How to Make the Best Website for Your Small Business

By Samantha Gibson

When you run a small business there’s a lot of things you need to think about; taxes, profit margins, stocktake, marketing… the list goes on and on.

But something you don’t want to overlook or take for granted is an effective website. In today’s market consumers expect a website regardless of what you’re selling. Tradies, retailers, marketing services, mowers, you name it, everyone now needs a website.

If you have an ugly, slow, or confusing website you will lose business. Ideally you will have the budget put aside to pay a professional but if you don’t, no need to despair. Here are 10 tips and tricks you can implement to get your website selling.

  • Your website should reflect your business – your website should clearly show what you do, what your company believes in and the culture your business has. Pick colours and fonts that reflect the vibe of your business e.g., if you want your business to be playful pick a fun font that isn’t tackey but also isn’t too formal. Display your business moto and values on your site. Show people what your business is about and why it matters through relevant and clean imagery.
  • Remove the clutter with balance and whitespace – we aren’t in the 90s so your website shouldn’t be overrun with bright colours, word art, and drop shadows. People like pops of colour (not oceans of it), white (blank) space and clean lines, also known as low visual complexity. Think of it like your house, most people now a days like open plan living with lots of space, white and grey walls, and a consistent theme throughout.
  • Be mobile friendly – most websites are viewed on a mobile or tablet device so make sure your website and all its content is dynamic. Everything should scale automatically to the size of the screen and your website layout should work nicely regardless. To achieve this, make sure you test the website on different sized screens through the creation process and adjust accordingly.
  • 3 click navigation – when creating your menu and working out how many pages your website should have, keep in mind the 3 click rule. A customer should never have to click more than 3 times to get to the page they want. If they must navigate more than that to get what they want, 9 times out of 10 they will just click off the website all together. You need simple navigation.
  • Make it human – try to avoid using overly exaggerated stock images of people, it looks unnatural. Instead think about taking some photos of your team to make it more friendly or pick images of people that aren’t stock photos. Avoid the big smiles (they’re creepy) and the ridiculously over the top fake laughing photos. Normal smiles of people going about their work or business is the way to go. Also avoid using ambiguous wording or jargon in your website content. Most of the time it ends up putting customers off rather than showing them you know what you’re talking about.
  • Your website should be lightning fast – if your website takes more than 3 seconds to load a page or image, it’s too slow. Users expect fast reaction times and won’t hang around waiting even a few extra seconds. Make sure all your images are low file size and that there’s not too much going on in the background of the website so that it can load as fast as possible. Slow websites also negatively affect your SEO score which will make it harder for people to find your site online.
  • Avoid image galleries, carousels, and accordions – According to research, despite the commonality moving images and slides have on websites, they aren’t affective. 90% of people only every engage or click on the first slide. That means if you have 5 images in your carousel only around 20% of it is functioning the way it should and the rest of it is never even reaches your client base. Instead, simply putting it one after the other down the page so people need to scroll is proven to be more effective.
  • Make the most important things bigger than all the other things – Our brains are wired to focus on the bigger elements on a screen. Use this to your advantage. Make the business name, headings, call-to-actions all bigger with bold fonts. Make the best-selling products or services stand out. You need to grab consumer attention so that even the skimmers know what’s going on and where to buy.
  • Use faces and arrows as visual cues – naturally we like to look where other people are looking or where we are told. This means if you are using an image of a person on your site, use an image where the person’s face is looking towards whatever point, paragraph or call to action you are trying to get attention to. Likewise, if you have too many images all ready or a smaller space to work with, think of using simple arrows to direct the attention.
  • Put your home button on the left – this one is really simple, but it makes a huge difference. Majority of people expect your home button to be on the left because for so long this is what most websites have been doing. Now that it is an expectation, you shouldn’t stray from that. It can be very off putting for your cliental if it’s in the wrong place and can cost you clients.

Most importantly when creating a website keep in mind that the website space is always evolving, which means you will need to also. Make sure to keep up with your competitors and when you notice websites going in a different direction be willing to adapt and change your website with it, while still conveying your businesses message.