When it comes to designing a website there can be alot of options. However it’s better to keep things simple, especially if you’re just starting out. Forget about all of the fancy scrolling effects, typography trends and micro-interaction flourishes. You can have an outstanding website without any of those things. As an SME all you need your website to do is attract visitors, provide information and hopefully add more customers to your business. So if we strip a website back to it’s bare bones what does it need to be successful?
1. A responsive design
We’ve talked about the importance of having a responsive web design many times before. Not only do responsive websites create a great user experience as they shape themselves to whatever screen they are being viewed on – they’re great for SEO too. After all, quite a while ago search engines like Google started penalising websites that weren’t responsive. So, if you want your SME website to rank well it has to be responsive.
2. Options for SEO
If you want to attract new visitors to your website you need to ensure it has SEO capabilities. Can you edit meta data like meta descriptions, titles and alt-tags? These elements are imperative if you want to rank well in organic search results. So, in short, every successful SME website must have a range of easy to edit meta data options. If you’re a bit stuck try out the Yoast plugin on WordPress, or check out Moz for some other options.
3. Clear CTAs
Your website needs to have a goal no matter what your business is. Do you want people to make purchases, sign up to receive marketing information or get in contact with you? Whatever your goal is you need to make sure you have clear CTAs (calls-to-action). CTAs can be anything that push visitors towards your business’ goal, like add to cart buttons, pop-up sign up forms or sticky telephone numbers. Just make sure they are clear and stand out.
This may sound obvious, but contact pages can often be an after thought if your SME website goal isn’t to get people to contact you. It happens so often – we visit a website, get intrigued by it’s content and then want to contact the business, only to find that we can’t. There is nothing more annoying! Make sure you have your contact details listed on a dedicated page and ensure that it is easy for users to find. The simplest way to do this would be to add it to your navigation menu.
5. Relevant and aesthetic visuals
Nobody likes looking at a mundane and dull website. Make your website one to remember by adding relevant eye-catching visuals that promote your business and what it believes it. Websites that look more attractive and showcase a business’ personality are far more likely to be successful.
6. Captivating copy
Captivating copy is key when trying to communicate what your SME can offer customers. Without it, we’re afraid customers will be back to Google in a flash looking for an alternative to your business. Keep copy concise and meaningful, break it up with visuals and ensure that it is written well.
7. An enjoyable user-experience
If your website doesn’t have an enjoyable user-experience you may as well not have a website. Make things simple for users and don’t make them think hard about where your website is leading them or what they need to do next. You can do this by adding clear CTAs and using copy that is clear and to the point.
8. A simple and easy to edit backend
There’s nothing worst than having a beautiful website that you can’t edit yourself! When creating a website, whether you’re doing it yourself, going through an agency or hiring a freelancer, make sure it is easy to use for everyone who needs to edit it. We always recommend that SMEs use an easy to learn CMS like WordPress for their websites as it’s universally one of the most simplest “website builders” out there whilst still being comprehensive enough to offer professional features.
Every website no matter how big or small needs to be secure. Even if you’re not taking payments from your website, you still need to make sure that information on there and information being submitted through forms is protected. Many CMSs have security features built in however it never hurts to seek consultation from an IT security expert who can guide you through the steps you need to take in order to lock your site down.
10. A blog
Blogs are not just a gimmick or passing trend – they’re here to stay and for good reason too. Not only are blogs a great way to represent your own thoughts and ideas, they’re great for SEO too. Thanks to nature of blogs, your website is constantly being updated as well as providing you with the opportunity to target some important keywords to boost your organic listings.