Web Design for Small Businesses 2019+
What a Local Business Needs in its Website Design
The art and science of designing and developing your local business website to rank in search engines, attract visitors, engage them with high quality, in-demand content, and to funnel visitors through a planned process that grows interest, shares, links, lists, leads, sales, and customers.
Your Website is the Central HUB of your Brand & Marketing
The days of a static digital brochure are long since over.
Website design is THE most important part of your online brand, and nearly all of your marketing efforts.
Web design is crucial to your business. Most, if not all, of your marketing efforts are designed to bring visitors to your website and convert them into leads, sales, customers, and raving fans.
A responsive web design that’s mobile-friendly and automatically fits to any screen size is an essential tool for every business.
In the age of the smartphone, your entire world of prospects and customers are searching online for information and businesses in your niche and area.
If you’re not being seen in the search results, they can’t do business with you.
Your website needs to be working for you 24 hours a day 7 days a week to attract more traffic, provide valuable and engaging content to keep them on your site, and convert visitors into leads, sales, and customers.
Is your website up for the tasks?
Many local businesses don’t think they need a website. A 2016 Capital One Small Business Survey found that 44 percent of small businesses don’t have a website. Wow! Less than 30 percent had a mobile ready website. Double wow!!
That might have been okay just a few years ago, but in 2018 and beyond in the new era of the smartphone and high-speed Internet, that isn’t going to cut it if you want your local business to survive and thrive. The game has changed dramatically.
4 reasons why every local business needs and should want a website.
of consumers won’t even consider a business without a website. (YP & LSA)
of consumers say a website determines whether or not they trust a company. (Stanford University)
of consumers use company websites to find or engage with businesses. (LSA)
of consumers who did a local search visited a business within 5 miles. (Wordstream)
If you have a website, you might need a redesign if…
1. You’re not getting enough leads, calls, or inquires. That’s the job of your website. Does it need to be fired? It’s all about growing your email and sms lists, and producing leads, calls, sales, and customers. If it’s not doing that, there’s a good chance need a new web site (and new content).
2. Your website is NOT mobile friendly. More than half of searches are on mobile phones looking for local businesses. You MUST have a “responsive website design” that automatically fits to any device and any size screen.
3. Web pages take forever to load. Nobody has the patience to wait, Google stats show you’ve got 2 or 3 seconds to load otherwise they’re gone. (see Google stats chart below)
4. Your site doesn’t show up anywhere in Google searches. If they can’t find you they can’t do business with you. This could be your website, your SEO, or your content, or maybe all three.
5. YOU don’t like the look, feel, and functionality of the design. If you don’t like it, do you think your visitors will? If it looks like an amateur made it, what will visitors think of you business?
6. Your site looks like it’s from another era. Old outdated designs make your prospects think your business is old and outdated and not keeping up with the times. Especially if you don’t update it regularly with new content.
7. Your website is mostly all text. Consumers want a rich multi-media experience. Video, infographics, art, photos, are all required in a modern age website. Video especially is in demand by today’s consumer. Visual content is 40x more likely to get shared on social media. (Buffer, 2014)
8. Navigating your website is a nightmare. Users can’t easily find what they’re looking for. Blink and they’re gone. Easy navigation and site structure are incredibly important.
9. Your site is about you and your company instead of geared to the consumers who are visiting. It’s communicating the wrong message. No one wants to hear about you until after you provide them what THEY want; information, answers, solutions, tips, how-to’s, etc. Fulfill their needs first. If you build it for them, they will come.
10. You have no idea who’s visiting, where they go on your site, how long they stay, if they engage with your content, etc. Google Analytics needs to be integrated with your site and someone constantly analyzing your traffic and conversion of that traffic into leads and customers.
11. Your website is not good at collecting emails from visitors to grow your marketing lists. Have you heard the phrase, “The money is in the list.”? Growing your email and SMS text messaging lists are essential to growing your business. Unlike social media and advertising platforms which will certainly change, and potentially lose their profitability if they haven’t already in your niche. You OWN your marketing lists. Those are business ASSETS. And they’re priceless!
12. You don’t have a defined strategy for your website. Is it providing consistent value and content to consumers? Is it promoting users to provide their email so you can market to them later? Does it make them call or come into your business now?
13. Does it integrate with your social media platforms? Are you driving traffic from social media to your website and vice-versa and converting that traffic into lists, leads and sales?
If any of these are true for your company’s website, you need to act. Your brand is at risk. Your reputation is at risk. And most importantly your sales are suffering greatly as a result.
But DON’T Just Buy Any Cheap Website Design
or Let Your Brother-in-Law Do It!
That’s not going to help you any.
How to Design a Website for 2018+
Modern website design needs several key essentials to perform the job right:
1. Domain Structure – for optimum search ranking a silo structure is the best web design. Silos organize content by topic and create topic authority in search engines. Page authority (a.k.a link juice) from the core silo topic page passes to the related pages in the silo. It’s how our site is setup and why we rank in the cities we want to for our chosen keywords.
2. Hosting for Page Loading Speed – where you host your site is important. Cheap hosting plans are usually pretty slow servers and Google’s stats show if your site takes over 3 seconds to load, your visitors are gone. You get what you pay for. We recommend WP Engine (affiliate link with discounts) or Synthesis .
3. Mobile-friendly Responsive Design – your website needs to be mobile-friendly because more than half of online searches are done by consumers looking on their mobile phones for local businesses. Responsive designs automatically fit the website to the screen size of the device of the visitor. Whether it’s on a mobile phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop a responsive design fits any screen.
Test your site in each responsive layout to see what parts may not look good on mobile or tablet and consider turning them off on those devices only.
4. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – for a local business is essential to being able to rank your website content in Google and other search engines. That starts with “On Page SEO” such as proper domain structure, URL and permalink structure, title tags, meta descriptions, heading tags, image alt tags, etc.
5. Optimized Pages for Page Loading Speed – the elements of your pages, especially your graphics need to be optimized for page loading speed also.
6. High Quality, In-Demand and Well-Researched Content – user experience is the cornerstone of your website. It must provide the user with content people are already searching for in your niche. That’s accomplished by extremely thorough keyword research and competitive analysis and then creating awesome content in several media forms (video, infographics, audio, graphics, and text), and doing it consistently on a schedule (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.).
7. Integration with Social Media Platforms – integrating your website with at least a YouTube and/or Facebook channel is usually the best practice for most small businesses. Your prospects and customers are all over social media and you need them to encounter your brand’s content there too. In addition, integrating a Facebook pixel on your site allows you to retarget visitors later with Facebook ads.
8. Email Integration – growing your email and SMS list are essential to growing your business. Your lists are priceless assets you need to be proactively building.
9. Calls to Action – good web design places calls-to-action on every content page that asks consumers to join your mailing lists, call you, buy now, or whatever action you’d like them to take. In exchange you’re offering them something of value in return.
10. Sales Funnels – calls to action or external ads that bring visitors to a specific landing page should be setup to send users to the next landing page that either thanks them, offers them an up-sell or a special promotion, etc. Attract, gain interest, deliver value, get them to take action, and then thank them or offer more value.
11. Optimized Images – images are usually large files and can take a lot of memory and loading time and really slow down your website. So it’s best to size them to fit your need and run them through compression software to reduce the file size. Then you should include your business name, address, and phone [NAP] to the tags section [right click on the photo and choose properties or get info], put a major keyword in the filename itself, and add NAP, keywords, and even a complete keyword-optimized article into the comments section. Now your photo is ready to load fast AND provide extra local search ranking power.
12. Structured Data Code [Schema markup] – this is a code that speaks in search engine language and tells them exactly what your overall website is about as well as any content pages, products, reviews, you wish to identify as well. Schema markup will greatly help your website and it’s content rank better in search engines. There’s code to identify you as a local business, what type of business, add a keyword description, identify your customer reviews and get stars to show up in search results, have your phone show up in search results on mobile, identify your products and services and your service area, and much, much more. At the very least, your Contact Us page should have Schema markup on it. You can test your pages and schema code with Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool.
Google Analytics & Search Console
How well is your website working? Are your sales funnels converting well? What’s the return on investment (ROI) of your advertising?
Google Analytics is a free service provided by Google that places a snippet of code on your website to track and report real-time website traffic. It tells you where on the Internet people are visiting your site from, what pages they went to on your site, how long they stayed, what time of day they visited, the countries they’re from, and a bunch more.
Google Analytics also measures your site and page performances such as how fast pages load, what traffic is coming in from your social media platforms, etc.
Google Analytics is also used to measure the conversion rates of visitors who take an action that you define [fill out a form, click a button, get to a thank you page, etc.]. This can help you measure your Google Adwords advertising ROI and sales funnels and help identify poorly performing ads, landing pages, sales performance, and more. If you have an e-commerce store it can measure sales, purchase amounts, and transaction locations, and other metrics. You can setup various goals for your sales funnels and track and measure their success.
For more information on Google Analytics and for a peek at their dashboard you can access their demo account here (or click on the Google Analytics picture).
Google Search Console is another free Google tool that measures your traffic from organic search results and what search terms people are using to find your site, what links are pointing to your site. It informs you if your site has mobile usability problems, if your pages have been indexed by Google, if you have rich cards and structured data code on your site and alert you of any errors. Google Search Console shows you if you have a sitemap and robots.txt file, any security issues, and more.
As you can see Google Analytics and Search Console are essential tools to understanding how well your website is working for your business and where improvements need to be made.
What Your Business Wants from a Website:
What Consumers Want from a Website:
1. Valuable Content – answers to questions, solutions to problems, education, how to’s, entertainment, information that helps THEM, etc.
2. Product and services information and how it helps THEM.
3. Special offers, promotions, etc..
4. Customer reviews and testimonials (video are the most convincing), case studies, case studies, awards, etc.
5. Insight into the business owners, managers, and staff. The personal touch – what’s your story? Why are you in business?
6. What’s unique about your business? Why should they do business with you?
7. Consistently adding new content that helps them. In all forms: video, infographics, graphics, audio, and text.
8. Easy to navigate and find what they want.
9. Easy to contact you.
10. Easy to get your address and map directions.
Consistent great content = traffic = sales growth!
If you want leads, sales, and customers, then it’s definitely NOT set it and forget it! Your website’s blog needs to be adding content continuously and regularly to rank in search engines and keep customers interested in returning and sharing your content.
The chart below shows that the more blog posts a site makes each month greatly increases the amount of inbound traffic it creates. Consumers want consistent and new content added regularly. The more you do that, the more traffic you’ll get from your website.
And that traffic turns into more leads… the more blog posts per month the more leads you’ll receive (assuming your site is optimized for search and converting traffic into leads).
What Google & Search Engines Want to Rank Your Website:
1. Topical Depth
The more in-depth your content is about a subject, the better chance it will have to rank in Google and other search engines. Look at this chart below from Brian Dean at Backlinko.com. It shows that the websites that rank in the top positions in the search results pages (SERPs) have a much higher word count than those that rank below them. Your blog and cornerstone content articles need to be around 2,000 words or more.
2. Topical Breath
Google’s new algorithm no longer ranks pages for a single keyword. Now it ranks pages based on a topic, the depth of the content and the breath of the content.
The breath is how wide the content goes, meaning does it cover many of the sub-topics of the main topic? Ranking individual pages for a single keyword are over. Now a single web page that covers the entire breath of a subject is what Google is looking for to rank a page.
For example in the past you would have to make a separate web page for each variation of a keyword.
Veneers – Main Topic
Advantages of Veneers
How long do Veneers last?
Do Veneers require special care?
How much do Veneers cost?
Not any more. Now Google’s new algorithm is smart enough to see all of these sub-topics on one page and know that the page is an in-depth article and talking about a wide breath of knowledge on the one subject.
So a webpage or blog post needs to have depth on its subject, a word count of near 2,000, and a wide breath of the subject, which includes several sub-headings on that same topic.
3. Authority Links TO Your Website
It’s not enough to have great content with well-researched topical depth and breath.
Google and other search engines want to see that authorities around the Internet and in your industry have linked to your content from their websites. This shows search engines that other influencers, blogs, and businesses who are considered to be respected authorities and have recognized high quality content websites of their own have linked to your content and website. This tells Google and others that important people and places believe your content is worth linking to and sharing.
The best-written content in the world will NOT rank in search engines without diversified, natural, high-quality links pointing to it.
Google’s new algorithms can also identify links from poor quality sites or networks and will not count them as influence to your site. This gets rid of the SEO folks who built big private blog networks (PBNs) to create lots of links in order to rank sites. Those days are over for most part and today only good, high-quality links from respected authorities will help your site rank well.
Google wants links to be naturally occurring. But that’s not always fast enough nor is it the only way to legitimately build great links.
Good, high quality backlinks can be built in many ways; guest posting on high quality sites in your niche, article writing on high quality sites, creating great Infographics that others want to embed on their site, etc. It’s an ongoing process the same way consistently posting quality blog content is.
Your local business’ website is the central hub to your online brand and all your marketing efforts. It’s THE most important ingredient in establishing your online brand and marketing plan and growing your business.
Don’t hand that job over to somebody to just make you a pretty little templated website for cheap. You’ll waste your money and regret it immensely. The age of the smartphone has changed everything and opened a new world of opportunity to local business. Keep up or get boarded up.
You need much MORE than just a web designer. Your website must be structured properly and optimized for search engines, it must be designed to not only attract visitors but to consistently provide them great content that keeps them coming back and influences them to like, share, and link to your content, and most of all it must convert visitors into leads, sales, and customers for your business.
We don’t just create websites for local businesses, we create marketing and branding machines that work 24/7 to drive leads to your business and help you dominate your niche in your local area and thrive in this new online world.
Our custom WordPress web designs use Thrive or Divi themes and are custom made for your business, needs, and goals.
Frequently Asked Questions on our Web Design Services
What do you need to get started?
Access to your website hosting account, domain name registrar, artwork and logo files, and any content you want on your site.
If you do not currently have a site, and therefore no hosting, we will recommend a high quality WordPress web hosting service. Hosting is the servers that store the physical data of your website and allows it’s access from anywhere on the Internet. It’s where your website lives.
How long will it take to design my website?
Our web design and graphics design teams will develop a rough draft “wireframe” of your design within 20 to 30 days. You’ll be able to approve the design or suggest a list of edits. Our team will then fully design your website and once completed you’ll have another chance to review and approve or suggest any final minor edits you’d like to see. Total time is usually about 60 days.
What platform do you use?
We use WordPress for all of our website designs. It’s the most widely used platform in the world. WordPress is an open-source platform and therefore has tremendous support worldwide. There are endless WordPress plugins and features that allow for complete customization and superior functionality over any other platform.
We then use a Divi Theme of Thrive Theme as the underlying graphical interface because they provide aesthetically beautiful designs and more importantly they provide great conversion tools.
How long will my existing site be down?
Not at all. If you have an existing website we will keep it as is and build your new on a temporary URL. Once the new site is completed and approved, we will make it live on your domain.
If you do not currently have a website, then we will put up a “Coming Soon” page on your domain until your site is completed, approved, and made live.
What about artwork and our logo?
Our graphics design team works closely with our web developers to create an aesthetically pleasing site. The website comes complete with a set of icons for navigation and menus.
You can provide us with any artwork you’d like to use on your site, including your logo. If you don’t have artwork or photos we can provide high quality images that reflect your content and brand (one stock image per content page is included in the cost).
If we’re creating your content using one of our custom content creation plans then a single stock photo is also included with each content article.
Our graphics design team can also create or redesign your company logo if needed or desired (at additional cost). They’ll provide several versions for you to choose from.
Who provides or writes the content for our website?
Your choice. You can provide us content which we will use for your site or you can choose from our custom content creation plans and we’ll provide awesome, well-researched, journalistic content for your site (at additional cost).
What companies do you recommend for hosting?
There’s a ton of WordPress hosting companies out there and we can work with any of them. Remember that loading speed and uptime reliability are critical factors for Google in ranking your site and it’s content. For that reason we recommend all of our clients use WP Engine or Web Synthesis; both are world renowned hosting companies known for quality, loading speeds, reliability, and security.
Both offer tremendous real-time threat detection and security and proprietary caching technology that provides the speed and reliability every site needs. Hosting plans start at just $29 per month.
Will you continue to maintain our website?
Yes, we can. Our monthly fully managed website plans include constantly creating search engine optimized content, optimizing your local search in directories like Google My Business, Bing Local, Yelp, etc. and creating great guests posts on high-authority sites in your niche to create valuable backlinks and get your site ranked.
If a website exists but nobody sees or visits it does it really exist? 🙂
Areas We Service
We offer website design and development services to businesses in all 50 United States and Canada.
Our home base is southern California, so we love working in person with business owners and managers in our own local region too.
Here’s a list of nearby cities we love working in. Click on the city nearest you!