Entrepreneurs everywhere are taking the time to evaluate the business choices they’ve made throughout the last year. As small-business owners, one of those tools is the design of a website. There are many online tools in the marketplace that help you set up a website in a couple of hours. However, these can be both daunting and expensive. A website that gets noticed, and especially one that is designed to sell, oftentimes takes more effort, time, and an eye for design.
Here are 7 tips for small-business owners to create a website that is memorable.
1. Pay attention to your landing page
Visitors start at your landing page. A landing page, or start page, can be one of a few galleries, from a one-pager to a full-screen image. When deciding on a landing page, keep the general design of your portfolio in mind. Make sure to follow the concept and style.
Also, consider where you want the visitor's attention drawn. After all, the landing page is your first impression, your virtual handshake. Full-screen images make an impact. If you want visitors to notice the diversity of your work or be able to choose their preference from the get-go, your landing page could be a collection page pointing to the different galleries. As much as your experience and education will be of interest later in the game, remember that the first impression needs to make a lasting impression.
2. Pick the right typography
Your choice of typography is as important as the image choice of your landing page. The font type, size, and style you select will reflect the personality, as well as the image of your business. Do you want to be seen as a creative and playful individual, or a skillful business executive? Those are questions that need to be asked.
Another tip for working on the typography of your site is planning ahead. You should create a hierarchy to show how the fonts should be used across the website. For example, if all the page titles use Arial 20 pt., and sub-titles use Arial 15 pt., etc., then you should stay consistent. This will help you build a professional website with a consistent design.
3. Carefully choose a domain and set up an email address
Picking a domain for your website is like choosing a name for your newborn child. A domain is so much more than just an address. It shows people who you are even before opening your website. Most people use their own name or business name as their domain, but keep in mind that a domain that is too long, can do more harm than good since it is not memorable and people can easily make a spelling mistake when typing it into the browser.
After carefully selecting a domain name, the next step is setting up an email address with the same domain name. This makes your website look professional and gives an impression that your business is serious.
4. Make sure your website is mobile friendly
When designing your website, it’s advisable to take mobile-friendliness into consideration. You should always ask yourself: If I use this layout in the web version, will it also look good on mobile? It’s a good idea to ask some of your friends to check your mobile site to find out the areas that need improvement.
Having a mobile site is also important for search-engine optimization (SEO) — make sure your mobile site is easy to use, images are not too heavy, and the loading speed is fast. All these help your website stand out.
5. Do not forget about the colors
Choosing a color palette is not easy. You want people to think about you when they see a specific color; so when designing a website, select a color palette that best suits you or your business. If you are a new photographer, you may want to consider using baby pink or baby blue instead of tomato red. Also, take the meaning of the color into consideration. Red symbolizes danger, black symbolizes professional, or dark or sad. So, what color do you want people to associate with your business?
6. Content is the key
Everybody loves updated content; so does the search engine. It does not mean you will have to add something new to your page every week, but you do need to consider having not only a website that is “sales” like, but also offers user-friendly content. A blog can help you achieve this. Technically, a blog helps your SEO, but it’s also a way to express yourself and keep connected with your audience.
7. Sleekness is the new black
Have you ever visited a website that has so much content that you are not sure what it sells? A well-designed website should be clean and sleek, so that visitors will be able to find the information they need without feeling lost or annoyed. If you add too much on a page, the chances are, you will be turning the visitors away. For example, your “About” page should just have your biography. Anything else, like the social-media feed, should not appear on the same page. Also, think about how to streamline your content. If you have an online store, you may want to include the link to the shipping information on the same page.
Creating a website nowadays doesn’t require any programming language or formal web-design education. Everyone can do it with the right and affordable online website builder in the market. Keep your branding in mind as well as your target audience, and an outstanding website will be within reach.
Gustav Degerman is founder and CEO of Portfoliobox (www.portfoliobox.net), a CMS and website development tool for photographers and other creative people.