In 2017, about half of all small businesses lacked a website. It’s easy to see why it’s so important for the rest to get on board with a business site. But even if you have a website now, there’s more work left to do.
A small business website won’t do much to attract new customers if it’s hard to use. Slow, confusing sites tend to drive people away from your business, toward the competition.
Don’t let your competitors win — learn the small business website design tips you need instead.
In this guide, we’ve put together the top ways to make your site more competitive. Ready to get more customers without doing more work? Try these web design tips!
How to Make Your Site Faster
First, let’s take a look at what you’ll need to do to speed up your site.
Modern online customers have short attention spans. They’re not willing to wait more than a few seconds for a site to load. You can make sure you don’t lose their attention with these ideas to make your site move fast.
1. Take out the Trash
Did you know that your site gets filled up with “trash” over time?
We’re talking about the extra plugins, code, images, and other things that don’t really serve a purpose, but stay floating around your site anyway.
You’ll need to manually go in and streamline things to get your site loading fast. The exact type of trash that will build up depends on your site. For example, on a WordPress site, having lots of saved revisions will slow things down.
2. Compress Your Images
Images are key to making your site look modern and interesting. However, oversized images can also be one of the main reasons your site loads slowly.
Compress your images and optimize them for speed, so having beautiful pictures won’t push people away from your site. You can even get software that will optimize images for you if you prefer.
3. Consider a Different Hosting Package
If you’re sharing your server with too many other sites, that could be a reason that your site is running slow.
You’ll need to pay more for dedicated hosting, rather than shared hosting, but it can make a huge difference for your site’s speed. That way, you’re the only one using the server, and there are no other sites that can slow you down. If you need funds to do the upgrade, consider taking out a loan (more information here).
4. Consider Plugin Use
Plugins can help give your site the exact look and feel that you want. Unfortunately, even active plugins can still slow your site down a lot.
If your plugins need updating, or you’re using low-quality versions, that could be one reason for your slow site speeds. Try to stay on top of regular updates, and don’t forget to get rid of old plugins that you don’t need anymore. Stick with quality plugins that won’t slow you down.
5. Use Browser Caching
With caching, you can store static things on your site, so browsers don’t have to make so many requests to get the site to load.
How to Make Your Site More Attractive
Now that you know how to speed things up, let’s take a look at how to make your site more stylish, too.
1. Optimize for Mobile
You can no longer count on the majority of users viewing your site on a laptop or desktop. Today, many people browse primarily on their phones or tablets. Is your site optimized for mobile?
You’ll look out of date if your site doesn’t adapt to the device users are viewing it on. A sleek site that’s user-friendly across devices will keep customers coming back.
2. Streamline Design
Is your site busy with different colors, fonts, and pictures? It might look appealing to you, but to someone who’s never seen the site before, it will just be overwhelming.
Streamline the design so it has only one or two main fonts and colors, and lots of white space between elements. Make the actions that you want users to take clear (such as having a “Buy Now” button as a focal point).
With fewer distractions on the page, you can more easily get users to do what you want them to, whether that’s booking an appointment, making a purchase, or something else.
3. Post Great Content
Posting fresh content regularly on your site is a great way to keep people engaged. However, you’ll need to make sure that content is high-quality and relevant to your readers.
Just because something is interesting to you doesn’t mean your target audience is also interested in it. Figure out what they want to know about, or the questions they have, and post content to address these things.
Content means pictures and videos, as well as blog posts. Make sure everything you post looks nice. With modern apps and software, anyone can take nice pictures and videos for use on a website, although hiring a professional is also a good idea.
4. Work Your Brand
Your brand should influence everything about your website design.
Until you define your brand, you can’t make your site reflect it. Think about how you want to be seen by your target customers. For example, is your small business sleek and modern, or cozy and old-fashioned?
The better you understand your brand, the more easily you can use it to promote your business. Everything from images to colors to word choice on your site is part of branding.
Ready to Get Started with Small Business Website Design?
Small business website design is all about making your site look great to your specific audience. These basic principles will get you started, but it’s your target customer who will really dictate what your site should look like. Be sure to know them well!
However, while you work on speed and design, don’t forget to consider security. This is another crucial factor for small business website success.