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7 Must-Haves When Designing Your Own Small Business Website

As a solopreneur in today's digital world, you're more than busy operating every aspect of your small business. But you also know that an important priority in your day-to-day responsibilities is building and maintaining an excellent website. 

Designing a website can be a daunting task. Not only can it be incredibly time-consuming, but there are so many aspects to consider that pinning down just where to start can feel overwhelming. To help you get organized, we've curated a list of 7 must-have website features to plan for.

Contents:

  1. Branding
  2. Organize Assets
  3. Metrics and Goals
  4. Identify Personas
  5. Value Proposition for Personas
  6. Lead Conversion Vehicles
  7. Keywords

1. Branding

One of the first essentials to pin down when planning for your small business website is your brand, a logo, image, and/or theme that will represent your company online. When you're confident in your branding, you have a clear direction when it comes to every other element of your business and its presence in the digital world.

If your business is in its early beginning stages and you don't yet have a brand idea, take to the web and start looking for inspiration. Pinterest is a great place to start for brand ideas, with an endless source of color boards, design tips, graphics, and other media that can spark your creativity when coming up with your company's image. 

You can even search for color palettes and specific images. If you see something that catches your eye, you can save colors and photos for later. To determine what a color is for future reference, click anywhere on an image and use an eyedropper tool. (Not sure what an eyedropper tool is? Check out the Google Chrome add-on here.) You can also go so far as to determine the HEX codes behind appealing color arrangements. Try starting out by picking two stand-out colors and three base colors.

For established businesses, you should likely already have your own branded colors. But if you haven't yet, it's important to document them within a brand board.

Create one using a brand board template that houses all of your brand assets into one document. This will save you time during every step of website creation when you need to search for colors, font names, inspiration, and logo types.

 

2. Organize Assets

The next thing to do when setting up your website is get organized. Ideally, you should have all assets you will use for your website design in one place. How you organize your assets is completely up to you, whether you want to keep a folder on your computer, use a cloud service such as Google Drive, or come up with another strategy that works well for you. Whichever option you choose, an example of your digital organizational structure could look like this:

  • Branding
  • Photos
    • Website Images
    • Custom Photos
    • Advertising Images
  • Marketing
    • Content Offers
    • Blogs
    • Social Media Calendar
    • Brochures/Paper/Old Marketing Materials
  • Miscellaneous/Etc.

 

3. Metrics & Goals

Your small business website acts just like a 24/7 sales representative. This means you need to know what you want your sales representative to push for you. In other words, what do you want visitors to do once they land on your website?

Be clear with the metric or goal you're wishing to achieve. If you know what you're aiming for, you're able to design your website's entire user experience around this goal.

Use SMART goals to guide you as you determine the metrics you'll use to measure your website's success.

 

4. Identify Personas

Do you know who your ideal customer is? Do you know their pain points and problems? Your website should provide the solutions to your customers' problems. Identifying your target buyer personas is the next big step to conquer during the website design process.

Your website, as your 24/7 sales representative, is always busy selling your product and brand, even while you sleep. You want to be able to speak to your customers effectively even when you can't physically be there to do so.

Determine what you want your website to say for you by knowing who exactly you're talking to. In all reality, you should have multiple personas to encompass the wide variety of your customers.

 

5. Value Proposition for Personas

It's all too common to land on the home page of a beautifully designed website but still have no idea what that business can do for you. Not being clear with your brand or what you can offer your customers is the fastest way to drive traffic away from your website and straight to a competitor's page. It is absolutely crucial for your website's message to be clear and straightforward.

 

6. Lead Conversion Vehicles

As your 24/7 sales representative, your website should be equipped to pull in qualified leads around the clock. To do this, you must consider how to offer value to your visitors in order to convert them to leads and eventually convert those leads to loyal customers. Lead conversion vehicles are ways to convert visitors into leads (or leads into customers on your website). HubSpot talks more in-depth on lead conversion in their blog here.

There are so many ideas for lead conversion vehicles for your website. All it really comes down to is offering value to visitors.

To start, identify a taste test of your product for visitors to engage with. Learn more about calls-to-action as conversion vehicles from Hubspot, the Inbound Marketing experts themselves. Click through to their blog.

 

7. Keywords

Before you begin creating official content for your small business website, it's crucial to learn about the importance of keywords. We've all heard how SEO (search engine optimization) is important for websites, but what exactly does it mean for your brand's digital presence?

Optimizing your website for search engines is simply the practice of being thoughtful when writing your web content. In practical terms, it means making sure to use words that are specific to your brand and product to make it more likely for Google to find your website when people search.

Keywords can be broken down into two types:

  1. Branded Keywords
  2. Non-Branded Keywords

Branded keywords are specific for your brand. For instance, Nike would utilize their brand name "Nike" or "Air Jordans" as branded keywords. Those are words specific to the brand itself.

Non-branded keywords are any keywords related to the industry or product. Nike would use "tennis shoes," "sneakers," or "running shoes" as non-branded keywords.

When the average consumer turns to the web for product information, they most likely aren't typing "Nike Brand Shoes" into Google. Instead, they're probably searching "best running shoes" or "tennis shoes on sale" or "trendy sneakers in 2017" in order to view all the relevant options. Some customers might know that they want Nikes right away, but those that don't will want non-branded keywords to help them make an informed purchase decision.

Once you have lists of both branded and non-branded keywords, you can start to work these words thoughtfully into your content. Remember, stuffing keywords into every page on your website won't help you in the long run. Search engines are smarter than that; your pages and blog posts still need to crafted with human readers in mind. 

For more information on publishing smart blog posts, you can read more here.

Now that you have an understanding of the essentials required for getting your small business website up and running, you can feel confident creating your impression in the digital world. 

As always, we are always here to answer your questions. Feel free to leave a comment here or message us on Facebook anytime.