Sometimes a website is just a website. Sometimes a website is one of a thousand identical websites on the internet with the only difference being the domain and a few hex codes. Sometimes it is just an expensive digital business card you’re slightly embarrassed to share.
I fundamentally believe there is NO reason for any small business to be subjected to expensive, clunky, and impersonal website design. Unfortunately, my fundamental beliefs are not legally binding constructs and it happens ALL THE TIME!
But we’re doing our part by not only helping our small business clients build stunning, one-of-a-kind websites they are proud of but with this blog.
That’s right this one!
Today’s we’re talking about all the things that make small business websites unique and what you need to be keeping in mind when designing yours!
A forward on small businesses
Small businesses are not the same as medium or large businesses. They just aren’t and they really shouldn’t try to be. First of all, because you should be proud of exactly where you are right now, whether that’s solopreneuring or hiring your 100th employee.
There are no losers here. (I mean there obviously are - but losers and my audience do NOT overlap). Pretending to be bigger than you are and more capable than you are may work for you for a short while but you will burn yourself out and you will drop a few of those balls in the air.
Small businesses find a lot of success in being authentic and open about exactly what and who they are. Consumer habits have been changing in recent years and people are utilizing their money much more intentionally than before. There are countless people out there right now looking for a small business to meet their needs.
Don’t create a situation where you have to put a mask on to go to work. Find people who want exactly what you are right now! Those are your people.
A Small Business Website
Just like how a small business is not the same as big or medium businesses, small business websites are not the same as big business websites. You do NOT need 30 subpages. You do NOT need 14 embedded video streams and you do NOT need a pop-out newsletter if you don’t want one.
A small business website should be a reflection of the small business, its services, and its size. If you can only build one page that’s perfectly fine. One beautiful webpage is better than 10 ugly ones!
My SEO person wouldn’t agree with me but nobody likes her!
She’s me. I’m the SEO person.
Why is one good page better than multiple average pages? Because you are a small business. Impressions matter. You are not getting as many of them as your larger competitors which means that every potentially interested person is worth their weight in gold (in gold standard times too not whatever you call this house of cards we now balance our financial futures on) #americanfinacialsystem
When we are showing our gold friends our website we want to be putting our very best foot forward. So much so that even having a well-designed “under construction” page can be more beneficial than a fully functioning website if that website is impersonal and does nothing to hook the customer, to help them connect with you, or to get them thinking about you later in their day.
With a small business website, the name of the game is definitely quality over quantity.
Small Business Website: Home Page
If you are only creating one page this is the one. If you are creating any other number of pages this is still the one.
This page of your site will always be the most popular page on your website and it is the ultimate first impression of you on the internet. This page matters!
What do you need on your home page?
Ultimately this will depend on how many other pages you will be adding. If it’s your only page make sure you cover all of your services, link to your shop pages, and/or include contact/address information for your physical location.
If this is one of several pages just make it a bite-size overview of your business. The customer should be able to easily scan the page and see YOUR face, get information on the services/goods you offer, and know what they can do to start supporting your business. (whether that be signing up for a newsletter, buying a product, or visiting a local shop)
You cannot count on most people to take the time to look over all the pages of your website - no matter how beautiful and engaging it is. People are busy and impatient and distracted. Your home page should be treated like if you had to condense everything you wanted someone to know rapid-fire style and pop on one page.
Small Business Website: About Page
If you are making more than one page the about page should always be on your shortlist. About pages are especially important for small businesses because it helps the customer connect with the people behind the brand.
What should be on your about page?
Here are some common aspects of a good about page:
Employee pictures & Bios
History of the Company
Story of the Name
Frequently asked questions
Of course, any of these could be pages of their own but that would depend on the overall layout of your site. For example, on our website, I have an about page and a team page, so I withheld the team info on the main about page knowing I would showcase it elsewhere.
The beauty is the choice is wholly yours!
Small Business Website: Contact Us Page
One of the beautiful things about websites - especially nowadays is how diverse they are. You can go to 1,000 different home pages and see at least 900 different things. The same with about pages and the literally countless variations of STANDARD subpages on websites.
But the beautiful thing about about pages is they are the universal element! Every contact page is roughly the exact same thing. It shares the exact same information and serves the exact same purpose as every other contact page on the entire internet.
That means the contact page of your website is probably the MOST universally valuable page on your entire website.
Every single website should have a contact page. Even if you only have one page. In fact, my contact page is not even a page. It's an anchor on my home page. But you know what I sure as heck put a Contact Us page in the navigation of my website.
Why? Because people will seek it out. And if one of your gold-standard golden customers are trying to find you - you want them to find in all the places you want to found.
Your contact page can be very minimal in design, most are, or can be more dynamic with embedded maps or live-chat boxes. But ultimately you just need to make sure you are putting every means of being contacted in the same place.
Have social media? Tag those suckers on the contact page (maybe in one of those fancy social media icon bubble things - or even just including links or handles).
Have a newsletter? Let them sign up on the contact page. Have a phone number? Yep. A mailing address? A place to accept reviews?
Literally, any way your customers could possibly interact with you can be listed on the contact page and you will NEVER miss out because you weren’t available enough!
The Terrific Three
If you were to ask me what I thought the absolutely easiest to manage, bite-sized but EFFECTIVE website layout it is exactly this: home page, about page, & contact page.
If you’re bringing in less $2-3K a month in sales you probably do not need more than that. Can you do more? Of course. But if you’re new and tiny and handling everything yourself to keep the costs down - been there done that - these three pages are enough.
Anything more than that is just the icing on the cake.
Speaking of SWEET things let’s talk about The Clever Catalyst and your website for a minute. You do not have to buy a package and pay us to build your website for us to care! If you’re going it alone and you have questions reach out on Instagram or text us or just hang around and read some more blogs or something.
But you know if you do want some help… you also support that decision. In fact, go ahead and schedule a time to discuss that decision on this calendar link before the moment leaves us!