It will be next to impossible for small businesses to compete on the web without a website that offers a great (targeted) user experience. Small businesses will get the most out of their investment from a web designer who understands and can deliver to their needs and goals. Time and money should not and don’t need to be the obstacles that they often are for small business web design needs. Web design for small business is a way I can support the benefits they offer to the communities they serve.
What Small Businesses Need From a Website
Small businesses need a website that:
- Distinguishes them in their industry
- Offers a great user experience
- Is simple to manage
- Is built to scale (longevity)
- Is designed to their company/goals
Small Businesses Need a Website That Distinguishes Them to Their Clients
Client engagement is one the main benefits that comes with having a website that distinguishes you to your clients in your industry. Your credibility improves with your clients when they see that you are not just another (insert your industry) __________ company. Credibility goes a long way with web users.
What would make a website stand out to your clients? What do your clients want most and what would make it better for them?
Your website should meet your clients content based search with a content based design. Meeting your visitors online needs is a great way to distinguish yourself in your industry online. Your website should make it easy for your visitors to find the content they are looking for.
Small Businesses Need a Website That Offers a Great User Experience
The quality of user experience your website offers will make or break you with your visitors. Your website should make it easy to find what visitors are looking for, be easy to navigate, fast loading, easy to learn, it should be easily searchable etc. Your website should meet and exceed user expectations for websites in your industry.
The benefits of a great user experience pay in more visitors, longer visiting times and higher engagement.
“89 percent of consumers began doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience” (links to PDF). There’s a nice infographic put together by UserTesting.com that discusses “How Choosing to Invest in UX Affects Your Bottom Line” (links out of site).
Small Businesses Need a Website That is Built to Scale
Scalability should be planned for in the design process. The benefit of designing for scalability is saving time and money down the road. Scalability means that when it is time to update the design or some of the structure of the site an entire redesign is unnecessary.
Designing for scalability means a broader approach to the design process than a design with a short life span. A side benefit to this will be to plan for extending the shelf life of your design. Novelty is a quality appreciated by users in many industries but when it comes to web design, for the most part, not so much.
Small Businesses Need a Website That is Simple to Manage
Your website should have an interface built specifically for you to make managing and updating your website simple and easy. This should be the case whether it is adding or removing products, images or adding a news article.
Just like tailoring your site to what your visitors will be doing with it, I tailor the back end of your site around what you will be doing.
Another key benefit to having a website that is simple to manage is that it makes it easier for you to bring others on board to manage your website.
Small Businesses Need a Website That is Built for Their Company/Goals
What do you want to accomplish with your website? Are you looking to generate phone calls, subscribers, showcase your material, have an online portfolio?
Setting goals for your website is crucial. Without goals there is no real way to design an effective website. Your website is both part of and a marketing strategy for your small business. “the best advantage of starting with (a) clearly defined goal is that you can answer practically any question or deal with any problem you encounter during the work,” so says Karol K. in the article “Avoid web design stress by clearly defining site goals.”
Sometimes goals aren’t readily measurable. For instance, my goals for this page are to provide resources for my clients and potential clients as well as demonstrate that I understand their web needs and would be the right candidate for their small business web design. The goals for this page are part of the overall goals for my site to make clients out of potential clients and to provide useful resources to small businesses, the arts and entertainment industry, charitable organizations and animal welfare organizations.
Not just another website for another company. A carefully planned website will be designed for its visitors to receive not only the content they were looking for but also a great user experience. Your website should leverage what makes your company specifically your company or be lost in an ocean of other options.
Additionally it should be designed to benefit from how search engines operate. A quick note on that, if you are considering a template that promises built in SEO (search engine optimization) you should know that while there may be some small benefit in terms of SEO value derived from the template there is much much more that goes into SEO than the templates provide. You most likely will not stand a chance of competing online if you use a template for your website against custom built sites with an SEO budget.
For small businesses the most important prongs of SEO for their site are how they deal with their content, their approach to keywords and the quality of backlinks they are able to procure, in my opinion. I am not an SEO expert but for small businesses interested in moving forward with their SEO strategy I would recommend Backlinko for down to earth SEO information, advice, tips and case studies.
Obstacles to Small Businesses Online
Time and money are often in precious supply for small businesses online. Without an abundance of these resources it can be next to impossible to compete for visibility. Sometimes you just can’t and shouldn’t do everything yourself.
I can save you time in updating and managing your site with an interface custom built for your needs.
Get the most out of your investment with a website designed for your goals, for your visitors and for search engines.
I can save you money with reasonably affordable options for your web design.
Why Do I Have a Focus on Small Business Web Design
There are a few reasons that I have a focus on small business web design. I think small businesses often offer great benefits to the communities they serve. They are often created by people who are out for much more than making a buck. A good example is Beza Threads.
Beza Threads sells scarves in the U.S. made by former slaves out of Ethiopia. Funds then go back to Ethiopia to provide options out of slavery. Thus far 37 girls and 60 boys have been rescued and 20 girls have been spared forced prostitution.
For as much as search engines attempt to develop algorithms that can translate user behavior to get them what they are looking for I think online competition is heavily weighed towards larger businesses. I think this weight is a detriment as it makes it so that many small businesses can barely even hope to compete online.
Small businesses allow a great number of people to achieve and succeed where they would not be able to in larger companies. Their success directly benefits the communities they serve. I support the benefits that many small businesses offer their communities.
Articles on Small Business You Might Be Interested In:
(links take you off site)
If you are a facts and figures type and want to read more about how much small businesses have to offer check out this great article, “Are Small Businesses Really the Backbone of the Economy?” by Jared Hecht.
“Top 7 Web Design Mistakes Small Businesses Make” by Ilya Pozin, is a quick read that covers seven points to consider regarding small business web design.
Just want some SEO tips? Checkout “100 SEO Tips for Small Businesses,” by Mark Walters.