Small business web design doesn’t have to be complicated. You don’t have to have an in-depth knowledge on the latest design trends or accessibility standards to build a functional website that converts your visitors into paying customers.

Here are 13 tips you can use to help your small business website convert visitors into paying customers

  1. Use simple navigation
  2. Keep navigation where users expect it to be
  3. Use conventional styling
  4. Use great typography
  5. Make content scannable
  6. Use unique imagery
  7. Use natural language
  8. Start collecting reviews
  9. Make contact details easy to find
  10. Create valuable content
  11. Have clear calls-to-action
  12. Make your website mobile responsive
  13. Remove pop-ups

Use simple navigation

Simple navigation is necessary for a successful small business website. It’s how visitors quickly find the information they are looking for. It will be one of the most used parts of your website, so you want to make sure it’s easy and intuitive for users to navigate.

A good tip is to have fewer links, try to keep it to 3 – 5 navigation links that are the most important for your business.

Use common language without jargon or unfamiliar terms for your pages. People know what a blog is and will have a certain expectation when they click on it. There is no need to use obscure terms that visitors can’t relate to.

Keep navigation where users expect it to be

When people visit your website, they will expect the navigation to be in the top right corner of your page. Keep it there, so users don’t have to think about it when they move around your website.

This is known as “learned behaviour”. People already know that navigation links will be in this location and expect them to be there. Even if you make it obvious that it has been moved elsewhere, people will struggle to navigate around your website as this goes against their previous experience.

Use conventional styling

When developing a website for your small business, you want to use the principle of similarity within your design. This doesn’t mean you can’t make it your own or unique to your business. However, you don’t want to use styling that will confuse your visitors.

Most small business websites will focus on generating leads or sales. If you stray too far from the norm, your conversion rate will be negatively affected.

Use great typography

The content you create for your small business website will be the driving force for attracting visitors and converting them to paying customers. When someone arrives at your site, you need to make sure they can read your content quickly.

There should be a proper hierarchy used on your page. Remember to only use one h1 tag for the most important title or subject matter. Sections should be broken down by h2 tags and subcategories by h3 tags. This will make it easy to scan your content.

Try not to use fancy fonts. They may look cool, but in reality they reduce the readability of your content and distract the user.

Make content scannable

People don’t read a website, they scan it. Use space between the different sections, so visitors know where one piece of information ends and another one begins.

Eye tracking research suggests that people scan webpages and phone screens in various patterns, most commonly the shape of the letter F or Z. Try to incorporate these patterns into your design. It will make it easier for visitors to find what they are looking for.

Use unique imagery

A picture is worth a thousand words! Use unique images where possible to define your brand on your website. Images used on the website should be related to the words used on the page.

Images are a crucial part of every good content strategy. The best images are the ones above the fold, which grab the user’s attention, trigger emotions and encourage them to take action.

If you have to use stock images, try to make them look unique to your website. You could use typography in the image as well as cropping unneeded elements, changing colours or overlaying a gradient of your brand’s colours.

Use natural language

When creating new content for your site, first write for the human user and Google second. It’s important to include the keywords that you want to target, but it should be done naturally, so it’s easy to understand.

Google has improved its ability to understand a page’s context. Saturating your content with too many keywords will not boost your SEO.

You should also avoid using jargon or buzzwords, as this will make it difficult for users to understand. Create content that is authoritative for the industry but don’t confuse your potential customers with a lot of technical information.

Start collecting reviews

People love reviews and will use them as a social signal that your small business is trustworthy and professional.

Every small business should have a plan in place to collect customer reviews. Try to get reviews across different platforms, such as Google, Facebook and Yell. You should also display these reviews on your website as they will encourage visitors to take action.

Negative reviews should be dealt with positively. Don’t ignore them, if you respond to their concerns and try to resolve them, people will appreciate the transparency and high levels of customer service.

Make contact details easy to find

Make sure your business address, phone number and email address are easy to find on the website, so potential customers can contact you if they need to.

If you provide multiple ways for people to contact you, you increase the chances that they will convert to a paying customer. The choices allow people to choose the contact method they prefer.

On the other hand, if you make it difficult for people to contact your business they will assume the business isn’t trustworthy and will use another website instead.

Create valuable content

Remember you are creating content for your audience. For that content to be effective, it needs to offer value to the reader. Content should always have the purpose of providing information, answering a question or addressing potential pain points.

The content you add to your website needs to engage your audience and encourage them to take the next step, so make sure you include clear calls-to-action.

Google will prioritise content that is authoritative and trustworthy. The more factual, reliable and helpful your content is, the better the chances are that it will be indexed higher in the search results.

If you want some quick ways to find great content ideas, read this post on Free Keyword Research Tools for Small Business.

Have clear calls-to-action

Calls-to-action (CTAs) are prompts to tell website visitors what to do next or what specific action they should take on the page.

CTAs are usually written as a request, such as “start your free trial” or “buy now” and can be either a button or a hyperlink. Try to keep them short, with actionable text that provides a clear benefit.

Without clear CTAs, many people will struggle to see the route to buying a product or signing up for a service.

Make your website mobile responsive

Website traffic is split almost 50/50 between desktop and mobile. Now, consumers expect a website to be user-friendly on mobile devices. If your website doesn’t work on mobile then potential customers will perceive this as a lack of care for their needs.

This is particularly important for a small business website. The most common reason is that people will be looking for a local business while they are outside. Either searching for directions or opening hours.

Research shows that a person who searches for a business on their mobile device, usually visits a related business within 24 hours.

Remove pop-ups

Pop-ups are generally considered bad for both the user experience and SEO. They block people from accessing the content they are looking for. This is irritating and usually results in them bouncing off the page without taking any action.

From an SEO perspective, pop-ups can have a negative impact on your search performance. In 2017, Google began ranking mobile pages lower when “content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results”.

In short, what they are saying is…stop putting pop-ups over small mobile screens otherwise your page won’t rank as high. Now, Google is taking a mobile first approach to indexing web pages, so pop-ups will reduce both your desktop and mobile traffic.

In conclusion

These are 13 common mistakes we see with small business websites that stop them converting visitors into paying customers.

There are some issues that can be overcome with simple changes that will make your website more effective. With any website, you should take a pragmatic approach to refining your content to provide a great user experience. This means you need to regularly check and improve your content to provide the best user experience.

About Wild Marketing

Wild Marketing build stunning websites for small business and craft online advertising strategies that convert visitors into loyal customers. We have a range of different website options available to suit all budgets.

If you are looking for an affordable website for your small business, we offer a pay monthly web design service that includes everything you need to get online.

If you have web design requirements that are more complex, please feel free to contact us to discuss.