There are “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 may be a challenge, but certainly not impossible, and more importantly, if you are successful it will pay off in leaps and bounds.
Here are five tips to help you achieve a standout website for your small business:
1. Know your audience
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 everyone, will ensure that your website stands out to the right people.
2. Functional website with good navigation
More than likely you’ve landed on websites that take too long to load, have buttons that don’t work, or are just difficult to navigate. For most people, this is enough to bounce away from the site! In fact, 40% of people will bounce if a site takes more than 3 seconds to load (kissmetrics). We’re busy people, and simply don’t have time, especially when we know there is another website a few clicks away, 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 to follow. Use google analytics to understand the flow of traffic to and through your website, and over time use that information to optimise your website.
3. Don’t get emotionally attached
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 may like the colours red and blue, but that doesn’t mean you build your website with blue background and red writing! Instead, put your personal preferences on the table, consult an expert, and research the latest trends and your consumer preferences. Then using this powerful information, set out to design a website that is standout for your industry.
4. Be creatively on trend
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. Next skeuomorphic design 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 equal 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 personalise it, so that it uniquely represents your brand.
5. Benchmark against the best of the best
Instead of benchmarking your website against the small business up the road, aim higher, bench mark your website against the best of the best in your industry. You may not have the same budget as that large company, or offer as wide a range of products/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 is, don’t settle for a mediocre website. If you really want your website to standout, keep striving, enhancing and optimising your site to look like the best in the business.