12 Things Every Small Business Website Needs To Include In Its Design

small business web design

Recently I spoke with a friend who runs a retail gift shop inside a mall. He told me his sales were down because many people search for the same gifts online. He would often spend time answering questions from new customers only to have them leave and purchase the item elsewhere. He’s wondering if he’ll be able to keep his store over the next few years.

I suggested to put his store online by designing a small business website. This way he can offer the same products online that he currently sells in his retail store.

Here are 12 things every small business website needs to include in its design:

1. Simple, memorable web address

Register a domain name that is short and easy to remember. Avoid registering a long domain address or one that includes dashes or numbers because it will only cause confusion. Even though a .com extension is preferable, it probably won’t be available so you have to get creative by adding a word at the beginning or end or selecting a different extension (ie .net, .info, .biz, .co)

2. Beautiful design

There are probably are tons of websites selling similar products as yours so your website needs to stand out from your competitors. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to get a custom design that uniquely reflects your business. This helps build your brand (think Nike) so when visitors think about one of your products they will automatically go to your site.

3. Easy to navigate

Make it easy to find information by placing the navigation bar at the top or side of your pages. Avoid using images or javascript for the navigation links as search engines don’t index images and some people have javascript turned off in their browsers. This means they won’t see the beautiful navigation bar you created.

Create a site map (similar to a table of contents) listing all your web pages so visitors can easily find the information they’re seeking.

Another helpful feature to consider is a search box at the top of each page. When a person enters a keyword in the box it will save time by taking him or her directly to that page instead of wandering aimlessly through your website.

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4. Style content for online readers

Most people just scan content when visiting a website so you only have a few seconds to capture their attention. Having too many elements on the page will distract your visitors from taking action. Visit the Apple website to see an effective example of design simplicity.

Here are some style points to keep in mind:

  • Create plenty of white space between elements on the page
  • Create headings and sub headings to break up the content
  • Keep paragaphs short
  • Utilize bullet points
  • Use a font size of 12 pixels or greater
  • Use a font type such as Verdana, Arial or Georgia

5. Clear description of products and services

If a person doesn’t get a clear idea what your site is about when they first see your home page they’ll leave and go elsewhere. Before writing your web copy think from the viewpoint of a potential customer and ask the question “what’s in it or me?” Prominently display these benefits upfront so visitors immediately know what your site is about.

6. Easy to find contact information

If your contact information is hard to find your visitors will become frustrated and leave. Prominently display your phone number and/or email address at the top of each page or include a contact form to fill out.

7. Fast-loading pages

If your website doesn’t load within a few seconds visitors will lose patience and go elsewhere. To achieve fast load times avoid using too many images on a page, flash, videos and correct html errors. Check your site speed at: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/

8. Secure, reliable web hosting service

Before selecting a web hosting company to get your site online ask these 3 questions:

  • What security measures do they have in place to protect the websites on their servers?
  • Do they create nightly backups on all their servers?
  • Is their technical support service fast and reliable?

If your website is not available to the public for a long period you could lose valuable sales.

9. Mobile friendly

These days your audience is accessing the Net from a variety of devices ie computers, tablets, mobile phones. In fact mobile devices will soon out number computers. If your website is not mobile friendly you’ll lose a large section of your audience resulting in lost sales. Before building your site make sure you select a theme that is mobile responsive.

10. Optimize for the search engines

How your website is structured will determine how easily it can be found in the search engines. There’s no point placing your business online if no one can find it.

Here are 2 main factors to optimize for:

On-page factors
Use keywords in your meta tags, file names, image descriptions, navigation and web copy.

Off-page factors
Get lots of high quality links from other sites pointing to your own.

11. Continually add fresh, quality content

Adding new content on a consistent basis not only gets the search engines to visit your site more often but your visitors will want to keep returning. Inspire them by offering new tips, the latest news in your industry, a contest or free coupons.

12. Interactivity

Building a community of loyal visitors to your website will increase sales. To achieve this add social sharing buttons to your web pages so visitors can easily share your content with their friends on Facebook, Twitter, Google+. Social signals are one of the main factors that contribute to higher rankings in the search engines. This attracts more free traffic.

Refer to this list next time you design a small business website. The more preparation you make beforehand the better your website will perform.

Whether you want a custom designed website or need to maintain, market or host your current one I’ve got you covered. With over 12 years of experience I will turn your business ideas into reality and help you generate traffic that converts hungry visitors into buyers.
Visit: Small Business Web Design


  1. Hi there Herman,
    Your post is full all valuable content, However I do think your tips here is not just for small business owners. All your tips can be adaptable for blogger as well, I will be first to use it in my blog. Continually and fresh content is the key.

  2. Do you mind if I quote a few of your articles as
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    My blog site is in the exact same niche as yours and my visitors would definitely benefit from some
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