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The Importance of Web Design for Small Businesses

Different website designs
Andrew Adams

Having a professional and easy-to-navigate website is crucial for success in the digital age. As the first point of contact with any potential customer, it's important for websites to leave a good impression on every visitor. That's why it's key to have an intuitive website layout, an attractive web design, and a responsive design so it looks good on any device.

How you structure your website, and the functionality you provide, are some of the most critical aspects of web design. The strongest web pages have clear and logical menus that make it easy for customers to find the information they need. In this guide, we'll look at how you can design your website for maximum effect and usability. Even if you're not a web designer, it is important to understand the key feature of a well-designed website to help attract new business.

How Design Affects Marketing Efforts

Website design is an integral part of any marketing strategy, playing an essential role in attracting customer attention and enhancing the quality of your messaging. Businesses need to invest in forms of web design that effectively capture the spirit of their communications. Using thoughtful, purposeful visuals can engage your customers and encourage them to take the action you want.

Boosts Brand Identity and Recognition

Brand identity is a lot more than just logos and color schemes. It's the complete perception that people have of your business. Your website design communicates your values, personality, and unique selling proposition (USP) to anyone who visits your site.

As you design your website, think about what you can do to create trust with your users, making them more likely to interact with your brand in the future. With consistent branding and a little creativity, you can create a dynamic look that will motivate them to come back again and again.

Each design element of your website should represent your company's brand. Even for small businesses, your website is a reflection of your company and your brand.

Increases Conversion Rates

Any business with an online presence depends on conversion rates to know the effectiveness of its content. Conversions don't have to be a purchase, either. Any time a user takes an action you want, even just signing up for a newsletter, you can consider that a successful conversion.

An intuitive navigation structure, couched within an appealing visual layout that communicates a simple message, is one of the best ways to enhance your conversion rate. Try to keep things simple in your design, using transparent calls-to-action that tell customers exactly what you want them to do.

Unites Digital Marketing and Graphic Design

The same principles underlie digital marketing and graphic design. You'll use visual and text-based messaging to reach your customers with the exact messages they want to hear, focused on the products and services you're offering them.

Consistency is key. Your digital marketing and design teams have to work together to safeguard your brand identity. No matter the platform you're using, use the same logos, slogans, and color schemes — you want potential customers to recognize you wherever they are.

Contributes to a Unified Marketing Strategy

Remember, the goal of website design is to create an attractive and valuable digital environment in which customers can learn more about you and access your product. By using effective website design, you can bring all elements of your marketing strategy together into a single package, reinforcing your brand message and deepening its connection to your customer base.

The Basics of Good Website Design

But what qualifies as good website design? Not everyone has an intuitive grasp of the principles of website design, so let's look at things to consider as you develop your brand's online presence.

  • Layout: Using an organized, streamlined layout helps to focus the attention of your users and avoids distractions. Create menus in such a way that it's obvious what you want your visitors to do and where you want their eye to land. Avoid clutter and feature only the specific content that applies to your business goals.
  • Minimalism: Many companies want to fill their sites with as much content and flashy visuals as possible, but more doesn't always mean better. Curate your website so that it offers only the most essential content. You can include the rest in later customer interactions, but your main page needs to emphasize conversion first and foremost.
  • Easy On the Eyes: An ugly website turns people away. You only have a few seconds to make a good first impression, and that won't happen if your site looks like something out of the 1990s. Pay careful attention to the colors and fonts that you use — they should be visually pleasing and easy to read at the same time. A UX designer or web designer can help you ensure that your website is pleasing to the eye.
  • Skimming: People tend to skim when they read online. Plan for this possibility in your content preparation. Use short, snappy headlines. Don't create big chunky paragraphs — break them up and use more white space. And bullets, bullets, bullets! They keep your reader's eyes moving down the page, interested to see what's next.
  • Logical Structure: Write copy with clear headings and subheadings. They're not only visually appealing, but they also make it easier for people to understand your content. Readers look at the headings first and then decide whether or not to read the body paragraphs. Make sure your headings are interesting enough to draw them in.
  • Mobile Friendly: With more people relying on their mobile devices, it's more crucial than ever to optimize your site for whatever device they prefer. That means using responsive design techniques that make your site look great on any size screen. You can also try different design choices to find out which works best for different groups of customers.
  • Interaction: Another crucial part of your website is giving visitors the ability to interact with your business. This should be done through various calls to action, contact forms, live chat, and more. Communication is a critical element of each web page. Make sure your web visitors have a way to get in touch with you.

This list isn't exhaustive. The major thing to remember is that your website has to be both appealing and functional. Keep those two qualities in mind in everything you do, and you can't go wrong. Be sure to have fun and experiment with different things — it's the only way to find out what works.

How to Build a Website

Have you ever considered the actual complexities of website design? It can feel like such a daunting task. All those lines of code and image formatting can be a total headache.

But don't worry. With the right resources and approach, anyone can make a killer website. It can even be a rewarding experience if you take the time to understand all the principles that go into website construction.

Planning Your Site

It pays dividends to carefully think through each element of your website design before you start. Ask yourself:

  • What's this website for?
  • How will it help my business?
  • What customers do I want to reach?
  • What type of content will this website feature the most?

Let's say you're an HVAC company. Maybe you like to do a lot of video blogs telling your customers how to make easy repairs or diagnose common problems. Well, that kind of content is a different ballgame from blogging. It needs more bandwidth, more space, and an original structure from other websites.

As a result, you have to plan for that. And if you plan to host blogging content, how will you structure and archive the blog posts? Will you post them only on the website, or might you branch out to other services like Medium? This kind of thought process plays a significant role in website planning.

Plus, what kind of tone do you want to convey? Is the site professional and authoritative, or more lighthearted? That ties back to what we said earlier about brand identity and consistency.

Choosing the Platform

There are a lot of options out there for website building, and each one has its own unique strengths and weaknesses for you to consider. Some of the most noteworthy ones include:

WordPress is the most popular of the four, but it takes some technical know-how and a lot of time to truly get the hang of it. The others are generally easier and more intuitive. They're made with beginning website designers in mind, but they also don't have as many features (especially plugins) as WordPress does. You will also need to decide how you want to host your website. You may be able to host your website directly with the provider

Keep in mind that your website needs to run efficiently. The number of plugins greatly influences page loading times, potentially slowing things down to a crawl. That's bad for you, bad for your customers, and bad for the search engine bots that will probably dismiss your website as not worth indexing.

That means avoiding “over-designing” your site. To ensure you have a professional website, it may be beneficial to hire a website designer to ensure that the user experience of your website is on par with your competitors.

About Domain Names

Don't think you need some clever vanity URL to get noticed. “McDonald's” was, quite literally, just someone's name! Your domain name should be unique, easy to spell, and relevant. People should ideally hear it and have some idea, even vague, of what your company does.

This is a great place to incorporate some keywords related to your industry. You might even include your geographic location if you can, like “Chicago Auto Repair" or similar combinations along those lines. This is also an excellent practice for the title and meta tags you'll use on your site pages.

Designing a Functional Site

If you're new to this, play with different web page templates to get an idea of what you want. Visit your competitors and see what stands out about their websites. Platforms like Wix or Squarespace have website templates for you to experiment with, so take advantage of those.

The point is to communicate your mission and values to your customers. People who come to your website should have a positive experience, one that makes the visit worthwhile. You can do that with strong visual elements and written copy working together seamlessly.

Launching the Site

Having designed and created the initial content for your site, it's time to launch. Just ensure that everything works properly first. Do some testing, and keep an eye out for missing links, broken images, scripts that don't execute, etc. This is the part where you make sure all your ducks are in a row before the site goes live.

Announce your website on the social media platform of your choice as well. It's a great way to generate interest and gather some initial momentum. Your first visitors will be the ones most likely to share your content.

Website Upkeep

If a well-designed site brings in customers, an inefficient and poorly designed one drives them away faster than you can blink. Use tools like Google Analytics to monitor your incoming traffic and see what they do on your site. Do many people tend to click away at one specific page? That's a powerful sign that something is amiss.

Regular website audits are the way to go. Get in the habit of checking your site's layout, color scheme, and content hierarchy regularly, looking for anything that might improve the user experience. You can also use A/B split testing to see what works best, especially in terms of:

  • Call-to-action buttons
  • Pop-up windows
  • Landing page design
  • Opt-in forms and newsletter signups
  • The checkout process
  • Navigation menu
  • Search engine optimization

And remember, the internet isn't static. Old links go dead all the time. If you rely on URLs for visuals, especially as thumbnails in blogs or articles, check their integrity now and then. You'll probably find more than one broken link throughout the site (one of the downsides of linking out this way).

You might also try asking for user feedback from anyone who visits your site. Perhaps ask them to rate their experience or leave comments on your contact page. It's an efficient way to source valuable insight and can greatly inform your design decisions in the future.

Don't Get Overwhelmed With Website Design

We simply cannot overstate the importance of good website design. Any online strategy depends on it for success, and all the time and effort you put into your business could go to waste without it. But don't let that scare you — let it motivate you instead. Having the right mindset is everything.

If you need help with website design, it's a good idea to check in with a professional team with design expertise and plenty of experience. Scorpion, for example, has many years of experience in website design and online marketing, helping businesses like yours grow in the ever-competitive digital environment. Reach out to us and see how we can help.