Having a great website is one of the best ways to attract customers to your business. But what does a great website actually look like? What elements does it contain? In this article I’ll take you through my top tips for designing small-business websites.
For many small-businesses, having a 4-page website design is ideal.
- Home (landing) page
- Services page/ shop
- About us page
- Contact page
In the rest of this article I’ll break down each page and what to include.
Home (Landing Page)
This is the most important page on your website. It’s the page that pretty much every visitor will see so it’s vital that it gives your potential customers the right impression.
Let’s talk through the basic structure which I recommend for most small business websites.
- Hero Section
- Services or Highlights Section
- Social Proof Section
- About Us Section
- Call to Action
- FAQ Section
Let’s discuss each element individually.
The hero section is at the very top of your home page. Here are some examples.
Remember how I said the home page is the most important page on your website? Well the hero section is the most important area on your home page. Why? Because it is the only portion that everyone will see.
What should a hero section contain:
- Image or background which gives an idea of what the business is about
- A heading with the main message describing what the business offers
- A sub-heading to provide some more information
- A call-to-action e.g. contact number, link to a contact page, email sign-up etc.
There are many different ways to align and arrange the hero section.
The most popular layout is to have the text on the left, the call to action underneath, and the image on the right.
The rationale here is that in most countries, everything is read from left-to-right. Having the text on the left makes sense here as this is the most important aspect of the hero section.
There are loads of different ways to arrange the hero section though. You can go for a centralised layout, use multiple images, put the call to action on the right etc. Different businesses call for different layouts depending on what you’re trying to achieve.
Services or Highlights Section
Underneath your hero section, you should have an area which highlights what your business actually offers.
For example, if you own a car valeting business you could highlight that you offer interior cleaning, exterior cleaning, machine polishing and protection packages in this area.
One of the best ways to arrange this section is by using columns or a grid. Or you can go for a left-right or right-left layout using an image and text.
Top Tip: try and position your home page so that your services/ highlights section covers around 1/3-1/2 of the screen on a typical desktop, instead of the whole area showing (see example below). This encourages your visitors to scroll down and stay on the page.
Social Proof Section
Highlighting reviews and testimonials below your services/ highlights area is a great way to earn trust and makes it more likely for a potential customer to reach out to you.
There are several different ways of highlighting this.
Sometimes it makes sense to use a single review or case study that really highlights what your business offers. Other times it makes more sense to have a grid/ column layout with 3-4 of your best reviews.
I would advise against including more than 4 reviews in this section as it can start to look cluttered. If you really want to feature more reviews, consider having them on a slider so it doesn’t take up too much real estate.
About Us Section
Now is a good time to give your visitors some more information about yourself and your business.
I’d highly recommend including an image in this section. It really helps to build up trust if people can see who they will be contacting if they decide to take action. I’d always advise you include an image which is highly relevant to your industry. A standard head-shot can work well, but an action-shot of you working is even better.
Call to Action
Now you’ve built up some trust and given your visitors plenty of information about what you do, it’s time to add another call-to-action.
This can be as simple as the text “Get in Touch” followed by your contact details or a contact form. Or it may be a button that directs them to your sales page.
This is also a great place to include more information about your location. For example, by adding your address or even embedding a Google map if you operate from a specific premises.
If you really want to go the extra mile, I’d advise adding a frequently asked questions section underneath your call-to-action.
This should be designed to remove any barriers that potential customers who haven’t hit that call-to-action button above.
Think about any concerns or queries your visitors may be having here and address them clearly and succinctly.
Top Tip: a good way to organise your FAQ section is by using a toggle/accordion section. This helps to save space and keeps visitors closer to that call-to-action section above.
Services/ Shop Page
There are several key elements you should include here:
- Name of the service/ product
- A description of what it offers
- An image of the service/ product
- The price
These are the key things that your visitors will be looking for, so make sure they don’t leave this page with any questions unanswered.
In some cases, you may need to break this service/ shop page down further depending on how many services/ products you have on offer.
If you need to do this, then have a main services/ shop area which can be used to link to each relevant category. Then you can also use a drop-down bar in your navigation menu so any of these pages can be accessed at all times.
About Us Page
Not every website needs a separate about us page, it really depends on whether you feel like you have been able to convey everything you need on your home page and whether your business requires it.
For example, if you offer a shoe cleaning service, then I don’t think an about-us page is necessary. Your service page, and the testimonials/FAQs on your home page should be able to give a potential customer everything they need.
However, if you are a dog trainer then an about-us page will certainly be beneficial. This is because you need to build up a lot more trust.
Some things to include on your about us page:
- When you began your business and why
- An image of yourself
- Any awards, or recognition you have received
- Testimonials and reviews
You want to make it as easy as possible for your potential customers to get in touch with you, and having a separate contact page is something many visitors to your website will look for. It also helps with search-engine-optimisation (SEO) as Google will know where you are based so can help target your local customer base.
Things to include:
- Contact number
- Email address
- Contact form
- Google map (if you operate from a specific location)
- Address (if you operate from a specific location)
- Opening hours
Top Tips for Small-Business Websites
- Make sure your website is clear and easy to navigate. You never want your visitors to be searching around the page to try and find basic things like your contact details.
- Always include calls-to-action in important areas such as your contact page, hero section and at the bottom of each service page
- Try and stick to 1-2 accent colours and don’t go over the top using loads of different fonts
- Make sure the website works well on every device e.g. desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile
- Don’t make the website too text-heavy. Try and make each paragraph less than 4 lines long so it isn’t tough to read.
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