three things every website should have a small business guide

Small Business Guide To Web Design

Small business website design is different than building a personal portfolio or other types of websites. Building a great small business website takes time and a unique strategy to reach your ideal customers. Instead of just promoting yourself and your work, you must put yourself in the mind of your ideal customer and understand their problem, and how you uniquely solve the problem.

Before we get started with how to design a small business website, we must focus on the customer we want to attract.

First, I want you to think about the customer you love to work with the most. Now identify what service you love to offer that pays you the most money. As you design your website, your goal is to show the ideal client being successful through your services or products.

You want to show how your ideal customer get the project done correctly, on time, or on budget. If they can easily understand that you can help, and are trustworthy – it’s much easier to make the sale.

Today you’ll discover some helpful tips for attracting the right people by creating a great website for your company. We’ll also discuss the importance of choosing the right design and layout for your website.

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Create A Style Guide

Before getting started create a clear style guide. Often this relates heavily to your logo and creating a cohesive brand identity. Once your graphic designer sends you the final logo, ask for the specific fonts and colors used in the logo design. Graphic designers can also provide a comprehensive style guide showing how the logo should be used in different situations, or which colors from the design go best together.

You can then use the same fonts and colors in the website design. The goal is to make sure your brand feels seamless across the internet. Your ideal customer wants to see that you have a clear brand and that you have a professional level of attention to detail. If they click on a Facebook ad, they will likely expect to go to a website that looks the same.

If your off-site marketing doesn’t look the same as your websites, potential clients may think they have been tricked or that you are not very professional. This will likely lead to a high bounce rate (leaving the website quickly), which is bad for your search engine optimization.

Think of your website as a virtual storefront for your small business. Having a consistent look and feel is vital to its success. A clear style guide will help you create a cohesive look and feel and ensure your branding strategy is consistent throughout your website and marketing materials.

Branding is often the first impression your small business makes on potential customers, so make sure you are keeping things consistent and paying attention to the details.

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    What Is In Website Style Guide?

    A style guide is a design reference that helps you create a consistent design for your website. It contains rules and guidelines for various elements of your website design, including typography, color, and layout. Having a web style guide can help you create a cohesive design and ensure that your site looks professional and unique.

    The main goal of a website style guide is to create a consistent design that represents your brand accurately and clearly. The guide should also be designed to reflect the values of your business and your personality as a company.

    Your logo

    The first thing to include in a branding style guide is your logo. This is the symbol that most people associate with your brand. Getting this part of your design right can make a big difference in how your brand is perceived and recognized by the public.

    Your typeface

    A style guide will contain the fonts associated with your brand. Sometimes there are multiple fonts used in a logo. A style guide will outline which fonts to use for general text, titles/headings, alert messages, forms, and any other uses in your branding and web design.

    Your visuals

    A style guide can also include an overview of what visuals are appropriate for the color pallet and brand values. Having a clear outline of appropriate visuals can help you delegate many design tasks without having to ask you for assistance.

    Your layout

    Style guides will share information about the appropriate spacing for padding and margins throughout your site, or branding assets. This means that your brochure layout, website layout, and any other promotional materials have the same layout. This level of consistency makes it easy for potential clients to identify your brand online and offline.

    Create A Clear Page Structure

    Any good guide to small business to web design must discuss page structure. When building a starter website for my clients I create a site structure that goes like this: Homepage, About, Services, Contact.

    An example homepage layout often looks like the following:

      • Hero image & call to action
      • Overview of services
      • About section
      • A feed of recent blogs
      • Testimonials
      • How to get started & call to action
      • Footer

    Each website is unique, and some websites don’t need all of this information or multiple pages. You can first start with a one-page website that contains all the basics. You can build out the site structure over the years as your business grows.

    Create Compelling Content

    The most essential part of a small business website is the content and creating new content. You will need to write and re-write or revisit content for your website roughly every 6 months. Get used to a kaizen experience of incremental improvement.

    Your goal is to provide useful, authentic, and reputable content that represents you, your brand, and how you do business. Content in conjunction with design can send a powerful message about your professionalism, and knowledge of the subject matter.

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    As you write your content you will want to make sure your words are in line with the photos on your website. When writing content consider the most recent interactions you’ve had with your customers. Make sure you write about the common problems your customers experience, in the way that they talk about the problems. Avoid industry jargon, and instead, write content as if your potential customer was on the phone. Make them know you understand their issue the way they see it as a problem.

    Incorporate answers to common questions and let your customers know you hear them. Preemptively providing answers to common questions increases your perception as a thought leader and trustworthy business.

    Use Calls To Action


    Many customers don’t know what to do after they read a website, or what the next step will look like. A good call to action will inspire readers to take the action you want them to take. For example, your CTA could be a “call now” button or a “contact us today” via a contact form. If a visitor is not prompted to do something, they are unlikely to take action.

    Make your call to action as clear and attractive as possible. This means making it the unique, colorful, one-of-a-kind button on the site. You want something that captures their attention.

    Let the potential customer know what will happen when they make that call. Share what the next step looks like such as “Call now and schedule your consultation and get a proposal for your consideration.” Outlining the next steps reduces decision fatigue and helps the customers mind rest knowing what they can expect after they make the first call. 

    Summary: Small Business Guide to Web Design

    This is just a basic introductory guide to small business web design and what you should have on hand when building your website. Remember, your site should always be revisited and revised. Your goal through your web design and content is to tell the right person that you can solve their problem. This is ideally a client you love to work with and will keep you in business for years into the future. Revisit your website often to ensure the layout is easy to navigate and all the information is up-to-date and accurate. If you want me to build your website, feel free to contact me via my easy five-minute contact form.

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