If you are small business owner you obviously cannot compete with the big boys on the amount you spend on your website design. However, your website can be the single most important aspect of your business for bringing in new clients and giving that all important first impression. Therefore, the way your small business website is designed can in some cases make or break your business.
The first page your potential clients are likely to come to is your home page. The job of the home page is to introduce the viewer to your business. You want them to know that they are in the right place from the start. Here are 8 top tips to good homepage web design.
1. Simple is Best
A small business website should have a simple homepage. (As you can see from SB1 design – I use a simple slider showing some of my work, and then 3 text areas with details of what I do.
It is important that the page communicates your product or service either with a stand-out image/slider or a simple slogan. You do not want to confuse your visitors with cluttered design or superfluous imagery or banner advertising. You want to your visitor to feel confident that they will get the service/product/information they need from you.
2. Avoid too Much at Once
Again, too much information on the first page of your small business website is a sure fire way of putting off your visitors.
If your homepage causes the browser scroll bar to shrink to a mere dot, this means you have way too much data that has to be downloaded. Your visitors will be instantly put off by the website design and will look elsewhere.
To avoid having streams of info on your homepage, you need to update your navigation. Use menus that will link to separate categories holding relevant information.
Your homepage is good place for product promotion and special offers, and from there the visitor should be led wherever they need to go.
3. Display the Correct Links
As an extension of the first two points, your small business website should incorporate a homepage web design that displays the right links. By doing so your design will remain simple and will avoid any unnecessary information.
The following links should form part of any homepage menu, (and exist throughout the website for that matter): about, products, news, contact.
All visitors to your website will need to know what your business is about, how/what they can gain from doing business with you, what’s current with you, and how to contact you.
With the move to mobile over recent years, it is also important to make sure that your business web design works on that platform too. This is a subject for an entire article on its own, however, by using a responsive web design you can ensure all your links are accessible no matter what your website is being viewed on.
4. Featured Products Above the Fold
Display your best content above the fold. This is the first impression many visitors will have of your website and therefore your business. Get the web design and the content displayed right, and the visitor will stick around.
Put your most eye-catching products here. Make the content fresh and enticing, if using images make sure they are all good ones. Your homepage web design above the fold has to clearly communicate, look professional and if possible have a wow factor, (appropriate to your business of course).
5. Keep It Fresh
A lot of business websites make good use of what is called the sidebar. (Most WordPress websites have this as standard). The sidebar area runs alongside the main content and is ideal for links, extra menus and importantly (for ultimate freshness) social media data streams and connections.
Your small business should have a Twitter, Google + and Facebook Page. With the correct website design you can have the latest posts from all of your social media pages, visible in your sidebar. Every time you share and update, your own business website will reflect the same.
The sidebar can also contain share icons so your visitor can easily place your content on their own social media profiles should they want to. This of course is a great way of your content and therefore business being promoted.
6. Create a Homepage that Reflects Your Business Theme
The most successful marketing will always incorporate brand consistency. This means when designing a website for your business, you need to select the template, colour scheme, logo and layout very carefully.
These elements have to reflect your product or service. They also need to be consistent with whatever other marketing material you have.
If you have a physical storefront or a public presence, your distribution materials (flyers, posters, adverts and business cards) along with your website style and design have to all be part of the same family. Consistency of design is key.
7. Be Original
Successful small business websites today should have fun with their audience and (if sticking to the principles above), attempt to be quirky and original.
With faster internet speeds and the proliferation of mobile/tablet devices the technology is widely available giving a website the freedom to experiment in order to stand out from the crowd. If you know your audience you should try to think outside of the box in a way that might appeal.
If whatever reason your website and its content is able to go ‘viral’ there is no bounds to the increased traffic and therefore custom you may receive.