If you’re like most small business owners, web design isn’t your area of expertise. But you don’t have to be a stellar web designer to create an awesome web page. Forget flashy gimmicks and complicated custom code — just stick to the basics of solid web page design and you can get a page up and running for your business until you have the time or resources to build out a complete website.
Here’s what you need to keep in mind for a web page that works for your business.
Web page navigation
Even if you’re starting your venture into the online world with a single-page website, navigation is still essential. Think of the natural progression you’re trying to achieve. What information do you want to highlight? What do you want viewers to see first? Does the flow make sense? Designers refer to this as “wireframing,” which is the process of creating a blueprint for your site.
Pro tip: Developing a carefully planned landing page will make it easier to build out your site in the future.
Get your online presence started on the right foot by formulating a schematic that has room for growth. The last thing you want to do is pigeonhole yourself into a website design that won’t expand with your business! Once you’re ready to have a full-fledged website, be sure to use clear and concise navigation tags for additional pages.
Website color palette
This one’s pretty straightforward — pick a color palette that aligns with your business’s color scheme. If you haven’t picked your hues just yet, no problem. Websites are like blank canvases that you can perpetually rip apart if things don’t work. Try out some different options and see what colors work best together.
Pro tip: Don’t go crazy with your colors — moderation is key.
For the most part, you’ll have one primary color that covers the majority of your web page, a secondary color used for striking contrasts, and a third color for accents.
You don’t want to bog down your web page with a ton of images just for the sake of taking up space.
Carefully select images and photos that speak to your business and overall brand.
Don’t have any images on hand? No problem. You likely own a smartphone and it has a pretty nifty camera that can do the job. You can also check out this post to get more information about using images for your website.
Social media presence
If you want to be a relevant, prominent business on the Internet, you need to have a strong social media presence. Using platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest are a must for emerging online businesses. Including links to your social media profiles on your web page will make content on the page shareable, help you connect with your customers, and drive traffic to your website.
Don’t cut your prospects in half by avoiding the social media world. Almost everyone relies on this type of networking to share opinions and discover business information. If you’re not sure where to begin, take a look at our free social media guide to get started.
Now it’s time for the all-important call-to-action (CTA). You’ve got a layout you like and your colors picked out, so you need to put your thoughts to paper. Since you’re getting started with a single web page, your content needs to be eye-catching and effective right off the bat. You won’t have pages to discuss your business strategy and long-term goals — you’ve got one chance to make a good impression.
Scary, right? There’s no need to stress. Really all you need to do is be clear. Don’t use passive language to get your point across — consumers want to know what’s in it for them right from the start.
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The first example is passive and vague. It doesn’t tell customers the benefit of signing up, and “submit” is what I like to refer to as a “cringe” word (no one likes to submit — virtually any other option like “complete” or “finish” would have a better feel). And remember, CTAs take practice. Don’t be afraid to try and try again until you nail down a good one.
Pertinent business information
Don’t forget the basics. Your business is what got you here — be sure to list any and all vital business information on your web page. The last thing you want to do is to create a beautiful website and leave out valuable details. Your store isn’t open on Sundays? You close early on holidays? Custom orders are available, but only in-person? Make that information clear and visible. The less confusion, the better.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the fun of creating a catchy web page. You want bright colors, music, flash players — everything under the sun. But remember what I said about gimmicks? They aren’t necessary to make a website stand out.
You don’t need gimmicks to make your web page stand out.
Don’t embed your address and contact info in an image. Don’t cleverly disguise it in the background. Don’t make the important stuff hard for website visitors to find. And if at all possible, get yourself a professional email address to build credibility with your consumers.
I don’t know about you, but I always have my phone on me. It’s in my hand, my purse, my boyfriend’s pocket when my jeans are pocket-less. It’s on my nightstand when I fall asleep, and it’s the first thing I check in the mornings (I might be a workaholic). My point is, I’m not the only person who relies on their phone.
It’s no surprise, then, that Google took notice. As Anthonia Akitunde points out on American Express’s Open Forum blog:
"Google is prioritizing mobile-optimized websites in search results on smartphones, boosting sites that are mobile-friendly (e.g., loads quickly on devices, has responsive design, etc.) and demoting those that aren't."
No surprise, there. Your web page needs to be mobile-friendly. Plus, it’s a great way to start crawling up the search engines for when you’re ready to flesh out your website.
Reliable web hosting
When you build a house, you start by making sure the foundation is solid. The same concept goes for creating a web page. You’ll need a web hosting plan that fits your needs, both now and in the future. You either want a plan that will grow with you, or one that has upgrade potential. Do your research and find a good hosting platform — one with 24/7 customer support. The last thing you need is to find a crack in your foundation but no contractor around to help with a solution.
Even if you’re not ready to sell products yet, investing in web security is a great way to show your customers that you care about protecting their information. Learn the basics of SSLs. As your business grows, you might need to look into other options, but it’s never too early to start protecting you and your customers (especially since Google prioritizes secure sites).
And there you have it — 10 easy ways to create a killer web page. Now all you need to do is promote your business and rake in the visitors. If you’re ready for the next step, you might want to think about building some awesome email marketing campaigns.