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© Business.com Media, Inc. All rights reserved. | 888.441.4466
8 Best Practices for Small
Business Web Design
Level the pl...
© Business.com Media, Inc. All rights reserved. | 888.441.4466
Why Focus on Web Design?
Businesses today must have an
onli...
© Business.com Media, Inc. All rights reserved. | 888.441.4466
Hire a Professional and Employ Easy Navigation
Not all web ...
© Business.com Media, Inc. All rights reserved. | 888.441.4466
Keep Customers Happy: Opt-Ins and Interruptions
Interruptio...
© Business.com Media, Inc. All rights reserved. | 888.441.4466
Consolidate Strategies and Reporting Channels
Your content,...
© Business.com Media, Inc. All rights reserved. | 888.441.4466
Integrate Customer Contact Points
As mentioned on the previ...
© Business.com Media, Inc. All rights reserved. | 888.441.4466
Summary
These eight best practices for small business web d...
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8 Best Practices for Small Business Web Design- Business.com Guide

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Good website design can influence customers to stick around and make a purchase, whereas poor design can drive them away from your brand permanently. No matter the size of your budget, you can level the playing field with larger enterprises by utilizing the eight web design best practices featured in this whitepaper. Download the whitepaper now and discover the eight essential elements that comprise a professionally looking small business website.

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8 Best Practices for Small Business Web Design- Business.com Guide

  1. 1. © Business.com Media, Inc. All rights reserved. | 888.441.4466 8 Best Practices for Small Business Web Design Level the playing field with larger enterprises by taking your online presence to the next level with these eight strategies.
  2. 2. © Business.com Media, Inc. All rights reserved. | 888.441.4466 Why Focus on Web Design? Businesses today must have an online presence. Websites are a marketing necessity for most companies today and are an essential platform for informing customers about products and services offered. They also provide businesses with the opportunity to share messages and generate sales. 71% of enterprise purchase decisions in the U.S. begin with research conducted on a search engine1. 89% of consumers turn to Google, Bing or another search engine for information prior to making purchases2. Your customers are demanding you have a website and online presence, no matter if you’re selling to businesses or consumers directly. Whether your business has an out-of- date or under-performing site, or you’re considering launching a new website from scratch, you need to make sure you’re focused on the best practices for your small business. Your website’s design says a lot about your business and brand. It can influence customers to stick around and make a purchase or request more information, or it can drive them away. To level the playing field with larger enterprises, consider these eight best practices for your small business. 1. “Digital Influence Index,” Fleishman-Hillard, 2012. 2. .”How Marketers Will Respond to More Intelligent Searches Will Determine Their Success,” DAC Group, 2011.
  3. 3. © Business.com Media, Inc. All rights reserved. | 888.441.4466 Hire a Professional and Employ Easy Navigation Not all web design companies are created equal. Even companies with a wealth of experience may not be a fit for your goals or business. Many sites today are built using a content management system (CMS) which allows for easy adding, editing, and updating without extensive knowledge of HTML. Small businesses looking to have a truly dynamic design with great functionality should consider hiring a professional. 40% of users will abandon a web page if it takes more than three seconds to load3. 64% of shoppers who are dissatisfied with their site visit will go somewhere else to shop next time. A professional web design company or creating a custom website in a popular CMS can help you create a user-friendly site that isn’t too flashy or difficult to navigate, for both the user- end and editor-end. Easy navigation needs to be a focus. As the stats above show, a slow load time or a poor site experience can drive customers elsewhere, including to your competitors. Creating a site on your own may lead to over- design, under-design or a less than stellar user experience. Today’s consumers demand a fast, engaging and secure online experience. Whether your small business is looking to open an e- Commerce store or build a branded website to showcase the services you offer, make sure you spend a good deal of time focusing on the user experience, from visual design to navigational flow. Can a new customer or first-time visitor to your site find what they are looking for within three seconds? A professional web design firm that has worked with businesses similar to yours, or with companies with similar goals, can provide you with site navigation setup guidance and recommendations. Areas on your site that should be easily found via your homepage are: • Your “Contact Us” form • Your “About Us” page • Your products/services offerings • Your blog, if applicable Have your website professionally developed, then ensure maintenance of the site is being taken care of. You’ll want to edit and update the page often to keep it current; make sure you work with the designer so that you’re able to do so without much difficulty. 3. “eCommerce Web Site Performance Today,” Akmai, Aug. 2009.
  4. 4. © Business.com Media, Inc. All rights reserved. | 888.441.4466 Keep Customers Happy: Opt-Ins and Interruptions Interruptions from pop-ups and opt- in email-newsletters are unlikely to keep customers coming back to your small business’s website. While banner ads and email newsletters often provide valuable information to users, e.g. trending news or related products, too many can negatively impact the customer’s experience. Limit the interruptions and you could begin experiencing more conversions. Some downsides to pop-ups are: • Interrupting and disturbing content readers, • Pop-up subscribers tend to have lower engagement, • Possible negative branding. However, pop-ups aren’t all bad. With the right techniques, filters and offerings within the pop- up, these can prove valuable in increasing email subscribers and profits. Banner ads and email subscribe requests need to be targeted, simple and easy to exit. Another possible interruption that could appear on your site are auto-play audio tracks and videos. Many prefer not to have a business site auto-play the media they feature. Even if a user subscribes via your pop- up, it doesn’t mean they want to be opted-in to all your company email messages. Relevant content delivered at the right time, whether it’s through on-site optimization or an email, is a must. Limit and test your use of interruptive promotions, such as email pop-ups and banners, and avoid un-targeted, opt-in email segmentation.
  5. 5. © Business.com Media, Inc. All rights reserved. | 888.441.4466 Consolidate Strategies and Reporting Channels Your content, SEO, site optimization and social strategies should be consolidated into your overall web design and user experience strategy. SEO (search engine optimization) should be a part of any company’s online strategy and so should social media. Featuring icons or text that showcase to users where your business can be found online can keep the conversation between those customers and your business going. While strategy integration may not seem like much of a challenge, consolidating your reporting channels likely is. Businesses want to be able collect, process and analyze, and distribute the data they are able to collect through their website. As you build out your website, make sure you have a discussion about how data will be collected and reported. Your web designer should be able to help you set up a Google Analytics profile or show you where you can find data within the CMS you’ve chosen to use. Big Data isn’t a problem for you to get your hands on if you set up the collection strategy and process right from the start. If you’re redesigning a website and not setting a brand new one up, determine whether or not you’re past data results will still be available and whether or not the same strategies will work with the new website you’re business is developing and designing. Organized data and consolidated reporting channels are a must and can’t be ignored during website design and development. Small business owners spend 3 hours per week on managing company websites, blogs and social media accounts4. 33% of midsize businesses currently use and 28% plan to use BI solutions, among small businesses, just 16% currently use and 16 % plan to use BI solutions5. Web analytics can help you determine what content on your site and what elements of the design are keeping customers coming back and which are driving the customer away. If you spend more than those 3 hours per week optimizing your site and online presence, think of the advantage you’ll have over competitors. Having business intelligence and web analytics tools can help you make better decisions about what to feature on your site and even what to feature in stores. As you design a website for your business, make sure you’re taking into account the data collection and analysis opportunities. 4. “Small Business Survey,” Intuit, Nov. 2011. 5. “2011 Small and Medium Businesses Routes to Market Study,” SMB Group, Sept. 2011
  6. 6. © Business.com Media, Inc. All rights reserved. | 888.441.4466 Integrate Customer Contact Points As mentioned on the previous page, your strategies should be consolidated. In doing so, you may find that your customer contact points, from the “Contact Us” form to your Facebook page, aren’t integrated as seamlessly. Customers prefer connecting with businesses through a variety of methods such as: With the customer experience at the forefront of your web design considerations, take a look at the chart on the left. Your website design can impact the quality of the customer service you deliver. Your site content, online assistance capabilities and social presence are all elements to take into account with the design of your small business. Integrating these points of contact and making yours readily available for interested customers are key components of a successful web design. Many larger companies offer social sign-in for users on their site or live chat and support for customers visiting their website. Consider the points of contact your customers will have with your business and how you can incorporate each into the design of your small business’s website. Remember, not all vendors will be the best fit for your business. Knowing which elements are the most important, from SEO to data collection, can help you rule out providers. If you want to integrate customer contact points, make sure you include where customers can reach you online and through social media at the very least. Live chat and web assistants often call for a bigger budget. Better Human Service Integrate More Channels Enriched Content Web Assistants or Avatars Other Support Social Communities • Blog posts and on-site content • Social media networks • In-person interactions • Phone conversations The Most Requested Customer Service Improvement from Customers6 6. “The Cost of Poor Customer Service” by Genesys Global Survey, 2009
  7. 7. © Business.com Media, Inc. All rights reserved. | 888.441.4466 Summary These eight best practices for small business web design can help you level the playing field with larger organizations. Focusing on the user experience and the data your business can gain from a strong design are great places to begin your redesign. Before you move forward with a website design project, you’ll want to consider how often site content will be updated, how many pages and sections you’ll need, your ultimate design goals and how you want to achieve those. Hiring a professional and/or doing research into how your site can be the most successful is a must. Visit Business.com for more information about web design.

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