About 90% of consumers use the internet to find local businesses, but only half of all small businesses have a website.
Not having a website costs your business money because people expect your business to have one. They don’t trust businesses without a website as much as one that has a website.
Building a website doesn’t have to be difficult, you need to know the types of websites and make sure that you build a site that appeals to your audience.
Read on to discover the types of small business websites and how to create a website design that gets results.
The Types of Websites
What do you normally think of when you think of websites? You probably think of a standard five-page website that has a home page, about page, contact, and a couple of service pages.
That’s how websites were built in the early days of the internet. These kinds of websites are known as brochure websites.
A brochure website functions just like a paper brochure. The purpose is to give visitors basic information about a company’s products and services.
An ecommerce website is an online retail store. People can search for products and place orders for them online.
Ecommerce is important for almost all businesses. Online sales increased by 39% in the first quarter of 2021 and you can expect that trend to continue post COVID-19.
A landing page is a one-page website that has one very specific purpose, which is to drive conversions. Some businesses have a one-page website focused on a single action. Others have a landing page as part of a brochure website.
To make a landing page work, you need to know what action you want a person to take. A service business usually asks prospects to book an appointment.
A tactic that product sellers use is that they have a long landing page, and use paid ads to drive traffic to that landing page. People make a direct purchase on that landing page.
Some websites are set up as informational websites.
These sites combine elements of a brochure site with a news site. The home page displays the latest posts. There are other pages you’d see on a brochure site, such as about and contact pages.
A directory website contains listings of other businesses. This is similar to a search engine or phone book. Directory sites cater to certain types of businesses or all small businesses in a local area.
A chamber of commerce site is a directory that features chamber members. Angie’s List features local contractors.
You might not want to create a directory website, but you need to know about them. These kinds of websites are an important source of backlinks.
Backlinks give your website credibility in the eyes of search engines. That helps your website rank higher in search results.
Are you a creative and need to showcase your work? That’s the purpose of a portfolio website. This is a good fit for photographers, graphic designers, writers, and craft-makers.
Portfolio websites allow you to show off your best work. You can add elements of ecommerce to a portfolio website to encourage visitors to purchase your work.
Choose From the Best Small Business Websites
How do you know which type of website is right for your business? It all starts with the purpose of your website.
The purpose of the website isn’t all about you. The best websites focus on the user. They know what their business is about and what they want visitors to experience.
It’s like walking into a retail store for the first time. You get a certain impression of the business that makes you want to do business with them or not. If they have a positive impression, they’ll take the action you want them to take.
For example, if you have a landscaping business, you want people to learn more about your business and schedule a consultation. In that case, you’ll combine a landing page with a brochure site.
Another example is a local gym. You want people to sign up for a 30-day trial that costs $99. You’ll have a brochure site with ecommerce.
Designing a Website Step by Step
You probably have the type of website that you want to build. How do you go about doing it? Start with who will build it.
You can DIY or hire a web designer to build it for you. The advantage of doing it yourself is that you learn how to build a website. The downside is that it takes a lot of time.
There are companies like Hilton Web Design that give you the option to DIY your site or hire a designer. In this case, you’d use a pre-made template. A designer can create a customized website.
Once you make that decision, think about the look and feel you want to have for the website. You can research other websites and note what you like about them. There might be headlines that you want to emulate or other design elements that you find appealing.
Start to sketch out website design ideas. You can take them to a website designer or find a template that matches your needs.
A website host is an important part of the equation. That’s because a host contains all of your website files and serves them when a person clicks on a link.
You have to have a reliable host that serves files quickly. The faster your site loads, the higher the conversion rate. That’s critical for landing pages.
There are some website services that are all-inclusive. They have everything you need to start a website, from hosting to templates. Some even have built-in payment solutions for ecommerce.
All-inclusive hosts are OK if you’re a beginner starting out on your own. They often cost more than self-hosted websites and there are limited customization options.
Self-hosted means you have a hosting plan, but you’re responsible for setting up the website and maintaining it. These companies make it easy to set up a WordPress site with one click.
They also give you options to scale and grow your website. It’s much easier to customize your site with these plans.
Designing a Website for SEO
Many business owners feel that it’s a waste of time to create a website because it will get lost in search engines. You have to learn about search engine algorithms and the ranking factors used to display search results.
Google uses at least 200 ranking factors for search results.
As you build your website, you need to keep these ranking factors in mind. Of course, you’re going to think of keywords. Keywords have always been one of the main ranking factors for websites.
Google uses artificial intelligence to understand the context of searches. You need to understand what your audience searches for and make your content relevant to those searches.
Website performance is a ranking factor. You do need to make sure that your site loads quickly for users. Compress images so the file sizes are smaller and upload videos to YouTube or a video host and embed the videos on your site.
Website security cannot be ignored. Small business websites are under attack every day. A secure website also adds a layer of trust.
Create your site using the HTTPS protocol. You need to have an SSL certificate to do that. The good news is that most website hosts provide this for free through Let’s Encrypt.
Website Design and the User Experience
The most important part of SEO is the user experience. Go through your design like a brand new visitor. Ask yourself if there are things that are frustrating about your site.
For example, a font might be hard to read on a mobile device. Make sure that you use fonts that are large enough to read on all devices.
Your site should be easy to navigate. Test the buttons on all devices to ensure that the links work and information is easy to enter on small devices.
Pay attention to these small details. A great user experience translates into more sales and better SEO.
Build the Best Website Design for Your Business
A website is the first thing that consumers notice about your business. They’ll form impressions of your site and make decisions.
If you don’t have a website or rely on a Facebook page, you’re not giving yourself a chance to get new business. You just learned the way to a better business. You know the types of websites and the steps of good website design.
Now, you just need to take action. Put your business on the path towards success today. Be sure to check out the other articles on this site for more business and digital marketing articles!