Running a small business is a unique adventure. To be successful, you have to be both strong and agile. And you have to work incredibly hard to get your name out there. Because you don’t necessarily have the reach of larger companies, your website plays a huge role in defining who you are to the outside world. Even if you have a brick-and-mortar location, the web may still be the only way many people will interact with you.
Therefore, it’s vital that your website is informative and professional. As your single biggest form of advertising, you want to make sure that you get it right. But what makes a small business site stand out? We’ll show you five features that will help you put your best face forward.
Even better is that implementing these features needn’t be costly. Each example below is accompanied by a WordPress theme that is available with your yearly subscription to Envato Elements. For one low price, you’ll have unlimited access to hundreds of WordPress themes and plugins, along with more than 440,000 design resources.
1. A Clear Message
When a prospective customer visits your website, they want to know who you are and what you do. This is something that must be established quickly, as you don’t want to make users search it out (they’ll most likely leave, rather than make the extra effort). The best place to establish your identity is front and center on your site’s home page. Combine attractive, relevant imagery with short, to-the-point messaging and calls to action.
The Amilia theme provides a great example of this technique. The included home page slider features space for large, compelling photos and text that is bold, but not overwhelming. There’s also a great usage of color contrast throughout the theme, which will help to ensure that your message is noticed by visitors.
2. Visual Cues
One of the most common mistakes we see in web design is assuming that users just “get it”. Perhaps your text is descriptive enough. But the truth is that not everyone takes the time to read. Instead, they tend to skim over the contents of a page. That’s where the use of visual cues can be a big help. Things like icons and buttons can provide instant context to content and gently encourage users to go more in-depth.
Focus is a theme that is aimed at making conversions and does a fantastic job with visual cues. It’s a good demonstration of how the use of icons can help important information stand out. The well-designed buttons leave no doubt in the user’s mind as to where to click. Plus, some subtle microinteractions are sprinkled in to enhance things ever further.
3. Make it Personal
One area where a small business has an advantage over a large conglomerate is the ability to add more of a human touch to things. On the web that can take the form of team member profiles, testimonials or even blog posts that reflect company values. Giving visitors the opportunity to learn more about you and the positive impact you have on the community helps to build that one-to-one relationship. That’s infinitely more difficult for large-scale operations.
Morello includes several of these little touches that can help you personalize your site. Included are built-in ways to create attractive staff profiles and testimonials. Each can be placed into a carousel to add a bit of interactivity. You’ll also find several blog layouts to showcase your writing.
4. Simple Navigation
When we think of website navigation, it’s easy to think only about a menu across the top of a page. Rightfully so, as it’s very important to have a clear and easy-to-use main menu. But there are other navigation elements we should consider. For example, on sites with deeper content structures, having a sub-navigation or breadcrumbs can help users get around more easily. They’ll be able to navigate within a section and get back to a specific page without having to search around.
What’s nice about Futurico is its inclusion of several types of navigation. The main menu can be your standard fare with drop-downs. But you also have the option of using the mobile-friendly “hamburger” menu as well. And, the theme provides outstanding sub-navigation and breadcrumbs to ensure that no one gets lost.
5. High-End Looks and Functionality
When it comes to websites, looks do matter. As does its functionality. Fair or not, these items say something about your business in the eyes of a customer. A site that’s cluttered and only semi-functional is going to be detrimental to your reputation. While your site doesn’t have to be perfect, it should look good and perform as the user expects. Anything less reflects poorly on you.
Alfat certainly provides a top-notch look. There are several layout choices included, and each one is sure to impress. It makes great use of color, typography and special effects to keep users engaged. Functionality-wise, the theme offers features such as a filterable portfolio that both looks and works beautifully.
Small Business, Big-Time Website
A great website can, in many ways, help to level the playing field between small and large businesses. The fact is that even a small company can build a website that looks and functions as well as its larger competitors.
You’ll want to make sure that your site is on-message, provides clear navigation and visual cues. Most importantly, utilize your website to reflect who you are. Show visitors what it is that makes you and your company special. Put together, you’ll have a website that users will love and you can take pride in.