Small businesses are the fuel that keep the fires of our nation burning. Recent figures show that there are an estimated 5.5 million private sector businesses in the UK (2016) and almost all of these (99.3%) are small businesses employing from 1 up to 49 people. These figures show a substantial increase over previous years and as the numbers grow so the websites of these businesses should reflect their quality and abilities.
If you're a small business owner and looking for inspiration and guidance for your new website the following five points should give you a heads up for a good starting point.
Firstly, your website should clearly tell your visitors what your unique selling point (USP) is and how you can help your site viewer. We've all seen it, the website that shows you a trendy, super modern arty home page but you don't know what it's selling or even worse, the page is full of who the company is comprised of and where they're from. Your customers aren't interested in who you are, they want to know how you can solve their problem so tell them how you can deliver a solution for them straight away. Whether you do this through text or teaser style links just make sure they know what's on offer.
Secondly, the content of your website must flow well and be in context with the layout and design of your website. Too many sites that we visit are overflowing with gushing content leaving the visitor either totally overwhelmed thinking "do I really have to read all of this?!" or they just simply switch off, or should we say click off, and move on somewhere else. Make sure the visitor knows what is important information and what is general detail.
Thirdly, make sure that your visitor can navigate easily from page to page if you are going to include links. Don't send them somewhere that is irrelevant to the text they are reading or the image they are focusing on. If you want them to sign up to further information don't put "click here for info", instead go for call to action link something like "sign up here now for important new information". Make a client interested in what you have to offer.
Fourthly, identify with your customers. Sounding off with words and language that your customers don't understand or don't want to plough through won't do you any favours. Just be natural and speak to your customers in your website using the language that your clients use. Don't make them feel they are being overwhelmed and that you're trying to be clever.
Fifth, be responsive, or to put it another way, be mobile friendly. Too many websites are still being produced by too many web designers that are out-dated and will be penalised by search engines, particularly Google, for not being mobile friendly. Websites today must conform to modern day usage and be easily viewable on all sorts of mobile devices from laptops to smartphones through to tablets. Don't get left behind!
Small business websites should reflect that they are for small businesses. There is an enormous difference in small and large business ideals so don't try to emulate big company principles, just show your clients exactly what you are and how you can help them. They will appreciate it.