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10 Tips for Small Business Website Design & Development
This post is part of our Small Business Week series. Check back to our blog all week to see more blog posts tailored specifically for small business owners and how they can improve their online presence to grow their business!
I’m not going to lie—I mostly use Yelp to find restaurant reviews. After all, I don’t need to be paying $15 for subpar pizza—the #1 staple in my food pyramid:
However, the other day I was researching home service companies on Yelp as a part of some market research. What I found was pretty astounding. Looking at the Chicago area alone, over 1700 home service companies DON’T currently have websites!
Your SMB Website Should Be a Lead Generation Machine
Why does this matter? Because your website acts as a virtual sales rep—an economic engine capable of catapulting your business to new levels of growth. Unlike a sales rep, your website will never ask you for a vacation or leave you for a higher paying job.
Your website is your single most valuable marketing asset.
You’re insane if you don’t invest in a website for your small business ASAP. And to make the process smoother for you, I’ve worked with Chase Wolf—who oversees our web department here at Blue Corona—to compile our top 10 tips for your small business website design and development:
1. Own Your Website.
If you’re going to hire a company to build your website, make sure you have full ownership of the site, the content, and the domain. You don’t want to lose the investment you’ve made in your website if you choose to split ties with that company.
2. Use a Content Management System.
Build your website on a user-friendly content management system (like WordPress) that will allow YOU to quickly and easily change content. This will cut down on having to pay someone to update your website every time you have a new product, service, or announcement.
3. It’s Okay to Use a Template!
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you have to have a design that is so unique it breaks the bank. Working from a starter theme or template is a great way to reduce the project costs, timeframes and give you a professional start.
Ultimately, keep it simple. If you’re a small business and your goal is conversions, don’t make something that’s too extravagant. That will help from a cost perspective and a user perspective.
4. Build Trust.
Trust builders are important for small businesses. That includes testimonials, accreditations (Angie’s List, BBB), and pictures of your trucks or actual workers. If all you use are stock images, you won’t build as much trust.
5. Build to Convert.
If conversions are your main goal, make it easy to find contact information on every page of the site. Don’t make people hunt for a way to contact you. It’s important to have options to call you and to contact you online, as various users prefer different methods of contact.
6. Mobile Matters.
Make sure to consider mobile (mobile optimized, responsive, etc.) when investing in a new website for your small business. With mobile search eclipsing desktop search this year, it’s more important than ever to have a mobile strategy.
It’s also important to note that you won’t rank as well in mobile search results without a mobile-ready website.
7. Content Is King.
Know that the best looking websites won’t rank if they aren’t crawlable by search engine spiders and if they don’t have content. If you don’t consider yourself a good writer or you simply don’t have time to write website content, it’s worth the investment to hire a website copywriter.
Your site WILL NOT rank without content.
8. Redirect from Your Old Domain
Speaking of rankings—if you’re getting a new domain, set up proper redirects to keep your rankings from your old domain. ToysRUs made this mistake back in 2010 when it bought Toys.com but failed to redirect its old domain.
9. Going Outside the Box Is Not Always Recommended.
Follow the trends that users are used to. Put your phone number where people are used to seeing phone numbers and put your navigation where people are used to finding it. By going outside the box, you actually hurt yourself from a cost perspective as well as a user experience perspective.
10. Blogging—It’s Not Just for Opinionated College Students.
Make sure to include a blog! Blogging for your business is an extremely cost effective way to turn your website into a lead generation machine.
I Have One Last Thing to Say About Pizza, and then I’m Going to Let You Go.
Remember when I said that I don’t need to be paying $15 for subpar pizza? I wasn’t being entirely truthful. I’m a firm believer in the following:
I’m also a firm believer in helping small business owners get the most out of their online marketing dollars. Whether you need a new website design or simply want to improve your current website’s search engine visibility, Blue Corona can help. Take a look at this mini case study for one of our clients:
Mini Case Study: PVI Office Furniture Plus
We started working with PVI in September 2013. One of the first things we did was renovate their homepage through our website design department. With simple tweaks to the layout of the website, along with implementation of contact forms, PVI’s site began performing and generating leads.
After a homepage renovation, we rolled out an aggressive content marketing strategy—adding over 450 new pages to PVI’s website in a seven month period. Blue Corona content marketing, in conjunction with other onsite design and SEO optimizations, has helped PVI drastically increase their search engine rankings—leading to a:
- 1237.5% increase in monthly organic traffic
- 262.5% increase in on-site goal conversions
- an incredible ROI on our services.
Ready to get started? Take a look at our website design portfolio or fill out the form below for a free SEO analysis of your current website.
About The Author: Blue Corona is a data-driven online marketing company with offices in Gaithersburg, MD and Charlotte, N.C.
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