the best website for your business. You need to know what you want the site to do for you. What is the value it will bring to your business? Think it through and make some notes about what you really want your website to accomplish.
For example, will it simply be a point of contact for potential customers? Will it serve as a digital showcase for your products? Will you sell those products from the site? Do you want it to generate enquiries? Perhaps it will be a space for you to assert your authority within your industry. Maybe you have some administrative needs, like automating sales, transactions or customer communications. It may even provide income from ads or affiliate referrals. Be clear about what purpose your website will serve, both to your business and your customers.
2. Decide on Whether a Template Is Sufficient or You Need Custom Web Design
There are some beautiful templates available, and using them can drastically reduce your development costs. They are easy to install and update by yourself and your team. But if you need a unique look, a custom designed and developed site may be the way to go.
Choosing to use an off-the-shelf template or theme is an affordable option, which makes them popular with budget-strapped start-ups and small businesses. They can also be sufficient for brands that need a simple site, and are a flexible starting point for business owners who possess some technical skills. However, these sites usually come with limited functionality and can be time consuming and tricky to modify if you don’t have a great deal of technical knowledge. They can also look generic and like many other sites.
Having a custom website designed has the advantage of letting you define almost every aspect of how your site looks and functions. The downside is the web page design and development costs are higher, they take longer for the initial build, and you will likely need to go back to your developer for any future edits or upgrades. So why do it? Because your site will be unique to you, and that may be an important component of your brand strategy.
3. Determine Who Will Create Your Website Content
Many small businesses on the look of the site, but don’t pay much attention to the content. This is a mistake. Content is critical, and it’s the thing that can slow down a web development processes. The look may attract people to your site, but the content will be the basis upon which they decide to buy from you… or not. You need carefully crafted content for each product or service offering in your company. Whether your write it yourself or hire a web copywriter, be prepared to spend time on your content. You know you business best and you will need to carve out time to make sure the web content accurately reflects both key information and the general spirit of your brand.
4. Decide on the Nature, Amount, and Organization of Content
Whether your site is an ecommerce platform selling multiple products or a showcase website to feature your services, it is important to organize your content into logical categories or sections that allow visitors to easily find what they are looking for.
In addition to well-written content that gives your customers a complete picture of who you are and what the purpose of your site is, clear navigation will help them find the information they need.
The rule is to never make users work hard to find what they want. Clear navigation helps make it easier for users to find what they’re after. Navigation along the top and down the left hand side of your site, for example, allows for intuitive browsing and makes it easy for your visitors to make a purchase or complete another desirable action.
A good way to determine the nature and amount of content you want is to study other websites—your competitors and just sites you like to visit. How are they doing it? What works and what doesn’t?
5. Choose Who Will Maintain the Website
Unlike a print brochure, a website needs to be constantly maintained. From content updates, such as loading new products, to system upgrades, there will always be some degree of tweaking going on with your site. In addition, search engines will rank your site higher if you regularly update the content.
Deciding who will be responsible for editing, adding to, and maintaining your web page design is an important choice. It could be you, an in-house staff member, a freelancer, or you could pay your web designer to do it. Magicdust is one of such web designers Sydney has to offer. The important thing is to create a plan that will ensure no area gets overlooked and your site stays fresh and appealing.
Paying attention to these five key aspects of your web page design will ensure you build a powerful site that performs for you for the long term.