Design plays an important role when creating a professionally designed website. The way your website looks affects everything from how much time a visitor spends on a page, the trustworthiness or credibility of your small business, how many other companies or websites link back to your website (which helps your search engine rankings), and the number of conversions your website produces.
In this article, we’re going to look at four visual design elements and four technical or functional design elements that help create a professionally designed small business website.
Visual design includes the color palette, font choices, photography, and layout/ spacing.
Color is a powerful design tool because it can elicit a psychological or emotional response. How you use colors can attract your target audience and can help sway the opinions and actions of your website visitors. On the contrast, if your small business uses colors that don’t appeal to your ideal client, you can repel them from your website.
If you’re picking out colors for a new startup or rebranding your existing company, always choose colors that speak to your ideal client over your own personal preference or favorite colors. Just because you love hot pink and leopard print doesn’t mean your customers will.
Just like colors, typography can also convey emotions and feelings when your visitor views to your website.
There are 3 different font types or classes:
- Serif fonts – traditional and professional
- Sans serif fonts – modern, clean and informal
- Script fonts – resemble handwriting, decorative, soft, & sometimes hard to read
On your website, you’ll want to choose two fonts: a heading font and a body font. In some cases, you can use a third font as an accent, but we don’t recommend using more than 3 fonts. Your fonts should accentuate your brand message, not just on your website but also throughout all of your marketing collateral.
If you want to explore font pairings to see what looks good together, check out Canva’s ultimate guide to font pairings.
Photography can make or break a website. Websites with low-resolution images or overly-staged stock images can reduce the credibility of your website. Whether you choose to use stock images or curate your own, the photos you use should:
- Appeal to the target audience you want to attract
- Set the appropriate tone. Your subject’s clothes, facial expressions, and environment all communicate pieces of your company.
- Use colors that coordinate with your brand
- Be styled or edited the same way every time creating a cohesive look
If you’re an entrepreneur creating a personal brand, invest in some professional photos ASAP! Not just headshots either. If your brand represents a lifestyle, take photos at locations that portray your lifestyle like at home, in your kitchen, at a coffee shop, on the beach – whatever represents you and your brand.
4. Layout & Spacing
Cluttered website designs with too much information can make it hard to understand what really matters. When you’re designing your website make sure to remove unnecessary distractions from the user’s journey. That means your small business website should include a simple and well thought-out layout. Simple layouts avoid overwhelming visitors with too much text on the screen and help the content to seem logically organized.
Negative spaces between graphics, margins, columns, images, text and other elements help deliver a clear and direct message and focus our attention on what’s important. A good layout with adequate spacing dictates how your eye flows through the page, improves readability and your small business website’s performance, so they’re important design elements you shouldn’t skip!
Technical/ Functional Design
Functional design includes responsive (or mobile-friendly) design, fast load times, SSL encryption and search engine optimization (SEO). Let’s take a closer look at each element:
Now that mobile phones and tablets are more accessible than ever, it’s critical that your website design is responsive. If you’ve recently visited an old website that doesn’t include a responsive design, you know they can be slow to load, have tiny text and require screen pinching and swiping just to see the content on that one page. To quote Sweet Brown, “ain’t nobody got time for that.”
6. Fast Loading
If your small business website pages take longer than 4 seconds to load, chances are your visitors are quickly hitting the back button. Consumers today are impatient; they’re busy and want information instantly. If your website has slow load times you may not only have ticked off users and lower conversion rates, but you’ll likely get dinged by Google’s search engine ranking algorithm. OUCH!
7. SSL Encryption
If your website doesn’t display a green lock with the word “secure” next to the website address or start with “https://”, your website doesn’t have an SSL encryption.
SSL encryptions protect the integrity and confidentiality of data between the user’s computer and the site. Essentially, it tells your visitors that your website is safe to browse and safe to process payments. Now, Google also gives a small SEO boost to encrypted web pages.
8. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engines crawl your website and gather data about the content they found on your small business website. Every time someone searches on Google, Yahoo!, or Bing, the data from your website and all the other indexed websites gets processed through a sophisticated algorithm. Based on a multitude of factors, the algorithm presents the most relevant content to the searcher.
To rank on the first few pages of these search engines, it’s important to implement optimization strategies. A few basic SEO strategies include adding original, high-quality content to your site regularly, using keywords to attract your perfect client, and updating meta descriptions, titles, tags, and more on each web page.
Do you have all 8 elements on your small business website?
An optimized website can work 24/7 for your business. If your website needs a refresh or you need on-going support and maintenance, DeskTeam360 can help.