Small businesses, your customers are online — without exception! In this digital age, a website is the primary tool that drives and grows a business. When a whopping 70–80% of consumers research a company on the internet before visiting and making a purchase, you know you’re missing out on a lot of business by not having a website — or by having a poorly designed one.
A hefty 45% of consumers are unlikely to buy from a small business with a badly designed website, and among millennials, the figure jumps to 95%. With millennials defined as those born between 1981 and 1996 (i.e., 22–37-year-olds), can your business remain competitive and ensure future success without an engaging, well-designed website?
Discover what makes a website poorly designed, and what businesses can do to redesign their website or to build a navigable, mobile-friendly site that engages potential customers and generates meaningful results. In part two of our three-part series on best practices in web design, we explore three essential elements of an effective website. (If you missed part one, click here to read about how important messaging, content and calls to action are when developing or optimizing your website.)
Use a Consistent, Attractive and Functional Design and Layout
Would you buy from a company that doesn’t seem to know what they’re doing? The more professional a website looks and the more functional it is, the more trust you foster with potential customers. Reduce fast exits from your website by including the right design elements and call to action.
This includes using a layout that’s consistent with what visitors are used to seeing (e.g., your logo is at the top of each page, you have a top or side navigation bar for easy access and your messaging is front and center for quick takeaways) and picking colors that are consistent with your brand and appropriate for your industry and target audience.
It also includes utilizing a layout that loads quickly. If your website doesn’t load within three seconds, you’ll lose 53% of your traffic. A hot trend in website design right now is an auto playing gif or video that stretches across the homepage, but while it looks flashy and cool, it can drastically slow down your website’s load time and lose you potential customers.
For a great example of a fresh, functional website redesign, click here to check out a website we created for our client, IT consulting company Amick Brown. Their goal was to create a new look with updated branding. Their new website uses a color palette that works with their existing logo and includes images that highlight the firm’s diverse employees. Additionally, the site’s large buttons and strong calls to action generate more leads and encourage visitors to explore the site.
Make Your Website Easily Navigable
No matter how much content you have on your website — no matter how many individual pages — creating an easily navigable website will drive business for you.
Not every visitor enters a website through the homepage. Websites that are confusing to navigate will frustrate prospective customers and result in them returning to their search engine (where they could come across your competitor instead). But if you get visitors where they want to go, you make it easier for them to complete a purchase.
The two best features that make a website navigable are dropdown menus (which are also generally mobile friendly) and search bars that autofill with potential results your visitors may be looking for.
For a website redesigned with navigability in mind, look to the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum. They have the largest collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts on display in western North America, and their website is used as a resource by thousands of students and educators, which means their many individual artifacts pages are all as equally important as their homepage. The website redesign includes a robust top navigation bar and search bar to make accessing these pages as easy as possible.
Don’t Miss Out on a Huge Mobile Audience
Did you know more people access the internet on mobile devices than on traditional computers? Your business needs to have a mobile-friendly website in order to capture this ever-growing segment of prospective customers. Google even dings websites that aren’t mobile friendly, relegating them to lower search rankings. If you don’t have a mobile-friendly website, your competitors will love you!
A great case study in mobile friendliness comes from Blossom Ridge Home Health & Hospice . On the mobile version of their site, the homepage’s photo sizes down to help with loading times, the font becomes bigger so it’s readable on small devices and the navigation bar becomes easily clickable, with text large enough to allow fingers to accurately click buttons.
Read more about why it pays to have a mobile-friendly website
Get Started With Your New Website
We’ve now covered six best practices for optimizing a business’s website. (You can read part one here.) In part three of our series, we cover interactivity’s importance and the technical issues that can sink your sales, so stay tuned.
In the meantime, make sure your website is not only eye-catching but also functional. And if you don’t have a website, build one! Wipfli Web Marketing specializes in creative, mobile-friendly and targeted websites that drive business. Contact us today at https://wipfliwebmarketing.com/ to get started.