Websites are an integral part of any business. Without one, you simply don’t exist. But how can you make sure your small business gets all I can from it?
As a small business, you’re unlikely to have piles of cash to throw at your website. Time spent managing it is probably at a premium, too, so once it’s designed you won’t want to keep returning to it for ‘little’ tweaks.
In an ideal world, you’d find your designer, he’s go away for a couple of weeks and return with a website so slick you won’t be needing him again until you change your company name to You & Sons.
The reality is that your website is unlikely to be perfect and small businesses are often forced to make do, due to lack of time, or sink under the costs of countless alterations.
So, how do you make sure you choose the right designer and get what you need from them, quickly?
Here are our top tips:
An attractive design is the most important part of a website. You have to catch the user’s eye, so they want to explore it further.
The design will also give them an immediate impression of your business’ character, so choose a designer that suits your style and the public image of your company.
Once a user has decided to peruse your site, the next thing they’re going to scrutinise is its content. The home page especially has to communicate your message quickly and clearly and guide the user to the other pages.
Many web designers can be excellent at the lay-out, but poor with the writing, so make sure you check where their skills lie. You can of course help them out by supplying your own copy and I highly recommend it.
INSIDER TIP: ‘A picture really can say a thousand words’ and ‘Never use two words, when one will do’.
A simple one, perhaps, but your website should be easy to use. Better yet, your website should give the user something to achieve.
For example, if your user is searching for a book, you might want them to be channelled through increasingly small filters – through genre, publication date, bestsellers etc – which eventually lead them to their chosen book and an online store.
INSIDER TIP: Give your users as much as possible; so that once they’re on your site, they never have to leave.
Keeping your website up-to-date is vital, but you don’t want to have to keep contacting the designer every day (for the sake of your bank balance and mental health).
Look for designers that will provide you with a way to regularly update the website yourself without having to contact them. Make sure they also leave the site open for the addition of new, as yet unthought-of features, as you don’t want your website to stutter as your company grows.
Written by Ant for Pixel Design Studio, with over 15 years experience of website design & web development.