The internet can be a scary place for a small business entrepreneur, especially if you are accustomed to doing business face-to-face. A number of studies show a well-built website will generate better customer traffic, lengthier landing times, and a well designed user interface will increase conversion - generating new business at an exponential rate.
Designing a website should tie into brand recognition. This will allow your customers to recall your competitive advantage and any relationship they have built with your company. The same consistency that you designed into your business cards, brochures, labels, etc. should be incorporated into your website.
The design of your website therefore should be an extension of the corporate brand including colors, logo, and the overall look and feel. Don't forget to include your corporate slogan if you have one. Branding builds trust and recall among your customers, and it's not just for big businesses.
Effective website design can, in some cases, project to the customer the quality of your business. If it is user friendly, clear in its value proposition, consistent in its layout and visuals, and uses color to generate emotions then it is quite possible the customer can be subtly convinced that your company provides a quality service or product superior to competition.
Here are some ideas for you to consider when designing your website or freshening an existing one:
- Set up your website with white or very light backgrounds with black or other dark colored text.
- Use Verdana or Ariel fonts.
- Navigation bars should be horizontal; typically running across the top of the home page.
- Links should run down the left or right hand side of the page.
- If you do not have a specific color associated with your company, then do research on colors and the corresponding emotions they elicit. Colors have the ability to make one feel happy, sad, uncomfortable, nervous, trusting and a lot more. And if the color is not given enough thought, it may put across a wrong image about the company.
- Make all your pages consistent with the Home page. This should include layout, colors, logo, and font.
- Do not try to provide a lot of information and a call to action on one page. It is better to have an extra tab than to force a customer to read an overload of content before asking for the order.
- Make sure your site is designed to load quickly.
- Complete a spell check!
- Solicit feedback about your design.