Having a website for your small business in today’s day and age is almost as ubiquitous as having a yellow-page listing was a decade ago. Customers and potential clients visit websites for 24/7 access to contact information, hours, offerings, testimonials and more, so maintaining a website is a great step to ensuring that people can connect with your business.
But beyond having that essential information available is the way that information is presented. What does the look and feel of your website convey about your business? Is it easily navigable? Are fonts you’re using fun, but maybe hard to read? These are just a few considerations to bear in mind about making the most out of your web design.
Don’t just jump into the world of websites and apply trendy, flashy features haphazardly. Before you get started, map out what you want to include. Maybe that’s contact information, location(s), hours, customer testimonials, product photos, pricing, etc.
What do you want to convey about your business? If this is the first impression you’re making on a potential customer, what do you want them to get from the experience? What kind of story do you want your website to tell? Have a clear vision before getting caught up in the technical implementation.
When people come to your site, they’ll want to find what they’re looking for with ease – and your design can help make that happen. Keep this in mind when you’re considering how you’ll build the navigation, which is best served toward the top of the page. (You’re probably familiar with popular horizontal or left-side navigation bars.)
Don’t make users dig too deep to find anything, so limit the number of “layers” or sub-pages you might be inclined to build. Make sure that visitors don’t have to return to the homepage to navigate to the rest of your site – backtracking isn’t fun for anyone! Another way to help people move around your site is to use hyperlinks within a page’s content, as relevant. You can also include a search box near the top of your site. This will allow visitors to enter keywords and jump more precisely to information of interest.
Colors, graphics, fonts – these are the elements that some consider the most fun parts of creating websites! And they should be (as long as they don’t detract from your visitors’ ability to gather information). Be sure to consider readability of fonts, complementary color combinations and purposeful graphics that serve to enhance the website experience. Each of these elements deserves careful attention; so don’t overlook the importance of being strategic about how they play into the bigger picture of your website’s purpose.
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to websites, so it’s up to you to evaluate your priorities and determine how best to apply the principles of design to your web presence. You’ll find a lot of great examples out there, so poke around the internet and see what you think works best, what turns you off – you may be surprised at the insight you already have when it comes to great web design!