For small business success, your company needs a robust website. There is no way around it. Simply put, without a captivating website presence, you will miss valuable business and fall behind your competitors who have optimized their websites.
There is a large array of information on the internet about web design trends. Working in this industry for over a decade, we know how quickly things can change in the online world. From our experience, these top 3 trending priorities will be the most beneficial for small business web design success now and for the coming years.
So, moving into 2019, here are the:
TOP 3 priorities Trending for Small Business Web Design:
1. Your Website MUST be tailored for User Experience
User experience (abbreviated as UX), is how a visitor feels when they interact with your website. UX optimization is basically focusing on the visitors of your site.
Search engines are experts at data mining. They don’t just help people find what they are searching for, but they collect data that helps them understand user behavior. Search engine algorithms are fine-tuned according to this data to help people find more of what they are searching for and less of what they don’t want.
RankBrain is the AI (artificial intelligence) that Google uses to sort search results, filtering through websites that revolve the most on user interaction. When a website does a better job at meeting the needs of searchers, it increases the chance of getting higher rankings in the search results.
Designing a site that makes it easy, attractive and engaging for people to use enables search engines to notice and rank your site higher. If you focus on UX before the web building process, you may reduce the number of edits and alterations later on, saving you time and money.
An Intuitive Site Tailored to User Experience (UX) Includes:
- Simple to follow layout and high-quality images, providing a great first impression
- Set up for mobile, Responsive Website Design
- Easy to navigate, simple and clean
- Large titles that are attention grabbing
- Good use of white space and negative space
- Consistent design throughout the site
- Use of animation when helpful to direct visitors to goals and add humor
- Design focused around your Brand (Branded to your business)
- Attention-grabbing graphic design, logo & tagline
- Gives emotion to your brand.
- Shows that your company is legit and trustworthy
An example of a well-thought out UX website design is Carnival Cruises. From the moment you land on the page, there are clear steps to take to book a cruise, large color image to catch the eye, and easy to understand information before needing to scroll (above the fold line).
Other Great UX Examples to Glean Ideas From:
- Big Drop with alluring typography that is simple yet powerful. The layout is clean.
- Climber is an example of a creative user interactive site. The theme is very unique and singular with intriguing imagery and animation.
- A newer eCommerce site is Bellroy wallets. Visitors see right away how they are different from everyone else with their various wallet styles and videos that showcase each wallet’s unique features.
UX Mistakes to Avoid:
- Choosing Diversity over Consistency. Once you have chosen your color scheme and fonts, keep it consistent throughout your site, including the color scheme of your social media channels.
- Prioritizing loading speed over UX. Loading speed by itself won’t keep a user on your site. Be sure and attend to your UX needs first before your speed issues.
- Overlooking the need for great content. Don’t get overly focused on user experience with layout, graphics, design and animation that you forget to include great content. Quality content is very essential for a successful website. We will talk about this more in the third section below.
- Focusing on the incorrect elements. Visitors will typically spend just over 2 seconds browsing a website before they focus on a certain area. Research has shown that attention usually goes in this order: business logo, navigation menu, search box, and social media icons. Then: Main page, written content, and context at the footer.
- Trying to meet too many goals. If your site is geared towards achieving multiple goals, you may be dissuading your visitors from making a decision. Simplify the visitors journey by keeping one goal in mind and matching that goal with your visitors.
2. Your Website MUST be Optimized for Local SEO
The next most vital tool to implement in your web design is SEO (search engine optimization), specifically for your location. This is how people will find your site when they search for you on the internet. Search engines have continued to refine their perplexing search algorithms to give users the best, most relevant results.
Most people will search the web when they are looking to make a purchase, therefore being found in the searches it vitally important for your business.
Local SEO integrated into your website is the most potent way to increase revenue and expand your target audience. It benefits your business by raising awareness of your brand. By focusing specifically on your targeted customers, it decreases your competition.
Integrating SEO into your site during it’s construction phase is best, so that when it goes live, it will already be optimized to be seen by your audience when it is indexed by search engines.
An Effectively Optimized Website for Local SEO Includes:
- URLs that are crawlable and accessible for search engine bots
- Keyword research. Learn what the search engines think is relevant to the searcher
- Keyword optimized meta data and tags
- Geo-targeted keyword identifiers
- Google My Business page setup
- Page hierarchy structure
- Rich snippets and schema (if needed)
- Cornerstone content and intrasite linking
- NAP (Name, Address, Phone) management
- Social media integration
- Citation listings
- Reviews and ratings management
Local search trends are growing strong and will be even more significant in the coming months and years. Now is a great time to take advantage of implementing local SEO into your web design. You can boost your business before your competitors catch on. Web design with SEO can improve your rate of conversions by getting your website seen in search engine results.
SEO Mistakes to Avoid:
- Not considering SEO from the START. When designing a website, it’s easy to focus on the visual features you want. Yet to really resonate with your targeted audience, you need to have SEO ingrained in your design (or redesign) strategy from the get go.
- Optimizing page content for the wrong keyword. Shorter more competitive keywords are much harder to rank for. Do your keyword research and choose long-tail keywords or geo-targeted keywords to optimize your web pages with for better search results.
- Ignoring Metadata. It may be tempting to ignore your website metadata information, but that would not be wise. Your title tags and meta descriptions play a huge role in the search engine optimization of your website.
- Posting poor quality content. It’s imperative to write long-form original content if you want your site to rank. See more about content in our third section below.
- Assuming any link is a good backlink. Links to your site from places that aren’t relevant could negatively affect your site’s rankings. Link authority plays a strong role in achieving higher website ranks. If you are doing a website overhaul, use google Webmaster Tools to look for any manual penalties detecting a low-quality link. Make those links no-follows so Google will stop counting them.
- Keyword stuffing. Popular in the past, today you could be penalized by Google for loading too many keywords in your site’s content. Your keyword-to-content ratio should be no more than one keyword for every 50 words at most. Gear your content more for user readability than for the number of keywords.
- Forgetting about Web Analytics Tracking. Be sure and add Web Analytics Tracking to your website so that you can benchmark your stats. You want to be collecting data as soon as your site is launched.
3. Your Website MUST Have High Quality Content
Publishing quality content means that visitors find what you have on your website extremely valuable, current, and something they want to share with others. This kind of content generally solves a need they have or fixes a problem. High quality content is professionally written, engaging and easy to read or view. It can be text and images, yet also video and animation.
The content on your website should not only draw your visitors in but keep them onsite and coming back often.
The act of creating and distributing content for your specific audience is called content marketing. This strategic marketing approach focusses on creating consistent and relevant content that will attract and retain your target audience and drive them to conversion.
Content marketing is more competitive than ever. However, there are effective strategies to follow that will help your business develop great content to reach your target audience.
A Website with an Effective Content Marketing Strategy Includes:
- Well-written website content
- Engaging blog posts updated regularly (keeps fresh content updated on your website)
- Original content NOT just aimed at getting a sale
- Quality press releases
- Quality social content diversified (text, images, video, etc.)
- Entire sections of website dedicated to social callouts and features (if needed)
- Strategically positioned links and icons to your social channels
- Content optimized with relevant keywords:
- Short and long-tail keywords
- Niche industry keywords
- High- and low-competition keywords
- Branded keywords
- Social keywords and hashtags
- Geo-targeted keywords
Small businesses can no longer afford to procrastinate content marketing. Whether you are planning your web design features or overhauling your current site, now is the best time to invest in a high-quality content and a marketing strategy for your website. It’s time to stop asking how your content can drive sales, but instead ask what your content can do for your audience.
Website Content Mistakes to Avoid:
- Publishing content that is too thin. Search engines prefer and love quality content that is rich with relevant information. 200 to 300-word counts are no longer the goal as they are targeted by the Panda update as thin content. Instead go for a word count around 1800 to 1900 for your web pages and blog articles.
- Creating generic content. Get stronger results by writing content that is tailored to your target audience.
- Ignoring video. Be sure and include video content into your marketing strategy. Video will account for over 80% of all online traffic within the next few years. Video is a powerful content tool.
- Not utilizing social media channels. Don’t just limit your content to your website or blog. Create a Facebook page and use other social channels to publish your quality content to. Take advantage of this free marketing.
- Forgetting to include a Call to Action. The performance of your content increases when you use call to action words.
- Not engaging with your audience. Your content strategy success depends on your business or brand engaging with your audience. Respond sincerely and positively to comments on your site, blog, social channels and reviews.
In the online marketing industry, we have seen these main 3 trends above to be the most beneficial to small businesses seeking website design. With 2019 approaching on the horizon, now is a perfect time to implement these web design strategies for your business success.
As an experienced Web Design and SEO company, ZooSEO helps businesses succeed in constructing a website that is attractive, functional and easy to use. Running a business is time consuming and can be stressful. Having a website designed specifically for your brand and implemented with the tools for success, can help business owners focus more fully on running their company.