Small business website design continues to evolve. Where once everyone used Flash, now it’s outdated, replaced by HTML 5. Here are today’s top 10 trends.
Fonts are simple and straightforward. Standards like Times and Ariel are easy to read and consistent across browsers. Paragraphs are short – 100 words maximum – with sufficient white space between. Subheads and bullet and number lists break up text-heavy pages.
People are visual creatures; if thoughtfully chosen, a picture’s meaning is immediately grasped. Pictures should have ALT tags with text alternative for screen reader users.
Your company logo should appear on every page of your website for branding purposes. Pictures of company executives and key personnel establish credibility and make site visitors feel like they know you. Likewise, short demonstration and how-to videos are effective selling tools. Make sure they’re optimized for fast page load times.
Organic originally meant coming directly from nature, but today’s organic design is subtle, incorporating hints of nature like faint textures and colors implying wood grains, leaves, etc. Organic design also can mean textures and colors implying man-made materials like concrete, metal, or fabrics. Other organic elements include rounded or “fuzzy” edges on logos and buttons.
Color is a powerful way to produce positive emotional responses. It doesn’t take much research to learn what various colors “mean.” Then decide which responses you want to elicit and use the appropriate colors. However, dark-colored text on a light-colored background is preferable since it’s easier to read. Use web-safe colors and use bold colors sparingly since they jump out at people and can be distracting.
Today’s websites must be responsive and able to automatically adjust to the shape and size of whichever device a site visitor uses.
Your nav bar must be simple, intuitive, and located where visitors expect; i.e., at the top or left side of each page. It also should be efficient and consistent across pages, with no more than seven buttons so as not to be overwhelming. Each button needs its own drop-down menu of subcategories.
Internal text links are another effective way for visitors to navigate your site. Linking specific words on a page to other pages containing more in-depth information makes site visitors’ experiences productive, satisfying, and positive in terms of their feelings about your company. Target each link to a “new” or “blank” page. Nothing frustrates people more than losing their place and not being able to get back to where they were.
Contact information should appear on every page. Put your company’s main email address at the bottom of each page; make it a clickable link to the page where visitors actually can contact you. A live chat feature is an excellent way to answer site visitors’ questions immediately.
If you’re a brick and mortar business, your “About us” and “Contact us” pages should include your address(es) and days and hours of operation. Adding a link to Google Maps that not only pinpoints your location(s) but also shows pictures of your building(s) increases customer confidence and trust.
If you’re unsure how to do this, hire a company with experience in small business website design.
People love to express their opinions. Your site should include blog comments, social media sharing buttons, and surveys and/or polls.
Landing pages include a form for capturing a visitor’s information before he or she can subscribe to your newsletter, receive a catalog, download an instruction manual, etc. Landing pages are a highly effective way to collect leads and customer lists.
Optimization isn’t a trend, it’s a fact. Your website must be SEO optimized via proper meta tags, heading and subheading formatting, and customer- and keyword-focused content.