5 Top Mistakes Small Businesses Make in Website Design

Web design is ever-changing. New styles enhance the creativity of web designers, improve user experience, and boost ROI for businesses. Regardless of your tools or experience, below are five small business website design flaws to avoid.

Overcrowding Pages with Details

Internet users come to your site with a particular motive, like searching for information or getting to know your brand better. Your small business website design should help your visitors to surf around more effortlessly.

If prospects find it hard to use your site, they will get frustrated and leave. Studies show that 94 percent of customers prefer interacting with websites that are easy to navigate.

A common fault in small business website design is including too many visual elements on webpages. Unfortunately, too much information and graphics can be distractive to website visitors.

Complicated navigation makes it hard for users to find what they want. Prospects who would have converted on your website move to competitors.

No Integration with Analytics Tools

Another small business website design blunder is not including a way to measure performance. Websites are investments that should give you provide a return. How do you measure success without data to analyze progress?

For the best online marketing outcomes, you must test and track every effort to fix the weak areas. Your website should integrate with web analytics tools to track and report traffic.

Analytics tools provide valuable insights into user behaviors and let you set goals for tracking conversions. You can use the data obtained to target and retarget specific audience groups with online marketing campaigns that work.

Generic Brand Messaging

Many entrepreneurs don’t realize the power of brand messaging in small business website design. Effective brand messaging is about telling a story concerning all aspects of your business. It should include details like:

  • Brand values and beliefs
  • Product and service descriptions
  • The value you can deliver
  • Your employees
  • Why your brand is unique

Your small business website design should connect with your audience on an emotional level. The content must be customer-centric, addressing the target group’s pain points and aspirations, not your desires.

Find a creative and compelling way to show your customers that you care. It doesn’t have to be exaggerated or entertaining. Be true to your brand to build trust with consumers.

Designing Exclusively for Desktops

Mobile devices surpassed desktops in web traffic from late 2016. It would be a big mistake to have a site that doesn’t support mobile users. Mobile-friendliness in small business website design is vital for many reasons.

If your website is not mobile-friendly, customers using smartphones and tablets won’t access it, meaning lost business. Secondly, Google will penalize your webpages with a low ranking.

The search engine, which most people use, considers many elements to weigh a website’s mobile-friendliness, including:

  • Spacing and usability of navigation elements
  • Readability of text on small screens
  • Page load time on mobile devices
  • Whether a site uses Flash

Considering these factors in small business website design helps with search engine optimization. Your webpages rank better in result pages, increasing your click-through rates and conversions.

No Clear Call to Action

Your website has a purpose which you can only achieve if visitors take some action. A call-to-action (CTA) is a short message that tells website users what you want them to do. It directs them to the next phase of your sales funnel.

Examples of CTA messages include:

  • Contact Us
  • Subscribe Here
  • Get Started
  • Add to Cart
  • Buy Now

A small business website design that lacks a CTA misses the point of having a website. Prospects may find the information they want, but how does that benefit you? Tell them where to go and what to do.

Do you want a website that delivers great user experience to help customers interact with your brand effortlessly? Contact us today.

Getting Your Business through the Coronavirus Crisis

Working from home, self-quarantine, and canceling events may help mitigate the COVID-19 crisis and protect your employees from the deadly virus. However, social distancing also threatens to devastate businesses.

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) global crisis spreads to new epicenters in the U.S. and Europe, businesses are scrambling to mobilize responses. The outbreak continues to create health risks to employees and significant financial risks to businesses. Companies must come up with an appropriate response.

It is still too early to fully map out and understand the severity of the crisis or its long-term effects. What’s evident is that the reluctance to go out and the resultant drop in foot traffic has left many businesses empty.
Below are some ways to help your business stay afloat and survive the crisis.

Protect Your Cash Flow

Cash flow is your business’s lifeblood. Your business will always have expenses, but the longer the coronavirus pandemic exists, the tighter it will get to maintain cash inflows. Crisis-proof your business using the following strategies.

  • Prepare cash flow projections for the next few months to help you see and anticipate what changes you need to make and when.
  • Review your credit policies and histories of your customers.
  • See if you can extend payments to your suppliers. As an example with dine-in at restaurants down as much as 75%, food delivery service company Grubhub is deferring commission fees for impacted independent restaurants.
  • Offer your customers discounts.
  • Use cash flow management tools to help you forecast, track, and manage your cash flow.

Embrace E-Commerce

E-commerce can help shield your business against the adverse effects of social distancing and staying home. It’s natural for consumers to shift their purchases online to avoid public places. Therefore, consider adding online services and payment if feasible, or adding product shipment for your brick-and-mortar store.

Sell Gift Certificates

Sell and promote gift cards and certificates to immediately put cash into the business. Encourage as many customers as possible to buy gift cards and store merchandise on your website. Use the money you get to maintain your cash flow until the crisis ends.

Webinars, Online Training, and Teleconferencing

Hold webinars and online training and service delivery using tools such as Skype, WebEx, Zoom, or join.me to promote your products online. You can also use business conferencing tools and apps to make remote work environments more manageable and support your business operations.

Stabilize Your Supply Chain

Stabilize your supply chains by ordering your supplies online, using safety stock, finding alternative sources to get around travel bans, and working with your suppliers to solve bottlenecks. You can also co-develop plans, implement interim solutions around the pandemic, and communicate strategies to your stakeholders.

The Bottom Line

The COVID-19 crisis is neither the world’s first pandemic nor its last. Getting your business through the crisis requires a cool head about you. Create a disaster preparedness policy to deal with the worst-case scenario of an all-out coronavirus pandemic that cripples most operations. A thorough plan will include procedures round remote work, cash flow, e-commerce, securing lines of credit, supply chain alternatives, insurance coverage, and much more.

UmeWorks Can Help

If you need help implementing these online strategies, please give us a call at 323 638-9328 or email us at info@umeworks.com.

How to Choose a Website Designer

Looking for a website designer to help with your business website? A quick search on Google and recommendations from friends will present many options, leaving you spoiled for choice. With many professionals to choose from, how do you find the right one? Well, the following are some tips on how to choose a website designer in Torrance:

  1. Find a designer who can help you achieve the goal of your website
    You need to compare several designers to assess their unique offerings. After being impressed by their sample websites and service offerings, you want to be confident that they have the expertise to design a website that will help you accomplish your specific business goals.
    The best way to know for sure that the seemingly impressive designers are not a one-trick pony is to contact them directly and set up an initial consultation call. Be sure to explain what the goal of your website is so that they can tell you if they can get the job done, and what your budget is. Pay attention to their responses and decide if they seem knowledgeable and are reassuring enough.
  2. Ask relevant questions
    You want to be on the same page with the designer when it comes to what to expect. The following are the important questions to ask the designer to see if they can help meet your goal:

    • Do you use templates or build custom websites?
    • What is the communication process during the project?
    • What are the expectations and requirements for both parties?
    • Will the website be coded for responsive design?
    • How many rounds of edits and revisions I’m I allowed?
    • What support do you offer after the website goes live?
    • What SEO will you do for the website?
    • Do you offer online marketing services?
    • How do you structure your charges?
    • Can you provide references or a list of websites that you have designed previously?
    • Can you help with copywriting for the website?
  3. Check for qualities of a good web designer
    There are certain traits of a great website designer to look out for. For instance, a good designer should be knowledgeable, able to adapt and integrate, have proactive behavior, and have excellent communication and listening skills, among other traits. When asking prospective web designers the above questions, be sure to score each designer on a scale from 1-10 based on the following:

    • Did they appear credible, professional and knowledgeable?
    • Did they ask the right questions or have a methodology to assess your specific needs?
    • Did they demonstrate a thorough understanding of your business needs and objectives?
    • Did they communicate clearly?
    • Are they prompt with feedback to your questions?
    • Did they offer unique and innovative ideas and solutions?

You obviously want to choose the best website designer in Torrance. You can never go wrong by choosing UmeWorks. We are a professional, credible and reliable website design company that gets the job done right the first time. Besides web designing, we offer a wide range of services, including copy writing, content marketing, logo design and graphic design.

Download a free copy of our interview form that will help you compare different website design companies and choose the right designer to help you accomplish your business website goals.

Ready to get started? Request a quote from UmeWorks today!

How to be Sure Your Website is Effective

Your website is perhaps your most powerful marketing tool. Whether your objective is to boost brand awareness or to sell a service or product, effective web design can be the difference between a new lead and a lost prospect. So, if you’re losing visitors within 5 seconds of landing on your site or you’re not ranking highly on search engines, you should take a hard look at how your website is designed and optimized. The following are 5 simple ways of creating an effective website:

  1. Make it aesthetically appealing
    The design and presentation of your website are powerfully visual and visitors are known to make aesthetic judgments of a website in an instant. It takes about 0.05 seconds for visitors to form a first impression of your website. In that lightning-fast moment, visitors’ perception induces different emotions and attitudes towards the content, advertised services/products and the brand.The important question here is – what makes a website aesthetically appealing? Well, here are some things to keep in mind:

    • Use high-quality graphics and high-resolution photos
    • Invest in your own photography as opposed to using stock photography
    • Replace blocks of text with infographics
    • Choose a color palette that has a perfect balance of contrast and harmony
    • Choose a font type and size that conveys the nunace you want your site to engender
  2. Choose a simple design layout
    When it comes to effective website design, simplicity is key. Simple, sleek designs are known to withstand the test of time. In fact, some of the most effective website design layouts are the simplest. Simple layouts are effective in the sense that they are user friendly. This means that they allow visitors to navigate the website easily and to find the information they want quickly.
  3. Optimize it for search engines
    You can have the most aesthetically-appealing and user-friendly website in the world, but if your target audience can’t find it, then all your efforts will be in vain. Therefore, your website should have basic on-page SEO elements that will make it easy to find. The elements that help with website optimization include Meta titles, Meta descriptions, and relevant keywords and phrases. You should also optimize your images, and remove broken/dead links. More on how to SEO your website here.
  4. Use social proofing strategies
    To fully convince new prospects that you are reliable and can be trusted, you must provide social proof that shows that others have been happy with your products or services. There are various social proofing strategies to adopt. One of them is testimonials. Be sure to use real customers and photos, as well as feed reviews from third party review sites to ensure authenticity. In case there are websites or blogs you’ve been mentioned, be sure to provide links to articles with the mention.
  5. Include calls-to-action buttons
    Call-to-action buttons are a key element on a website. They act as a signboard that tells visitors to take a specified action such as ‘Buy Now’, ‘Sign Up’, ‘Download Now’, ‘Join Us’, etc. You can include several calls-to-action buttons on your website if there are several desired actions for the visitors to take.

Creating an effective website sure sounds like an intricate task. Good thing is that you don’t have to do it all. You can delegate the task to a professional. A professional will not only incorporate the latest design trends and coding standards, but will also match the look and feel of the website with your brand. A professional will also know the steps to take to optimize your website for search engine ranking results.

Want help with your website?  Contact UmeWorks in Torrance at 323 638-9328 or info@umeworks.com to discuss your website needs.

Request a Free Website Evaluation

Could Your Business Benefit from Offering Online Appointment Scheduling?

A growing number of service-oriented businesses, such as hair salons, barbers, personal trainers, massage spas and health spas, are utilizing online appointment scheduling and are changing the way they interact with their customers. Because many of these appointment systems are mobile-friendly, people are able to connect with these businesses wherever they already are, providing the 24/7 convenience today’s consumers demand. Allowing your customer to connect with you at any time of the day will keep them coming back.

Depending on your business’ needs and which system is selected, the many advantages of utilizing online appointment scheduling can include the following:

  1. Saving time spent booking appointments
  2. Needing fewer staff members to manage appointments.
  3. Easier management of staff schedules. Booking is real-time and staff is immediately notified when an appointment has been scheduled for them.
  4. Flexibility to choose when to collect payment: upfront collection at time of booking, or after services have been delivered.
  5. Clients are notified of cancellation policies and any fees incurred.
  6. Automated reminders to clients reduce the number of no-shows, which costs some organizations several thousands of dollars each year. By switching to online scheduling, some see a 50% or greater reduction in no-shows.
  7. Business or financial reports can be generated and provide informative data such as the number of no shows, the number of appointments each staff member completes, comparisons of location-to-location productivity, or the number of appointments that were booked because of a marketing promotion.
  8. Be integrated with back-office software to reduce amount of time spent on bookkeeping.

These benefits would be attractive to most companies, and especially to small businesses with limited staff resources. But the positive returns from using online scheduling do not end there.

Businesses will also notice:

  1. More appointments

    • People spend so much of their time online and appreciate companies who make it convenient to do business with them. There’s no waiting, as often happens with phone scheduling and they can book appointments at any time of the day.
    • Integrating your booking system with social media makes it convenient for people to make bookings when they’re already on sites like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
    • Include Customer Review integration to encourage NEW customers to book the first appointment with you online!
  2. Customer retention

    • Encourage customers to return, sooner. Send seasonal deals, or a birthday greeting with a coupon. Set these up once and let them run automatically.
  3. Increased revenue

    • Online booking makes your business available 24/7, allowing you to receive more bookings than you would via phone. You can also offer items your customers can purchase like gift certificates, promotional items or services, while they are booking their appointment.
  4. Increased efficiency

    • The calendar would also show you where there are gaps between appointments. You can utilize the time with special demonstrations or promotions that can be marketed ahead of time.
    • You can also assign resources (like a room or equipment) to specific services to help you prevent duplicate booking.
  5. Lower overhead

    • Fewer overhead costs because the need for a person(s) to handle reservations is eliminated.

Technological advances have changed consumer expectations and customers have become accustomed to getting what they want sooner than later. They appreciate businesses that provide services quickly, at a time or location that is always convenient; positive experiences with these businesses will encourage customers to return time and time again and they, in turn, will influence others to do the same.

Ready to get started with online appointment scheduling for your business? Fill out our checklist and send to UmeWorks to start discussing your business’ scheduling needs.

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