What Makes a Great Small Business Website?

It wasn’t long ago that simply having a website was a differentiating factor for a small business. But today, every company, no matter how small, has a sprawling web presence – website included. The key to setting your small business apart is to have a great website.

7 Tips for Building a Great Website

The differences between good websites and great websites isn’t as dramatic as you might think. (Though the impact on conversion rates is exponential.) At the end of the day, it comes down to doing all of the small things right.

Not sure where to start? Here are a few of the most important keys:

1. Clear Message

Don’t even think about building a website until you have an in-depth understanding of your business and your audience. Because in order for a website to serve its purpose, there must be a clear and concise message.

Nothing kills a website quite like confusion. Take your time and figure out your message. Once you have it, you can weave it into every graphic, design, and piece of copy.

2. Nail the Design

Yes, there are drag and drop website builders. And, no, they are not the best option. While they work for simple websites, they’re incredibly limited in what they can do. If the goal is to develop a great website, hire a web design company.

A good web design company will take your message and run with it. The result will be a customized online experience that’s unique to your brand – something an online site builder can’t offer.

3. Lots of Social Proof

The best websites take psychology into account. In other words, they’re designed and developed with the visitor in mind. And if there’s one thing we know about customers, it’s that they love social proof.

You can increase the trustworthiness of your website – as well as click-through rates and conversion rates – by incorporating lots of social proof into the design. This includes testimonials, statistics, endorsements, and case studies.

4. Emphasis Above the Fold

Every part of your website matters, but certain parts are much more important. If you’re going to emphasize one specific area, make sure it’s the above-the-fold portion of key pages (such as the homepage, blog, product pages, landing pages, etc.).

Above the fold refers to the portion of the screen that’s visible without having to scroll down. This is the part of the page that visitors see first. And because it gets the most engagement, it has the most influence over conversion rates.

5. Intuitive Navigation

The objective should be to have as few pages on your website as possible. Navigation is important and any unnecessary friction will stifle your results. Make it as intuitive and seamless as possible. This means clear categories and hierarchies, with no more than two levels of dropdowns within the main menu.

6. Blazing Fast

According to one study, 88 percent of Americans say they have a negative association with brands that have buggy websites, while 83 percent report slow websites give them a negative perception of the brand.

It doesn’t matter how professional and aesthetically pleasing your website is, slow page loading speeds will kill your results. Work on speeding up your website to ensure people can click through without delays.

7. Quality Content

Once you’ve built your website, the task is clear: Fill it with a constant flow of high-quality content that resonates with your visitors and moves them to action.

High quality content is specific, in-depth, and engaging. It uses a variety of mediums – including text, graphics, and video – to delight people and increase their trust in you. Go ahead and create a content calendar for the next six months and begin pumping out fresh blog posts and resources on a weekly basis. Initially, it’ll feel slow. But after a few months, you’ll start to see results – both in terms of website traffic and search rankings.

Set Your Business Up for Success

Having a great website is just one component of building a successful small business. But without one, you’ll have difficulty gaining the traction you need to grow and scale over time. Let this article serve as a basic introductory guide. Then using this knowledge, go out and find a team of web designers and/or developers to help you create a high-converting website that pushes your business to the next level.