When you go to any of of the world’s great museums you will see abstract art which shows off the wild imaginations of their creators like Pablo Picasso. Somehow we have gotten to the point where some people believe their website should be this type of artistic creation.
Many times your website is the first impression people have of you and your business. In today’s world people do not have the time to spend even minutes looking for what they need on your website. (My guess is that Picasso would have hidden his navigation within a strange shape in some sort of cubist image map.)
Tip: Never make it hard to find the information people are searching for on your website.
There are ways to have a website which has unique features, yet allows your visitors to find what they need.
here are four ways we can do this:
Number One: Unique Branding
A logo is a great place to start your branding efforts. This is the place where you can be truly unique and stand out from the crowd. If I mention Apple, Nike and other famous brands, you picture their logos immediately. Your logo and matching color scheme should be consistent throughout your marketing efforts and social media channels. No one should go from your website to social media and see something that doesn’t match your website’s branding. One of the best things about logo design is that it is no longer the expensive process it was back a decade or so ago. For relatively short money you can have a unique, special logo that sets you apart in the marketplace. If you aren’t sure where to have a logo designed, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we can assist you.
Number Two: Your Content
Your content should be all about you and written in a style uniquely yours. People too often tend to copy their competitors and just change around a few words. This never works. Speak in your own voice, and differentiate your business from those you compete with for business.
If you want to be unique, have photos that are uniquely yours. It is not very hard or expensive to have photos of your team done by professionals and also have photos of your business created. I don’t have a problem with stock photos being sprinkled around a site, but when I use them I try to use a little more unique images, not the beautiful family with the giant smiles. Make your photos relatable.
Number Four: Your Blog.
One of the best places for you to show off what’s great about your company is to fill it with interesting news and blog posts. Not only are blogs great for search engine optimization (SEO), they also give people a reason to keep coming back and checking out your website.
So, as we have discussed, you don’t have to have Picasso design your website. You want to be unique and that is 100% understandable. But you don’t have to go crazy, and you especially don’t have to create a website that’s hard to navigate and for your visitors to find what they’re looking for. As we said, first and foremost the most important thing your website can do is allow people to get what they need and to hopefully contact you via your call to actions.
When you build a small business website these are the things you absolutely must-have. All should have the following:
About Page – One of the most visited pages on most websites. This is where you tell people about your company, the history and what you do. This is also called, Who We Are, Our Story and other names. Whatever you want to call your page, this is one of the most important of the must-have pages.
Sub Page – Team Page – Depending on whether or not you’re an individual contributor or have employees, you may want to have a page for your team. This isn’t necessary for smaller firms.
Services Page – Tell People What Services You Offer. When people surf the web they are looking for something. Make it easy, list out all your services. This page is sometimes called What We Do, and as with About, it doesn’t matter what you title the page, as long as you clearly list what it is you do.
One thing I like to do is include a line saying if you don’t see a service listed, contact us. There may be things you don’t do normally but that you would do, or at very least recommend someone else.
Contact Page – Let people know how to reach you. Make sure you include the following:
Contact Form – Keep it simple, people are leery about giving too much information
Blog/News Page – One of the most important areas from an SEO standpoint. If you want to grow your online presence, there is no better way than to be constantly adding quality content. And there is no better way than by blogging.
Testimonials Page – REAL Testimonials. Don’t have fake or fake sounding testimonials. If possible include the person’s full name, position and company. Then the testimonials carry weight.
Call To Action – Very important to have a call to action. What do you want visitors to your website to do? Contact You? Make an Appointment? Buy Something? Have a clear call to action. We blogged about this way back in 2011, in post entitled: Clear Call To Action: Keep your eye on the prize and that post is still accurate today.
Two Level Navigation Menu – If possible, all your pages should be no more than 2 levels deep. I recently saw a small website and the page I was looking for was 5 levels deep. Ridiculous and unnecessary.
Responsive Design – If your website isn’t mobile friendly, STOP and get someone to build you a new site. Over 50% of the visitors to your site are getting having a poor user experience. Responsive design is where your website adjusts to the user’s screen size and looks good everywhere. More on Responsive Design »
Unique Logo – Logos set your brand and the design of your site. Best of all it isn’t all the expensive to have a custom logo designed.
These mainly pertain to informational websites. Depending on your business, we’d also recommend:
Ability to pay invoices online
Ability to sell online
Ability to make appointments online
BOTTOM LINE: There are of course many other things you can add to your small business website. These are just the must-have pages and elements we think are crucial, especially when you are just starting out. Of course, you can always contact us and we can go through your individual requirements and make recommendations tailored for your particular business and industry.