Small Business Website Design - The Complete Guide For 2023
Updated: Dec 22, 2022
If you have a small business and have been thinking about making or updating your website, this is the article for you. We will outline the 3 Stages of designing a perfect and high-converting website for your small business and some essential items you need to include to start converting your visitors into leads and sales. This will give you an excellent overview of the things to consider before building your website, so you can either do it yourself if you have the time or chat with our friendly team to get a quote.
A website can act as an online brochure for potential customers to know more about your business, products and services. It helps potential customers find you online and convert them into actual customers. Creating an impactful and effective website has its complications, so we have compiled some great tips and tricks for building your perfect website.
Table Of Contents
Step 1: Research and Content
Step 2: Design and Build
Step 3: Improve and Get More Leads And Sales
Frequently Asked Questions
Step 1: Research – The Who, What And Why Of Your Small Business Website Design
Who is the target audience for your new website?
Knowing your target audience will help you decide the type of content to be included on your website, the design of your website, and the kind of language to use. Your website should be designed so that these people get the information they need, position your business as the authority figure and give them a way to take the next step, whether that is to make a purchase or to reach out to your small business. The right design, easy-to-understand content, and tone of voice will help you reach out to the right people, even if they don’t know that your website exists yet.
Website audiences and what they want to see on your website:
People that are ready to buy / Previous Customers - This audience wants whatever you are selling, and they want it now. This applies to a small percentage of your website traffic and a large percentage of your revenue, so it's very important to give this audience the opportunity to buy now, call now or submit a form with a quick response time.
People doing research / Searching for information - Most people enjoy a bit of research, whether they are at home checking out a product or just wanting to get more information on a particular service. This audience makes up a large percentage of website traffic, and having an informative and well-designed website will help to build brand trust and increase the chances of these researchers turning into customers.
People comparing prices / Businesses looking for products or services - Similar to the audience doing some research, but with higher purchase intent. These people are close to making a purchase but want to compare between local or online small businesses. Adding clear and informative pricing and service or product options will help to convert these visitors into paying customers.
Social Media Traffic / Paid Advertising Traffic - The previous audiences will visit your website from organic sources, such as Google searches or via backlinks on other websites. Social media and paid advertising traffic require a slightly different approach. In order to convert paid advertising visitors into paying clients, a website has to be specific and focused on a single goal, such as a purchase of a product or a lead form. This can be achieved with additional landing pages that are designed specifically for those ads.
What services or products does your small business provide?
The next important thing to consider while creating your website is what services or products you provide. This is something that you can use on your service and product pages as well as on your "About Us" page. Services can be further broken down into sub-services to provide more details, and products can be separated into categories. Having a clear structure for your products and services is very important for getting your website recognised and ranked by Google and other search engines. By giving users a clear list of services or products, describing them in detail and providing an easy way to take action, like purchasing or calling your business, you can convert more of your website visitors into customers. Most small business websites we review feature very brief descriptions or a lack of information and images of the product or service, which often causes the visitors to leave the page to find something more detailed.
Why does your small business exist?
Every business exists for a reason. Your website is the best place to tell people about your business. You can use your website to create and strengthen your brand and explain what problem your business solves and what value you bring to your customers. For example, your small business might exist to provide a specific solution to common problems or a wide range of services. In a nutshell, your business exists to solve a problem and your website should showcase that extremely clearly, and be able to convince visitors that your business is the best solution.
What’s your selling point?
Now that you have identified who your target audience is and what services you provide, it’s time to talk about what makes you different from your competitors. What is the selling point of your business? You can use this information on your “About Us” page and throughout your website. Let’s say your small business provides the highest-rated services in your local area; you can then place that front and centre for visitors to see because it is a key selling point. You should brainstorm other unique aspects and service or product offerings that set your business apart from the rest, then make a list to add to your website. The more value you can convey on your website, the more chances you will have of your visitors turning into paying customers.
How can your small business website stand out from the crowd?
After you have identified your target audience, what services you provide, and what makes you unique, the next thing to remember while creating your website is how you can stand out from the crowd. How can you ensure that your website is functional and stands out from the clutter? The following tips can help you create an effective website:
- Choose the right platform (Or small business website designer): There are many website-building platforms to help you create a website. But the question is, which one should you use? If you want to create a website for your small business, we recommend using Wix or WordPress. The first option is more manageable for first-time website designers and offers great functionality. In contrast, the second option provides more customisation and is harder to grasp.
- Be consistent: Consistency is key when it comes to branding. Once you have created a style that represents your brand, use it throughout your website. Brand aspects can include font, colours, logos, and imagery. - Keep it simple: A cluttered website is a turn-off for most people. Keep your website simple and clutter-free to make it easy for your visitors to navigate through it. - Keep your content fresh: The Internet moves fast. New websites pop up daily with new content, styles, and features. If you want your website to stay relevant and keep your target audience engaged, you need to refresh your content from time to time. Remember that your website is an investment. Creating a website will take time and effort, but it will pay off in the long run. A well-designed website can help you grow your business, generate leads, and increase sales. A website can be your 24/7 salesperson and help you reach more customers without lifting a finger.
Step 2 – Designing And Building Your Small Business Website
Once you have gathered your research, you can do one of two things, create the website yourself or have a web designer do it for you. The process is mostly the same, and the only difference will be the time spent - much longer if you are doing it yourself and learning the basics, and within around 4-6 weeks for a professional web designer to make a fully custom website.
Define your goals – Sales, Leads, Bookings Or Calls?
Before you even start creating your website, you need to define your goals. What is the purpose of your website? What do you want your target audience to do on your website? By clearly defining your goals, you can focus on the correct elements. It will make your website more effective, with each element supporting your overall goal. For example, if your goal is to get more calls to your business, you should design the website by including clear CTA (Calls to Action), such as buttons for phone calls and placing these all around your design. If your goal is to get people to book a service, you will need to design a booking system and explain the booking process throughout your website. If you want to research these goals' small differences in design, look at some competitor accounting websites. Most small business websites nowadays have a mix of all of these goals, while others appear not to have any goals at all.
Create your Design Mock-up
Once you have set your goals and have all the information from analysing your audience, it is time to create a mockup. A mockup design is a visual representation of your website. It is a way to visually see and understand your website before it is built. Creating a mockup is the first step in creating a high-converting website. Why? Because it is the visual representation of your goals. It is the skeleton of your website. You must create a mockup that represents the skeleton of your website. A mockup can be sketched on paper, made in website design software, or even done in PowerPoint. However, it is important that you choose the right design and colour palette for your website. A neutral colour palette is great for websites that appeal to a wide range of audiences. You can use competitor research to get an idea of the structure of your website. Something you do not want to do is reinvent the wheel in terms of design because visitors already have an expectation of what a website should look like, operate and respond to. The goal should be to create a simple and high-converting website, not an artistic interpretation of what a website should look like.
You can create your mock-up based on a content-first approach, or layout-first approach or even a combination of the two. Some relatively well-known content and layout factors contribute to a high-performing website, including a strong heading, calls to action buttons and social proof or reviews. Whether you want to write your content based on an existing content layout or simply swap out content in a current design format is up to you.
Build your small business website on a platform of your choice
Now that you have a design mock-up and clearly defined goals, it is time to build your website. Choosing the right platform to build your website is crucial. There are many different website builders on the market, and deciding which one to use can be confusing!
There are a few good web builders for small business websites:
WIX - Wix is one of the most popular website builders on the market. It is perfect for creating service or product business websites. It has a range of features, such as lead generation forms, booking integration and chatbots, that are readily available. We build most of our client's websites through Wix if they want to be able to make updates and changes themselves later on. The only downside to building a website on your own is that if you don't have a lot of knowledge about design and layouts, you will have to use ready-made templates, which are limited in terms of customisation.
Shopify - If your small business sells primarily products, then Shopify is the perfect option. It's wide range of plugins and easy-to-use back-end system allow you to focus more on your business instead of constantly tinkering with your website.
GoDaddy - GoDaddy is another simple website builder with drag-and-drop capabilities; it is constantly improving. However, we find that it is not as customisable or conversion driven as the other options. If you want a simple-looking small business website for a small monthly fee, then this is the option to pick.
WordPress - WordPress is the original website-building platform, with hundreds of thousands of options for plug-ins, customisation and a range of different capabilities. It works great for a small business website. The downsides are the additional costs of hosting, which you have to pay to keep your website live. And the additional costs of plug-ins that are required to make the website convert your visitors into leads and clients. You will also have a steep learning curve unless you add on a website builder like Elementor (Add more costs)
Squarespace - Squarespace is great for building sleek websites fast. However, it currently lacks the extensive library of plug-ins and features that other website builders do.
Elementor - This is an additional plug-in for easier website development on WordPress; it has a free option that gives you the basic tools you need. For more comprehensive features, you will have to upgrade to Elementor Pro.
Duda - Duda is also a great option for more comprehensive all-in-one website development, and it offers plenty of advanced features that will help you make a great-looking website.
Step 3 – Testing and Improving Your Small Business Website With Key Performance Indicators
Once you have created a website, it is essential to test its effectiveness. You don’t want to create a website and just leave it without making tweaks and changes to improve it. Websites are ever-evolving, so once you have completed your website, you must make tweaks and changes as you learn more about your audience. This way, you can improve your conversion rates! There are many ways to test your website and make changes to improve it. You can run A/B tests, create surveys, or even ask your audience what they think. You can also use analytics to see what your users are doing on your site and where they are dropping off.
Key Performance Indicators for Small Business Website Design
Bounce Rate - The bounce rate is determined by dividing the number of single-page sessions by the overall number of sessions on a website. For example, your website's bounce rate would be 5% if 100 visitors visited it (total sessions), and 5 of them left without making any more requests (single-page sessions).
Conversion Rate - Divide the number of goals (link clicks, leads submitted, bookings) attained in a certain amount of time by the total number of website visits, then multiply the result by 100 to get your conversion rate. Therefore, if 2,000 of the 20,000 visitors to your website completed the required action, your conversion rate is 10.00%.
Website Speed - Because speedier pages are more effective and offer a far better on-page user experience, both visitors and Google choose them. If a website loads slowly (more than 3-4 seconds), more than 25% of users would leave and select a different search result. This number increases with every second of loading that a visitor has to endure.
Total Sales - It's always good to track total sales made directly from your website so that you can have accurate data regarding the return your website provides. If your website hasn't made any sales for you yet, it's time to get a new one.
Time On Page - The amount of time spent on a web page between when a visitor first arrives and when they leave to see another is known as the time-on-page. This is important to monitor because it can uncover issues with loading times, content or the offer you showcase on your website.
Leads Collected - This is a simple one, but you should monitor it. Leads are the lifeblood of any business, and having a website that brings them to you consistently is always the goal.
A Few Tips On Getting More Leads And Sales With Your Small Business Website
There are several factors that decide the number of leads or sales your website will receive, some of which you can control and others that you can't. Once you have designed your website and launched it, you should ask friends and family to check it for you and answer a few simple questions.
Your visitors should be able to answer four questions within 3 seconds of landing on your website: Does this business provide the products or services I need? Does this business service my area/ Deliver in my area? Is this business trustworthy? Why should I hire or buy from this business over the competition?
If all those questions are answered positively, you can move on to adding these additional tools to improve lead generation and conversion rates even more. They focus on simple marketing and psychological elements people want to see before taking action, like trust, clarity and convenience.
Make your Calls To Action very clear.
You can start to see an increase in conversion rates by making it clear to your visitors how they can take the next step and creating an enticing graphic, button or text to take action, like call you, buy now, fill out a form or chat with a customer service representative. Some websites overlook this extremely simple aspect and make users scroll or look around their website for that next step; this, in turn, causes a higher bounce rate and fewer leads, sales and bookings.
Your website design should provide multiple ways for users to contact your business or take that next step:
1. Clear Calls To Action (Buy Now, Order Now etc.)
2. A visible phone number that is Click-To-Call (Especially on mobiles)
3. Web forms located on every page (And a button on your Header)
4. Booking options with simple steps
5. Buttons placed at the end of descriptions of products or service details
Add Reviews and Social Proof.
Everyone wants to deal with a business that is well-respected in the community and is rated highly amongst its previous customers. You should showcase any awards, recognition, and accreditations your business has received, especially customer reviews. If you are starting your business and don't have many previous customers, you can offer to do odd jobs for friends and family or provide them with free samples of your product and request a few simple reviews. All your website visitors want to see is that you are qualified, professional and can be trusted to do work in or around their home. The data below shows that around 9 out of every ten people consider reviews before making a purchase.
You can also link through your Google My Business reviews straight to your website to add an extra layer of trust. Have some testimonial videos? Add those too! You should add as many social proofs and reviews as possible to increase your website's conversion rates.
Add a Chat Bot to your website.
Chatbots are not new, but many small business websites don't incorporate them. They can provide several conversion benefits, including answering customers' frequently asked questions quicker, qualifying leads, and acting as a 24/7 sales representative for your small business. Have you ever been on a business website and wanted to know something quickly? This is where chatbots can shine and take the place of slower communication methods like an enquiry form or a long wait on the phone. Including these little gems can increase your conversion rates by double digits.
Keep your forms short.
You should consider several factors when deciding between form and enquiry sizes. Some businesses keep it extremely short with just "Name", "Phone", and "Email" fields, and this is perfect if you want to receive a large number of leads. If you require more information to be able to service your clients, you can add more fields or make a simple booking form with apps like Calendly or Wix Bookings. The more fields potential leads have to fill out, the more likely they will leave your site. More often than not, you can collect a few simple details and simply discuss more details over the phone directly with the lead. This also allows you to make an excellent first impression. The statistics below outline the number of fields that are the most successful at converting visitors into leads.
It takes time, effort, and some research to create a website that appeals to your audience and increases your conversion rates. However, it is essential to remember that it is a process. A website is never “finished” and should be treated like an ever-evolving website that is constantly improving and testing. The more effort you put into creating a website from scratch, the more successful it will be. Don’t have the extra hours in your week to learn web design, development and the hundreds of other factors that go into creating a website? We would love to help! Drop our team a message below, and we will reach out and walk you through how easy and quickly you can have your new website for your small business.
How much does a small business website design cost?
If you have a small local business with only a few services and want a simple website designed to collect leads, you can budget around $1500-$3000. This will include everything you need in a neat and presentable website.
Suppose you have a larger business or are planning on expanding your current business and need a more customised solution (One that includes more customised options and advanced Customer Relationship Manager tools). In that case, you should budget anywhere from $3000-$5000. A high-converting and software-infused website is an investment and can save you time and money in the long run.
The web design cost also goes up if you need a web designer to produce the sales copy or text content on the page. This involves a deep dive into competitors, analytics and more to discover what will convert the most visitors to leads and sales for your small business.
How long does it take to design and build a small business website?
This depends on the complexity and size of the website, but on average, it takes approximately 4-6 weeks to build a small business website from start to finish. This may vary depending on the content and design style.
Should you update your small business website design?
The average redesign period for your website should be about once every three years. This allows your website to stay up to date with the constantly changing website environment. If you don’t update your website frequently, it will start to look stale and become a liability instead of an asset. Visitors may get the wrong perception of your brand and will instantly go to a website that looks more modern and updated.
Is your website responsive? This is a great test to see if you need to update your small business website. All modern websites adjust in size and functionality based on the screen they are on, for example, a phone, computer or tablet screen. This allows the websites to be more user-friendly, convert at a higher rate and look good. It is also a Google requirement for websites that want to be on the first pages of search results. A non-responsive website will cost you more in lost leads and exposure than it would cost to get it updated.
Is your current website bringing you enough leads and sales? As outlined in the above paragraphs, you should always keep an eye on your key performance indicators. One of those is conversion rate; if your website has many visitors, but no one is converting into leads or sales, it may be time for an update. Many factors affect a website's conversion rate, including competition, demand and offers, but a well-designed website will still be a competitive tool.
Is website design important for a small business?
There are plenty of reasons why website design is essential for small businesses. One of the main reasons is that a well-designed and modern website will add credibility. In today’s highly competitive world, you will most likely have other service and product providers that are similar to you. To stand out, you need a high-converting website. It allows you to get more leads, builds your brand and authority, and cements you as the number-one business in your area.
Without a website, people may question your legitimacy as a business. From our personal experience and the stories that clients have told us, having a great website instantly puts you above the rest. Having a website that conveys your brand and offers instantly will lead to higher-paying clients and more of them.
How do you get your small business website in front of people? Small Business SEO
One of the most cost-effective ways to promote your plumbing website online is SEO or Search Engine Optimisation. This is the process of getting your website to rank on Google and show up on the first page when people search for things like “Small Businesses Near Me.”
If you have a local business, you can do local SEO or get professional help. One of the most important aspects of SEO is the User Experience on your website. Creating a beautiful and fast-loading website with all the tips and tricks will make it much easier to outrank your competition.