Small Business Website Amazing Tips & Tricks!

As small business owners in 2018, your website visitors come through social media, news, direct traffic etc…It’s important now more than ever to ensure your website has a seamless transition between platforms. The world of technology and business is constantly evolving. Some trends are born, some fade away and some things become more important as the consumer trends change.

A lot has been written about fancy web design trends for 2018, but what about the most important things for the small business owners? What should you keep in mind when thinking about improving your website in 2018?

We’ve put together an amazing list of bulletproof action-items that we think are especially important to get right in your website in order to maximise the value you and your customers get out of your website.

1. Concise Statements With Large And Bold Typefaces.

In 2018 there’s more content available out there than ever before. Consumers have to navigate between vast amount of information. As a business owner today, it’s crucial that you’re able to convey your messages in a short and concise manner, especially on your website. John Moore Williams from Webflow says:

As the design world comes to the consensus that our focus should be on content, more and more websites feature lines of resonant, inspiring copy set in type that’s just as big and bold as the statement itself.
In a world that’s as fast, busy, and information-overloaded as ours is, these concise yet powerful statements will become bread-and-butter for companies of all kinds.

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With Divi, we make things as clear as possible to build the perfect website.

2. Duotone

Duotone originates back to the printing press but has lately made its way into web design and we think it’s here to stay. Essentially, it’s an image or set of images where two colors are dominant. Usually opposing ones. Designers have started using it more and more in search of simplicity and minimalism. It gives the overall design such a cool and funky look. We love it!

Daniel Lee sums it up really good in his WPMudev blog:
Duotone is an image that is composed of two colors. We have seen many images of this type being used in the past year and I am expecting this style to become more popular in 2017 and 2018.

Sites such as Spotify, have used duotone images to great effect. You may have noticed, duotone is a popular style for many YouTube video thumbnail images.

soptify home page image

 

3. Responsive Becomes Even More Important

It’s staggering how many websites are still not optimised to be responsive. Your website is being viewed on a variety of devices. Desktop, smartphones, tablets, smart-TVs, and whatnot. If your website is not responsive, it’s almost just as bad as not having a website at all. Don’t make this mistake!
Sonia Gregory from FreshSparks drives the point home:
Websites not optimized for these smaller screens can experience a decline in their search engine rankings.
The number one benefit of a responsive layout is the guarantee that any user on any device will have the best experience possible on your website. And, the most consistent.

It’s also a great way to refine the content on your site, making sure that those using a mobile device are only seeing the most essential information.

With the Google algorithm update, a responsive web design increases visibility on search engines — because it is mobile-friendly. A site with an effective mobile experience will show up on search results above one without.
It’s true: over 60% of searches now come from a mobile device.

mobile responsive

4. Long-Scrolling Websites

Imagine yourself googling for a barbershop. You check out the first result and see their website has many small sub-pages with small text that you can hardly read while navigating traffic. Nope! You hit back and take the next result. Wow. Large bold typeface. No sub-pages. Everything is laid out in one long scrolling website that’s easy to navigate. Just scroll up-or-down with your thumb. Boom! Found the contact information. Booked.
Long-scrolling websites are important. But don’t take our word for it. Here’s what the head of marketing at UserSnap, Thomas Peham has to say about them:

There are pros and cons to long-scrolling websites. All in all, we do see more and more long-scrolling websites, mainly to the success of seemingly bottomless websites like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram allow users to scroll for hours, constantly seeing new content. As a human race, we’re used to the action now. Many sites are doing away with menus and tabs and instead of putting everything on one, long page. The site can be broken up with images, typography, and videos to add some excitement to the experience.
Better keep on scrolling.

one page scrolling website

5. Lightning Fast Loading Times

Who doesn’t like speed? Especially when it comes to loading times. But who would have known it’s THAT important?
Here’s some numbers for you from Sherice Jacob Kissmetrics:

According to surveys done by Akamai and Gomez.com, nearly half of web users expect a site to load in 2 seconds or less, and they tend to abandon a site that isn’t loaded within 3 seconds. 79% of web shoppers who have trouble with web site performance say they won’t return to the site to buy again and around 44% of them would tell a friend if they had a poor experience shopping online.
Does your website load as fast as this speed reader cat turns pages?

lightning fast website loading times

6. Super Simple Homepages

We’re moving towards simplicity in every aspect of our lives. So should your website. It’s that simple!
Without further due, enter Carrie Cousins from Designmodo with her more than 10 years of experience in communications.
More designs will start to strip away the type heavy homepage styles that have been popular for a while. More designers are opting for designs that feature only a word or two on the first screen of the design.

And before you worry about SEO, these pages are often packed with plenty of information below the scroll. This is a great example of how user habits are changing web design as a whole. Thanks to plenty of scrolling on mobile websites, users are scrolling more on websites regardless of device. This makes it easier to design a light, airy hero area and pack the design with content on the scroll.

Here’s the trick: Just make sure to give users enough in this simple design to make them want more so that they will engage in scrolling behaviors.

simple homepage designs

7. User-friendly website structure

Your website needs to be intuitive and easy to navigate for a first-time visitor. A visitors’ attention span is short, and if a customer struggles to find any specific page on your website, you are likely to lose their attention altogether. They might end up taking their business elsewhere.

You should also make sure that there is an easy way to get back to the homepage regardless of where a visitor has arrived. Visitors arriving from search results can often find themselves deep in the jungle of a website, and providing them with an escape rope to the homepage could ensure that they stick around to explore a little more.

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8. Great content

Providing visitors with great content has become more and more important, exponentially so over the last decade. It used to be the case that you could build a great company, invest some money into marketing, and the rest would just sort itself out. With the sheer amount of competition found in the digital space these days, this has become very hard to pull off.

Running a company blog is more important than ever. A blog could be the cornerstone of your company’s content marketing strategy, and high-quality content will be driving visitors to your website for many years to come through search traffic. It allows you to reinforce your branding as well as establishing your company’s expertise to readers, and could, therefore, be important in convincing potential customers.

9. Testimonials Clearly Visible

What makes your customers open up their wallets and make their dollars rain down on you? Well, think about it this way. Who are you more likely to trust, someone you don’t know, or someone that has been recommended to you by other consumers? That’s right, your website should also get that point across. If you haven’t done it already, just reach out to a few of your best clients and ask them for a quote. They’re happy to provide it:

And also keep in mind what Austin Iuliano has to say about customer testimonials in his SmallBizTrends guest post:
Testimonials are a form of social proof but they deserve a category all on their own.

Your customers are not afraid to spend money. If they are hitting your website there is a high chance they actually want to purchase. What they are afraid of though is “wasting” their money. Customers don’t want to experience poor service, poor quality, or a poor experience. That is why having testimonials of your product or service is an excellent way to alleviate their fears.

A customer wants to know that you have had clients just like them and know how to handle the problems. Even though you and I both know that 99 percent of all clients problems are the same, they think their situation is special.
I can’t tell you the number of times people asked me as a social media expert “I see you have great results in X industry but have you ever handled Y industry it is different after all.”

I find this funny because Y industry is no different than x industry, it involves people knowing, liking and trusting you. But you have to alleviate that fear.

10. Linking To Social Media

As far as social proof goes, linking to your social media is just as important as having customer testimonials on your website. This shows your website visitors that there are actually real human beings behind your business. It helps to establish social proof, see what other people say about you, build a community around your business and at the very least, improve your SEO.

You can find out what is the best social media platform for your type of business on “Which Social Media Platform Should My Business Be On?

Like a blog, a strong social media presence will contribute to your branding, allow you to showcase your work, and it also opens up a direct communications channel with your customers. Not only should you be on social media by now, but you also need to provide links to your social media accounts on your website. Like we do, just below the end of this blog post.

Make no mistake, social media is incredibly important in 2018. Statista shows that 19.69 million South Africans are active users on Facebook, with other social media platforms also clocking in at several million users. Successfully tapping into that audience could be very valuable for your business.

Here is some an interesting fact, the Percentage of internet users who watch online video content on any device in South Africa is 64%
Melinda Emerson in her Nextiva blog sums it up real nice:
In today’s hyper-connected world, it is absolutely necessary for your business to have a social media presence. At the very least, you should have Facebook and Twitter accounts that are active and informative. If your website does not have clear links to social media accounts, this needs to be updated as soon as possible. Make sure they are easy to find and subscribe to so potential customers can stay informed about your business.

social media networks

11. Professional High-Quality Custom Photography

How does that saying go? One picture says more than a thousand words! High-quality photography is a big part of that. Nobody likes blurry or pixelated images. Especially today when it’s so easy to get royalty-free high-quality photos from places like Unsplash or Pixabay.
Megan Totka gives her expert opinion in her SmartHustle blog post:
Stock imagery still holds its place in design. However, most new websites opt to skip stock photos and instead share high quality and original professional photography that is customized to the website and its purpose.

12. A Website That Tells A Story

Who doesn’t like stories? A website that tells a good story is more powerful than anything else. Don’t be afraid to let your website shine a bit of light into the everyday hustles of your business. Let your website tell a story and watch the bounce rates go down. Just, keep in mind the previous points and you’re golden.
Ryan M. Pierson has put together a great guide on RocketTheme on how to do that. An excerpt below:
Gone are the days when dry, basic information is enough to serve the visitor. Often, your audience never gets the opportunity to connect with you on a one-on-one basis. That means social media pages, consumer review sites, and your website have to establish this identity for you.
While you can certainly make an impression through social media, as well as maintain a two-way communication with your audience, your website is the one true online property you have that you maintain complete control over.
This means it is important to add the personality of yourself or your brand into the written and visual content on your site. Think about your site as a tour guide helping visitors to discover what you and/or your brand has to offer.

13. Clear and complete contact info

You should make sure that you give customers basic, practical information like directions, opening hours, phone number and email address. It should be readily available and extremely easy to find. For example, this information could be in the footer of every page. Having dedicated pages in your menu, inventory or list of services could also be very important, as this is information a new visitor will be likely to seek.
It is also becoming more important to provide potential customers with ways of interacting with your company beyond just calling or sending emails. Conversational marketing chatbots allows an AI employee to help visitors, ask qualifying questions, and connect the visitor with the appropriate sales team member.

14. Security

Speaking of trustworthiness, having a secure website is an absolute must in this day and age. As iPage.com writes: “Your website is your brand, your storefront, and often your first contact with customers. If it’s not safe and secure, those critical business relationships can be compromised.”
Cybersecurity is something that audiences care more and more about, and should, therefore, be something that your business takes very seriously. A poor security protocol poses a risk to you, your customers and your partners. A single breach of your website could end up being a killing blow for small and medium businesses.

15. Clear and complete contact info

You should make sure that you give customers basic, practical information like directions, opening hours, phone number and email address. It should be readily available and extremely easy to find. For example, this information could be in the footer of every page. Having dedicated pages in your menu, inventory or list of services could also be very important, as this is information a new visitor will be likely to seek.
It is also becoming more important to provide potential customers with ways of interacting with your company beyond just calling or sending emails.

Conclusion

That’s it! If you get those things right, you’re already assured to have a better website than 80% of the other businesses out there.

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