You have a great product, you’re active on social media, you’re writing new content for your website blog every week, but your traffic is still down and your customer numbers are dwindling.
Your old website is driving prospects and customers away, instead of attracting them. As a small business, you can’t afford to miss out on potential customer opportunities. You need to invest in modern website design elements on your website if you if you want to make it long term as a small business.
In this article, we’ll talk about how to tell if your small business website is outdated and the best ways to implement a modern design. Let’s get started!
How to Know When to Update Your Website
A modern, optimized, and updated website is one of the strongest and most effective small business marketing tools you will ever have. And you absolutely need to have a website to compete as a small business in today’s marketing and sales climate. Just having a Facebook account or depending on word of mouth advertising in your local community isn’t going to cut it if you want to grow and be profitable.
The modern consumer’s expectations are what sets the requirements for businesses. And their demands are ever changing. And consumers now demand speed, accessibility, efficiency, and a modern design.
When’s the last time you updated, I mean really updated, your small business website? Five years? 10 years? I’m willing to bet it’s costing you revenue, whether you realize it or not.
Here’s a short checklist to know when you need to update your website:
- Your customers have complained about your website to you
- You’re either losing customers or having difficulty attracting new customers
- Your target demographic is changing, increasing, or expanding
- Your business has significantly changed in size, product / service offerings, or industry
- You don’t remember the last time you re-designed your website
- Your existing website isn’t compatible or well-suited for mobile use
- Your content is no longer relevant
If any of these examples fit your current situation, you need to think about partnering with a web development and design company. If you already have a web company you’re working with, bring up your concerns in your next meeting so you can start taking the next steps to invest in a better designed website.
4 Modern Website Design Elements Small Businesses Need
- Mobile Optimization
- Limited Color Scheme
- Simple Navigation
- Minimalist Page Layout
1. Mobile Optimization
WIth the rise of smartphones, Google has released multiple algorithm updates targeted at prioritizing mobile site search. All modern websites, regardless of business size, are expected to be mobile friendly. Even if the majority of your traffic isn’t coming from mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, it’s still a good idea to prioritize for mobile.
As technology changes and your target audience shifts, your small business website needs to be ready to accommodate those changes. You need to take the time to test out how your website appears on different sized screens. Do all your website plug-ins work properly? Are your pages loading quickly? Can you easily navigate through the website to find what you’re looking for?
Put yourself in your users’ shoes to test out and see what they would see!
You can also use this free, Google Mobile Friendly Tool to check if your website is mobile friendly!
2. Limited Color Scheme
A big turn off for website visitors is too many colors. Multiple, bright colors on a website’s home page might have worked in the 90s and early 2000s, but you need to leave it in the past where it belongs! Minimalism is now the preferred website design of the modern, online searcher.
Stick to a limited color scheme for your small business website, no more than two or three complementary colors. These colors should also be related directly to your brand. And apart from your website, all your marketing materials should follow the same branded color scheme as well.
You do need to study some color theory and modern design practices to properly market your brand and relate to your target audience.
For example, did you know that the color yellow is associated with optimism and can convey a sense of openness? Did you know that blue is the color of trust and loyalty? Blue and yellow are our Cazbah brand colors. We didn’t pick those colors by accident. We wanted to be clear about what Cazbah stood for and still stands for today. Your brand and website colors matter, so choose wisely!
3. Simple Navigation
To continue with the minimalist theme, your website navigation also needs to be straight-forward and simple for your users to understand.
As a basic design rule, your website navigation should be no longer than about six tabs. If you want to highlight other pages, you can nest them under the appropriate tabs in your navigation. Make sure to have a “Contact Us” and “Blog” section highlighted in your navigation. You also want to specifically highlight what it is you do in your navigation as well. For example, if you’re a retailer that specializes in high performance hiking boots, have a tab just for that. If you do have a product or service you want to highlight in your navigation that has a unique name, use terms that your visitors are most likely familiar with instead. It’s not worth it to lose clicks over a fancy tab name.
Visitors are coming to your website for a specific reason, highlight what they’re most likely looking for to make their research and buying process as simple as possible.
4. Minimalist Page Layout
The more you pack into your website, the more places you’re giving your website visitors to click away or get lost. Design and develop your small business website with user experience in mind! Why are your visitors coming to your site? What do they want to know? How can you make that process as efficient and effective as possible?
A minimalist website design has several benefits:
- Your website becomes more responsive and loads faster
- Your visitors find what they’re looking for quicker
- Your visitors are better able to concentrate on your site content, rather than distracting design
- Your visitors expect to see a modern website (design your website the way your visitors wants to see it!)
You only have about eight seconds to grab the attention of your site visitors before they click away! If they see your homepage is loaded down with too much content, a busy and old style slider bar, low quality images, and endless pages, they’re going to bounce off your site.
Every part of your website from your URL to page template style needs to follow a minimalist design!
Here are a few minimalist design tips to get you started:
- Ample white space
- No extras (this includes image shadows, extra buttons, colors, fonts etc.)
- Straightforward navigation
- Simple backgrounds
Your old website could be driving your customers away! Don’t lose customers because of your outdated website, do something about it! Take the time to invest in the modern website design elements discussed above to make the most of your small business website. If you don’t have a graphic designer in house, partner with a reputable web design and development company to transform your website into a tool that you’ll visitors will love!