Effective small business web design is now critical to almost every small business. In fact, until you have your own business website, many customers won’t see you as a credible business at all.
Why is that? What makes a business website so special?
Advantages Of Small Business Web Design
Well, a website is normally the primary marketing vehicle for your business. It isn’t just a shop window. It’s an international travelling sales team, with the ability to sell 24/7/365 to customers in their own homes in the moments when they are most interested in buying.
Think about what it would cost to achieve that coverage with a team of sales people. That’s the value a website provides. So that’s why even established high-street shops often struggle to compete without an effective online presence.
Still, “effective” is the critical word here. Just any old website won’t do.
How Is Small Business Web Design Different?
If you’re just starting in business, here’s a tip – your business is marketing. The products and services give you something to sell, but selling is what makes it a business. To sell, you need to compete, and marketing is the competition.
Some people love that idea. Most of us don’t, and many small businesses try to deny or ignore it. It’s the reality, either way.
Providing great products and services matters, but you can’t just do that and hope they will sell themselves. That sort of “hope marketing” just doesn’t work. It can always be outsold by someone who’s better at marketing, even if what they provide is mediocre.
So, small business websites need to compete. Still, don’t all websites do that?
Business Websites Are Not Personal Websites
Most websites are built as personal projects, or by people who have only ever built personal projects. Competing in search engines and converting visitors into customers simply aren’t priorities for such sites.
So building personal sites isn’t much help when it comes to designing business websites. It may teach some basics of coding – if they don’t rely on drag’n’drop editors. It may also teach some basic design skills – if they don’t rely on having an “eye for design” or being “artistic”. Design is not art.
Still, going from building personal sites to building business websites is like learning bricklaying and then claiming to be an architect. It may help, but small business web design is a different skillset.
Common Small Business Web Design Mistakes
Small businesses often set out with a “lean startup” mentality. That’s fine, but often misses a couple of vital points:
- Whilst cutting costs is good, cutting investments is often fatal. Investments are things that, unlike pure costs, pay for themselves and then generate profit. Two of the most critical investments for most businesses are websites and marketing. You need a sensible budget for these.
- Whilst starting with a “Minimum Viable Product” (MVP) to test your market is wise, it isn’t a valid test unless you reach the market. So trying that with ineffective marketing just wastes your entire budget and cripples your dream.
So, don’t risk your whole business on a DIY website. Unless you already know enough about design, search engine optimization (SEO) and conversion rate optimization (CRO) to build an effective business website, that is.
Whilst DIY website builder platforms claim you can have a “professional” website without skill, time or money, that’s just a sales pitch. If it were true, most professional web designers would be using them. Most of us don’t, because they’re limiting. We prefer to continue building sites that out-compete what those platforms can achieve. Because that’s what your competitors pay us to do.
Likewise, cheap web designers are usually either inexperienced with business web design, or moonlighting. Either way, small business websites need ongoing support, and they probably won’t be around to provide that when you need it. Don’t underestimate how much that can cripple your business just because you haven’t experienced it yet.
So you don’t just need cheap web design. You need cost-effective, affordable small business design.