Any small business can look like a big business online with good web design.
But the problem is that many small businesses think that more is more when it comes to their websites. This can produce ugly results, as in The Ten Worst Business Websites of 2009.
Not every business site will make the bottom ten list, fortunately. But many small businesses do tend to front-load lots of content in order to impress their visitor with how much they have to offer and how much expertise they have to share. So what? Excessive content can overwhelm rather than impress an online visitor just getting to know a company for the first time.
At the same time, many small businesses use a template solution from an industry group or webhosting company. DIY website-builders can work fine for those with either the restraint to keep from piling on the features or else a good enough design eye to know how to handle customizations. For some small businesses, it may still be worth hiring a web professional for a more polished look and user-friendly navigation. And with professional web design work becoming more affordable, the extra cost over a self-service site-builder may be worthwhile.
Whether you get a designer or do it yourself, follow these steps on going minimal, from Grace Smith at Mashable:
- Go through your site and prune any unnecessary widgets or elements which aren’t serving a real purpose.
- Make good use of white space, which is the space between different elements of a design. Used well, it will allow for easier scanning of your site and help frame the elements on each page.
- With fewer elements, choosing the right color palette or accent color is critical. As color has great significance and meaning, it’s best to test how certain colors interact with each other.
- Browse your site through the eyes of your visitors, evaluating if there is too much information, confusing or off-putting elements, or sufficient calls to action. Answering these types of questions truthfully will help you prioritize the essential elements.
Smith’s article also lists four other areas from photography and type design to action buttons and usability testing that can help any small business site become a star.