Simply having a website is no longer an option for you to remain competitive – your website needs to stand out. But with the variety of website builders, templates, and features available, it can be challenging to know what will work best. Here are five easy-to-follow steps when designing a website for your small business that will create winning results.
Step #1: Choose the Right Website Building Platform
WordPress, Wix, Shopify, Squarespace, Weebly, and GoDaddy. When it comes to building a website, one of the first decisions you’ll have to make is choosing a website builder. And there are plenty of options out there – all with their own pros and cons.
Selecting the right website builder for your business comes down to evaluating your website goals. Are you looking for a quick, simple-to-use platform and don’t plan on growing your business? The drag and drop user interfaces on Squarespace or GoDaddy may be great options for you – but offer limited features.
Want something that offers extensive designs and customizations but requires a little more of a learning curve? WordPress (what we most often use – and for good reason) is your best bet.
Step #2: Invest in Great Copy
Sure, your website needs to be user-friendly and eye-catching, but what’s even more important?
The words found on the pages.
Having strong search engine optimized content helps your website rank on search engines and drives organic traffic to your site. Your content is what informs readers of your business’s offerings and helps convince them to contact you for more information, become a loyal brand follower, or – even better – purchase your product or service.
Poor copywriting does the opposite. It can quickly drive traffic away from your site (and to your competitors), lower your SEO rankings, and hurt your brand image.
When working with small business owners on limited budgets, we always suggest, at the minimum, investing in copywriting. The website design is easier to DIY than the content, which typically creates the conversion.
Step #3: Make It Stand Out
Your website needs to be aesthetically appealing, but also user-friendly. So when it comes to creating an eye-catching design, put yourself in the shoes of your customer.
With your traffic spending only 50 milliseconds to form a first impression of your business, no detail is too small to overlook. Does your website load correctly on mobile devices? Research shows that as of 2017, mobile has taken the lead as the global source of traffic. What about your layout – is it easy to navigate? Users want to find the information they need on your site quickly; otherwise, they may move on to your competitor’s website instead.
Security also needs to be paramount – and is especially important for businesses that are accepting payments online. Ensure your site has the Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) protocol. If it doesn’t, website traffic will receive a “Not Secure” warning and be given the option to proceed to your site. Most of the time, they won’t want to take that risk.
Other tips for creating an amazing website design include integrating a modern look, matching your branding to your site, and using professional photography rather than stock images.
Step #4: Integrate SEO Strategies
Whether you’re working on your website design or copy, search engine optimization (SEO) needs to be a priority. This is typically where things start to get more confusing.
SEO is what helps your website rank on Google and other search engines. Regularly, Google changes its search algorithm – or the process used for ranking websites. This means that completing SEO is never done; it requires constant work to have your website rank and continue to rank.
Both your website’s design and content play key roles in creating a solid SEO foundation. On-page SEO factors include title tags, headings, URL structure, page load speed, and internal linking. The copy on your site should integrate keywords that your target audience is searching on Google and include helpful, relevant, and valuable information.
To help improve your rankings, you should make changes or updates to your site’s design and content regularly. Doing so flags Google to come back to your site and re-evaluate your site’s position on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
Step #5: Trust the Professionals
As a small business owner, you’re well known for your versatility – and it’s no surprise why. Daily, you constantly face new challenges such as managing a product shipment delay, proactively handling a customer service complaint, or dealing with a bylaw issue. For many of your challenges, you must figure out solutions on your own. But that’s not true when it comes to building your website.
If you find it difficult to create your own small business’s website, you can always hire an expert. Sometimes, the time to learn a new skill – especially one as extensive as website design and copywriting – is not available to you as an already busy business owner. And even if you do manage to find the time, the result will likely not be as effective when compared to a professional creating it for you. So why not save yourself time, stress, and disappointment by hiring a website expert from the start?
At Sarah McKenzie Copywriting and Web Design, we act as your one-stop-shop when designing a website for your small business. From completing the design or copywriting to launching an entirely new website, we’ve got your website needs covered.
Schedule a free consultation with us today to learn more about our services as Toronto copywriters and website designers.