There are literally “over 1 billion websites on the world wide wide web today” (internetlivestats). In an increasingly competitive environment where websites are fighting for the same traffic, how do you ensure that your small business website stands out from the rest? It is definitely a challenge, but not impossible and more importantly if you are successful it will pay off in leaps and bounds.
Design a website with your target audience is mind. In the end it only really matters that your website stands out to those who are important to your business – your target market. So be clear on who they are. “What kind of things do they do? What kind of music do they listen to? What products do they use? How old are they? The answers to these questions and many more will help you better understand the people you are designing for.” Use aesthetics, language, content and functionality that appeals to this group. Tailoring a website to the people you are trying to reach rather than every man and his dog will ensure that your website stands out to the right people.
Certainly you’ve landed on websites that take too long to load, have buttons that don’t work or make it difficult to find to what you’re looking for. If you’re like most people this alone is enough for you to bounce! In fact 40% of people will bounce if a site takes more than 3 seconds to load (kissmetrics). We’re busy people and we simply don’t have time for inefficiencies, especially when there is probably a website around the corner that will deliver a better experience. The moral of the story… Ensure that you’ve tested your website, all aspects are in working order and that navigation is simple for the everyday person to follow. Use google analytics to understand the flow of traffic through your website, then use that information to optimize your navigation.
When it comes to your website, like any other aspect of your business it is important that you make good business decisions, not emotional decisions. You might like the colours red and blue but that doesn’t mean you build your website with a blue background and red writing…hell no! Instead put your personal preferences on the table, consult an expert and research the latest trends and consumer preferences. Then using this powerful information set out to design a website that is standout for your industry.
Let’s admit it, in the mid 90’s some website were just way over done. Then there was web 2.0, the age of gradients, shiny bubbles and shadow effects. Skeuomorphic design then made a brief appearance and now here we are today in the midst of flat, minimalist design. Yes clean, minimalist websites are awesome but remember clean doesn’t have to be boring, you can still be creative! Here are some great website examples. Standing out requires you to take design that is on trend today and then creatively personalize it and add flavor to it, so that it uniquely represents your brand.
Don’t benchmark against the small business up the road, instead bench mark your website against the best of the best in your industry. Ok, so maybe you don’t have the same budget as that large company does or you don’t offer as wide a range of products or services. That’s ok…Often these larger companies have invested significant amounts of time and money into market research, digital strategies and their online presence. As a small business owner you can leverage the ground work already done by bench-marking your site against businesses such as these. The point really is, don’t settle for a mediocre website. If you really want your website to standout keep striving, enhancing and optimizing your site to look like the best in the business.