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  • 21 April 2015
  • Dr Billy M.

10 ways to spruce up your small business's website

As the Internet becomes more visually oriented, you should focus on the design of your small business's website to enhance your marketing efforts and keep your customers' attention. Start by addressing these key elements that dictate whether a website is successful:

Inject some warmth and personality into your site by creating unique, visually appealing color schemes.

  • Appearance. Design your site to offer visual appeal, generate a positive impression on visitors, and keep them engaged. Use a clean, simple color scheme, one that typically contains two or three primary colors that blend well, to reflect the branding of your business. Use fonts that are common across all computer platforms and are easy to read. Include meaningful graphics and quality images to lend visual variety, with a limit of four graphics per page (unless they are retail product photos).
  • Content. Your site's purpose is to enlighten customers looking for information to help them make a decision. Content should be relevant and informative to raise the viewers' confidence in your company's knowledge and competence. With clear, concise, and compelling content, speak to your visitors directly by using the second-person point of view. Avoid overwhelming visitors with flashy animations, especially since search engines cannot read Flash or JavaScript. Refresh content and add new content regularly to improve search engine optimization, as a static webpage will continue to drop down the ranks.
  • Functionality. Every part of your site—whether it be hyperlinks, contact forms, registration, or payment processing—should work properly and efficiently. This ties in with usability: Visitors want fast-loading pages, minimal scrolling, logical navigation, and compatibility across browsers and devices.

As a general note, live pages should be error-free. Smooth out typos, misspellings, and incorrect grammar and punctuation, and double-check facts and figures before you publish.

10 best practices

So, how do you spruce things up to grab readers' attention?

Make your site inviting to ensure viewers feel a connection. Use these 10 tips to increase your site's overall appeal:

  1. Include compelling images that convey emotion. Images make your site more readable by breaking up text and enhancing your audience's understanding of your content. Images are more memorable and shareable via social networks, which are powerful tools for brand exposure. Infographics, in particular, render your data more informative and engaging.
  2. Amplify your call to action. Ultimately, your site should convert customers to brand loyalists, whether by encouraging purchases or subscriptions. It should be obvious to a visitor what action you want them to take in response to your content. Make any available actions visually prominent and easy to engage with.
  3. Refine your keywords. Search engine optimization (SEO) improves your ability to be found by search engines like Google and Yahoo. Focus on keyword research to tweak elements of your website's content—such as titles, headings, meta tags, and file names—to connect with the specific search terms your audience is using.
  4. Enhance webpage backgrounds. Although black text on a white background is easy on the eyes, any content framed in this scheme ends up floating in a vast white space with no edges. Inject some warmth and personality into your site by creating unique, visually appealing color schemes.
  5. Switch to one-page scrolling. Complex or poorly coded navigation menus that consist of multiple drop-down tabs often leave visitors having to scroll horizontally. One-page scrolling tends to be more elegant, offering an uninterrupted, interactive experience for visitors.
  6. Add a blog. A blog section can perfectly augment a static site with bonus content. Use it for high-quality articles that deliver fresh information to encourage repeat visitors. Blogs also make it more convenient to integrate RSS feeds.
  7. Install threaded comments. Threaded comments allow readers to reply directly to a specific comment, creating a stronger dialogue and more immersive experience.
  8. Maintain user-friendly forms. Having usable forms enhances customer interaction with the site while also serving to generate leads. Keep the number of fields to a minimum, label all fields correctly, offer suggestions and tool tips when being executed, and display friendly on-screen messages concerning any data validation issues.
  9. Expedite mobile compatibility. The dynamism of the mobile phone and tablet makes it imperative that you create a mobile-optimized website. Use tools like Google mobile site tester to check how your existing website is rendered on mobile.
  10. Track your site's impact. Improve the quality and structure of your site to ensure it appeals to the appropriate target audience. Analyze the number and location of people visiting the various pages using a tracking tool like Google Analytics.

If you need help, there are many tools available to help you design your business website such as Two Minute Mobile and People associate the feel of your website with your company's credibility. Keep your site's appearance unique and its content factual and up-to-date to attract new readers and maintain regular customers.

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