Customers expect you to have a business website these days. In fact, it is often your first chance to make a good impression on your prospective customers. It may determine whether they contact you at all. So your website should contain your most convincing sales narrative, made as effectively as possible.
A professional-looking website helps you show that you run a serious and competent business, that your customers can trust you with their money, and that you will handle their orders in a timely and efficient manner.
Keep your Business Website Simple
This doesn't mean your business website development needs the latest and most expensive web scripting or interactive features. A simple and uncluttered design with clean lines and great content is often the best bet for a small business. Focus on that content.
If your product lends itself to photography, showcase it and make it the focal point of your site. A beautiful picture really is worth a thousand words. If you catch the attention of your customers with an attractive image of your product, they are far more likely to read its description, look at its price, and buy it.
Know why your customer should call you rather than your competitors. Highlight your most polished elevator speech in a prominent place on your landing page, as well as in the description of your website that will appear in search engine results.
Decide precisely which words your ideal customer would use to search for a business like yours, and weave them into the text on your website. In many cases your business website can most effectively target keyword phrases such as "diamond solitaire wedding ring in Orlando" rather than single keywords like "jewelry."
Let the Content of your Business Website Drive its Design
Unless you have discovered a really novel market niche, your business website will initially be only a kind of digital brochure. But if you pay attention to your target customers and to the search terms they are likely to use, you can sometimes improve your page rank in the niches that matter. Too broad a term will get your site lost in long lists of results that don't interest the customer. Appearing on the first result page for a smaller number of customers will give you more sales than coming in on the tenth result page for a very common search.
Certain types of business websites can really benefit from developing a version of their website for the mobile web. A minimal site listed with Google Maps and MapQuest can show up exactly when your prospects are looking for your type of business in your town. "Transmission mechanic San Francisco" and "Cleveland organic bakery" for example are searches of this type, which very likely come from customers who have already decided to buy and are looking for the closest place to do that.
Design the Format of your Business Website
The colors of your site should be harmonious yet striking. A simple website isn't the same as an unformatted website. Avoid these common design errors:
Centered text and lack of left and right margins or gutters will make your text hard to read, and worse, make you look disorganized and unprofessional.
Dark backgrounds, distracting elements and mismatched type faces can make customers wonder if the rest of the business is also a part-time amateur endeavor.
A properly-formatted website is more likely to display correctly on the wide range of devices your customers could conceivably use to find you, from mobile phones to tablets to wide-screen monitors.