BUSINESS WEBSITE DESIGN
Helping you tell your story
and generate more leads and sales online
As a small business owner, you need somewhere to showcase your products and services to your customer base.
Outside of traditional Sales channels, the best way to do this is with a business website.
You could be an architect, a fashion designer, one of the thousands of start ups, or an engineering company – the type of business you have doesn’t really matter. A website is essential in today’s digital world.
Our web design team has built hundreds of small business websites over the past 8 years or so and knows what it takes to be successful online.
If you are a startup or have an existing business read on, as today we are going to cover the most important things you need to consider before you get started.
Some of them may surprise you…
Small business website examples
Here is a small selection of some of the businesses we have worked with. Our website designs are fully mobile responsive and easy to manage and maintain.
1. Domain Name
Everything starts with a name and the shorter and more memorable you make it the better.
Your name is the first thing people type into Google when they look for your business. Make it easy for them to find you following these tips:
Keep your domain name simple and easy to spell. Avoid dashes or any strange characters such as numbers. You may have to match your domain name to your company but try and get it to make sense.
example: We are web developers and work mainly with WordPress. Our domain name is yourweb.ie – short, memorable, and related to our industry.
We could have called the domain wordpressdevelopmentireland.ie but that would be really hard to type into a browser bar and the changes of typing it wrong are huge – plus I would never type that much, to begin with.
Leave room for growth.
When we started the company we primarily developed business websites for clients in Ireland. Move forward 8 years and we have evolved into a full-service digital agency with a raft of services – including social media marketing – that we deliver all over the world.
The domain name still works. If we had used ‘webdeveloper’ in the name we would have limited our options today.
A final note on this is to do some homework on the name. A quick Google search to see if it has shown up anywhere before and what has been written about the company associated with it. You could even run it through the Wayback Machine to see if it was registered in the past.
If you find that your domain name has already been registered by somebody else don’t panic. Some quick research will help you find out who owns it – we can help with this – and you may be able to purchase it for your business. If not then brainstorm and just pick another name.
The next thing you are going to need is web hosting services.
This hosting space is where you will store the files that make up your website, each web page and images, and your email accounts if you decide to use standard hosted email.
There are a pile of different options when it comes to hosting. We like to look at it as follows:
Basic brochure website – For a ‘standard’ brochure style website you can get away with shared hosting with any of the providers like Blacknight or Webcore. These brochure sites tend to have about 5-10 web pages.
Small Business Website Hosting – As your site gets busier and has more content, the demands on the server supporting it get higher. At this point, you may need to look at a VPS. A virtual private server gives you more horsepower. Again these options are available from Blacknight etc.
Large eCommerce website hosting – When your site or product set grows very large then you are going to possibly need a dedicated cloud server.
We provide these through our hosting partners for clients that run large business websites or a heavy load e commerce site with high traffic volumes or for customers with very busy online shops. Some sites can run into hundreds of web pages and serve up 1000,s of page views per hour – this is where you will require the power of a dedicated server to keep up.
All providers have a centralised Control Panel where you can access your website and file system. Plesk or Control Panel is the preferred option here – ask any website designer and he will tell you to try and avoid any bespoke access methods as you will find they are highly restricted.
The final note here is about support. Make sure your provider has a solid support system in place. Phone support for your hosting provider is a must or if they have online chat – even better.
Finally, secure everything with an SSL certificate to encrypt traffic to keep everything secure.
We have a web design package that can suit your business and will always compliment this with the right hosting, saving you money.
WHAT OUR CUSTOMERS SAY
YourWeb made the Trading Online Voucher process so easy. We got a quote back from them on the same day, and Jane was amazing guiding us through the whole process. We felt we were in safe hands. The website looks professional and after the tutorial with the developer, we feel confident in updating the website going forward. YourWeb was so easy to deal with, professional and knowledgeable and we look forward to working with them again in the near future.
Damien McGrane Golf
Yourweb were a breath of fresh air to work with. Nothing was a problem, and going forward it is great to have the back of their support and Jane is only a phone call away. I personally found them to be extremely professional in all aspects of web design, digital marketing and social media and look forward to a long term relationship.
We engaged Yourweb to help us develop and launch a new interactive website for our company. The team at Yourweb guided us through the entire process from concept to Go Live in a highly effective manner. Their creativity and expert knowledge helped ensure that the website really delivered on the business objectives we had set ourselves. Their SEO services had us ranking Number One against our competitors within 3 months of launch – a fantastic result.
CEO Cignal Ireland
We always choose yourweb for our website work. They provide a hassle free professional service and deliver exactly what we are looking for – every time. Gary and his team are always at the end of the phone and we are comfortable knowing that our site is well looked after in their hands.
Gavin Duffy & Associates
3. CMS for web design
In most instances, we use WordPress for this.
WordPress is a content management system that makes it much easier to build functional websites without needing expensive dedicated developers to maintain and change your site as you grow.
For starters, over 35% of all websites are now built with WordPress. It has a huge ecosystem of software, support, and expertise all over the world.
Some of the added benefits of using this platform are:
Ease of use: It needs to be easy for your to create and edit the content on your site when we have finished the project. Modern themes have a drop-and-drop interface so you can actually see what you are doing while making changes instead of digging through lines of code.
Portability: You must be able to pick up and move your website at any stage. If you decide to migrate to a different platform or hosting company then you can just export the data and move on.
Business Continuity: With WordPress, you can easily create full backups of your website and store them in a secure location. As part of our maintenance packages, we manage this process for customers all the time. This gives you a point in time recovery in the event something bad happens to your website.
4. Tell Your Story – Website Design
A mistake we see all the time with small business website design is a lack of clear information the second you land on the page.
People are very busy, and with the always-on immediate response we have all gotten used to, you have to make sure that your website answers the question as soon as possible.
If a visitor has to go looking for information on your website they will be lost forever.
example: Say you have a website that supplies dog food. When I get to your website I would expect to see an option to buy dog food pretty much straight away. If I have to go looking for it I will inevitably get sidetracked and the opportunity for you to make a sale may be lost forever.
If you provide services then tell me quickly how your services are going to help me with my problem.
I came to your website via a Google search with a problem.
If you can’t tell me quickly how you are going to help then I am gone to your competition in about 5 seconds or less to see if they can help.
If I am going to part with some hard-earned cash on your site then you had better make sure it is secure and that you have robust payment processing in place. Stripe or PayPal is the easiest secure option to get up and running and people now expect to see them at checkout.
Add in an about us page telling your story – It helps personalise the user experience and helps you build trust with your visitors and makes customer service that bit easier because people know who they are talking to.
A contact number, email address, and postal address are also a must.
I have added in SEO next – purely because of the fact that you require an SEO solution to really succeed online.
That’s a very strong statement but in reality, SEO is the difference between your websites getting really great traffic from people looking to engage or no traffic at all.
We factor SEO in some shape or form into all our small business website projects.
We use this to help produce content for your web presence that will show up in the search engine rankings when a user types in a keyword or search term related to one of your products or services. The only alternative is paid advertising or a solid social media integration and a great social media manager.
A business website should help drive new business. As a business owner, new contacts and sales are what keeps the lights on and your website should be delivering these leads constantly.
By working with a web design agency that understands search traffic and indeed search intent you are giving yourself the best possible chance to succeed with your online endeavors.
I like to use the following example:
A really great business website with high-quality website design looks great, its a bit like great product design, but it’s not much good if nobody sees it. It’s like having a really nice car, but keeping it locked in the garage – nobody will ever see it.
Starting with the right SEO included is fundamental to getting the content right on your website. Site visitors are typing in search terms looking for your services all day long.
You need to make sure you capture those terms as part of your content strategy and have the content written in such a way that attracts and retains those customers – getting them to take action while on your website.
Web design is only one part of the story.
As mentioned above we use SEO to uncover the search terms and the intent behind the search.
Now we roll in our content marketing team to pull this all together, graphic design resources and web developers make it look engaging and easy to navigate.
This 360 approach has served our customers well over the years and we stick to the plan always, only adjusting as new trends arise.
We research everything first. To be honest, apart from your Contact Us page, every page you create on your website should serve a purpose and guide visitors to take some sort of action.
As a small business time is of the essence so getting content created for you in a way that will drive leads through your website is a huge time saver. We have plenty of case studies and business to back up the effectiveness of well-produced content.
Content should be one of the main pillars of your marketing strategy and you should have a dedicated part of your budget assigned to it.
Apart from website content you also need to support your efforts with quality social media content. This combination of organic and social media generated traffic will really help drive visitors to your website. We have built a completely separate business unit to deliver these services so go check it out here
Startups often struggle with their content marketing – they focus on talking only about their product or service.
Yes, you need to explain quickly what it is you are selling, but you also need to research how people are looking for your services and write in a way that makes sense to them.
Images: When it comes to imagery for your content, make it interesting. Steer away from the generic stock photos or people staring into space photos. Hire in a photographer – even for an hour or two and get some real photos taken of your office, warehouse, or factory and some decent headshots of your staff.
If you sell products then grab an image for each of those as well. A business website needs to tell your story so make it about your company and personalise it with some good photos.
If you are a company based in Dublin – then use images of Dublin…
Having insight in to how your website is performing is crucial.
One big thing that gets overlooked with nearly every small business website customer we start working with is reporting.
As a minimum, you will need Google Analytics set up. Google search console is also required to upload your sitemap for Google to understand the pages on your site.
A search engine is essentially just an index of pages on the internet with an interface that allows you to search this index. Your sitemap is your index so make sure to upload one when the business website is ready to go.
You can use Google Analytics to discover where the traffic is coming from that hits your website.
There was a time when you could tell all the keywords that people used to find your site but Google has encrypted this to stop people taking advantage of the system – but there are other ways to do this which we will talk about another time.
Some of the main functionality you will use:
Reporting on visitors
Crawl errors on your site
Number of views per page
Average time on site
8. Website maintenance & Backup
The very last point I want to make about have or building a business website is to have a backup and maintenance plan.
We will always advise our clients to at least have somebody on the team – if they have the capabilities in-house, to look after the website backups.
Websites are just lines of code that display text and images on a page on the internet but that code needs to be kept up to date.
Think of your business website like your car. It works fine for ages but if you don’t service it then eventually it will break down – your site is no different.
A website shouldn’t be created and then allowed to grow stale.
In order to have a successful website that ranks well in search engines and doesn’t get hacked, you need to make sure it is properly maintained.
Creating a great small business website may not be as simple as you first thought but if you follow our advice above you are at least starting out on the right path.
If all of this is just too much for you then give us a call and we can do it for you.