Web Design Tips for Small Businesses

Web design tips and strategies to present your small business properly and attract more customers.

A well- designed website from both the visual and the business standpoint is important for any business or organization, but even more so for a small business as it is the best tool to gain recognition. The possibilities for web design are endless, which is why it is important to determine which trends and tools are worth investing in to better your business. As a Chicago web design firm, internet marketing firm, and small business ourselves, the internet marketing consultants at Design & Promote have created a list of the most- necessary features that any small business should add- on to their current website.

Responsive Web Design

As the internet has evolved to be an integral component into every modern individual’s life, technology users demand responsiveness as a way

Website layout using responsive web design.

Website layout using responsive web design.

of maintaining the ease and comfort that it is intended to provide. Attract more visitors and be able to attract them as clients by providing them with the optimal experience as they visit your website. Web design should be created using the principles of color theory and be made up of memorable graphics. Content should be concise and informative with clear calls to action. Websites should be technologically advanced and appealing, yet simple enough for easy access.

Adapting to the changing technology and adding convenience to your website visitors’ experience means creating a responsive website for all forms of media. Web pages should be made in consideration to wide desktop screens, smaller laptops, tablets, smartphones, and mobile phones. The biggest website trend now is making mobile websites for the most convenient viewer experience.

Social Media Feeds

Social media has been revolutionary for businesses and consumers alike. Brand recognition through social media occurs as a presence is established and users view your page. Social media strategy allows for businesses to have their own pages and create a following with updates for potential and current clients. Posting promotions, awards, business updates, and related news can convert followers into customers and

The plethora of social media to incorporate into your website.

The plethora of social media to incorporate into your website.

establishes a small business as a powerful presence, just as larger businesses do. Utilizing social feeds in online marketing establishes credibility- testimonials can be placed directly from the profiles of other social media users and an active communication on the part of the business makes customers feel secure.

Adding these social feeds directly into your small business website allows for easier evaluation and encourages the viewer to follow your social media even after they leave the website. This way, you will not be forgotten. Projecting links or even live feeds of social media in your business’ website makes access even easier and is attractive to clients. Our Naperville web design clients love using an internet marketing strategy that interlinks their social media strategy to web design project as it boosts popularity and encourages quality content in both domains.

Updated Layouts

New trends for web design layout are once again looking to innovate and modernize the digital experience for web users. Parallax scrolling refers to sliding visuals and text that follow as the website user scrolls through the page. Although it is not the most cost-effective solution, it can be useful to certain industries and is an interesting mechanism to watch develop in the future. A trendy web design that is accessible to all is the look of image tiles. Websites like Pinterest and Instagram first started making image tiles popular, and many other companies like Facebook soon followed. With image tiles, websites create a visually appealing layout that is easy for people to discover and digest as well as share with

Pinterest as an example of trendy web design image tiles.

Pinterest as an example of trendy web design image tiles.

others and remember for the future.

Typography is nothing new, but the market for Chicago web design as well as worldwide does not utilize typography to its full potential. The styles of font, text color, and using hierarchy in relation to size throughout the page are all important to optimize the layout of your webpage. The most important information should be at the top of the page and stand out; uniform text is commonly overlooked.

Final Thoughts

In the end, the online market provides small businesses with the opportunities to thrive. Those who take advantage of the internet opportunities are rewarded with bigger brand presence and receive more business. The best web design for a small business should encompass being responsive, presenting updated and trendy layouts, and have desirable features like social media feeds. Get more advice on web design by seeking the assistance of a web designer at Design & Promote.

Everyone wants website visitors. And that’s where a call to action web design comes in.
All the website visitors in the world won’t help your business if they do not “convert” and become customers.  The first step to turning a website visitor into a customer is to impel them to take an action.

If a site is drawing considerable website traffic, but not converting customers, chances are that either the website’s call to action (CTA) is weak, or the site is not engaging the customer enough to motivate a response to the CTA.  Within your site you should provide multiple opportunities for your visitors to engage more deeply with your company and respond in some way. Ideally, these opportunities should be incorporated into the planning stages of a design so that the website design helps convert customers.

Let’s take a look at some home pages and what elements they’ve used to engage their visitors and effectively incorporate calls to action.

INCLUDE CALLS TO ACTION IN SLIDERS website call to action example for recycling company

In the example below, CRI offers a website call to action on each changing image in their slide show. While each slide contains a different call to action button, each one also offers a button to click that promises “more information” on related topics of document destruction and recycling. By incorporating a call to action in the slide show, which in itself is a chief element of visitor engagement,  the visitor actually receives three different and varying calls to action, providing a greater likelihood that one of them will garner a click.  If the first slide does not engage the visitor, chances are the next one, or the next will.

OFFER EXTRAS AND INCENTIVES TO HELP CONVERT VISITORS

This homepage also attempts to engage the visitor more deeply into the site by using website call to action alongside special offers and incentives. CRI actually offers several, so they address many different types of visitors with varying levels of readiness to convert on one page. A customer who comes to the site already “sold” on the company can easily find and click for the “free recycling audit” and be immediately connected with the contact page. Someone who needs an overall review of what the company does can read the downloadable whitepaper in the bottom right corner, which simultaneously captures their email for the company’s marketing list. A website visitor who just needs more individualized information to start the process can access a calculator on the “try it now” button in the bottom center to get information specific to their company, so they can take the next important step towards conversion.

PLACE CALLS TO ACTION ON THE TOP AND BOTTOM OF THE HOME PAGE

Customers can become disengaged very quickly if they have to go looking for a contact telephone number. On this home page, the telephone number is conveniently located at both the top and bottom of the home page so there is no need to navigate to the “contact us” page to find a number. At the bottom, a direct call to action in the words “Contact Us Today” even precedes the telephone number.

SET UP CALL TO ACTIONS WITHIN A WEBSITE’S NAVIGATION call to action website navigation

The recruiting firm New Way Search provides two entry points, tailored to their two main audiences, employers and candidates. By providing different entry points into the website, the call to action takes the visitor down the road to conversion by engaging them to the next, and most desired, level of the website.

MAKE WEBSITE CALLS TO ACTIONS POP WITH COLOR

Color can be a powerful tool for grabbing attention and engaging the visitor. On this page, the “contact us” button is the only dark green element, making it stand out more easily to the site visitor. Depending on the website design, a color that is complementary to the site’s color scheme, or one that is completely discordant can work best. For example, putting a bright orange call to action button on a muted, pastel-based color scheme may be a bold, but potentially effective strategy, depending upon the design and the businesses. Call to action button color is just one of many factors that is often subject to A/B testing because it has so much power to engage visitors and encourage them to respond to the website call to action.

MAKE WEBSITE CALLS TO ACTION CLICKABLE WITH IMAGES AND GRAPHICSrestaurant web design

This home page from Belgio’s Catering uses tantalizing, color images of food as an indirect call to action to engage the visitor to the next step. When visitors click on the photo, they go to a page that gives specific information on the meal, including menu options and prices. The decision to use images, over a brightly colored button, conveniently provides more specific navigation to the visitor, but is also a more engaging and enticing target to click!

ADDITIONAL WEBSITE CALL TO ACTION DO’S AND DON’TS

As you consider how to engage your customers with your website call to action, here are some other do’s and don’ts:

  • Don’t Crowd.  Leave some white space around your call to action buttons. They will stand out more.
  • Don’t Have Too Many Calls to Action.  Your page need not look like the Vegas strip. Design it to direct the visitor to a few strategic actions.
  • Do position the calls to action where people naturally look. The top right corner and center of the page are “hot spots” for the eye.
  • Do use “urgent language”.  Don’t settle for “click here.” Use active, motivational words like “Learn More”, “Join Today,” “Get Started”, etc.
  • Do Experiment with Color.  The button color on the call to action is very important. Consider alternatives.
  • Do Have a Call to Action on Every Page.  The visitor should always know what to do next
  • Do Test the Navigation. What happens after the visitor clicks on the call to action?
  • Do they need to do anything else?  See the call to action through from page to page to make sure your customer is prompted through each step of the conversion process.

From the initial design of the website to the latest revisions, the call to action in web design is one of your most important elements on your site.  By implementing well-crafted, abundant calls to action you will engage more visitors and ultimately, increase your conversions.

If you are noticing high site traffic without conversions, a weak website call to action may be the reason. At Design & Promote, we are great at turning under performing sites into strategic, conversion vehicles.  Call us today for a free evaluation of your site and recommendations on improving its online performance.

301 redirects help prevent 404 errorsThinking about redesigning your website? Or changing domain names? Are you already ranking well for some keywords? Hold up! While we are all for you moving away from an archaic website design to a more modern one, there are somethings to consider.  For instance, what are you going to do with all of those backlinks that are pointing to your old site? If you’re not careful, you can loose your SEO power without utilizing 301 redirects. Without a good integrated web design and SEO strategy you may loose the top spot in Google. And it will come right when you have a new beautiful web design to show off.

What You Need To Know About Using 301 Redirects With Your New Web Design

While redesigning a website is a popular option for business owners, it’s important to remember that every time you change the path of your URL structure you may, inadvertently, be breaking links within your website pages found elsewhere on the web. The result? Your new website may not, initially, deliver the results you had been expecting. In fact, many companies actually notice that, when they first go live with their new site, their visitor traffic plummets. Reconfiguring your existing URL structure can instantly drive your traffic numbers into the ground, taking all of your previous SEO initiatives with it.

The best way to ensure that your new website design doesn’t hurt your SEO initiatives is to implement a 301 redirect as part of your website migration process. Sure, under certain circumstances, you may feasibly maintain your existing URL structure with your new website setup. But if you plan on revamping your content, changing your URL may make the most sense. Enter in, our friend, the 301 redirect. 301 redirects have three primary goals to help save existing SEO power.

1) A 301 redirect informs the search engine that old copy and online pages have moved and no longer exist in their previous locations.

2) 301 redirects automatically reroute website visitors to the newly appointed page for a seamless user transition between old and new URL’s.

3) A 301 redirect tells the search engines to quit indexing your old page and start indexing your new page in the future. (there is also a 302 redirect that says the same thing but only temporary)

Another way of saying it is a 301 redirect tells the search engines that people who want page A will be directed to page B instead.

Using 301 Redirects to Keep Your Credibility

One of the quickest ways to annoy visitors and loose your credibility is to bring them to a 404 page. 301 redirects not only help redirect visitors to the correct pages, they boost your company’s search engine credentials. Search engines have algorithms that help it build “trust” with any online site. This trust is based both on having an aged, established website as well as an SEO initiative chock full of relevant inbound links. Without using a 301 redirect to salvage your existing links to new pages, the search engines will instantly deem your new website as a brand new website and you’re starting over. Google isn’t following the power.

By setting up a 301 redirect from your old site to your new site, your traffic numbers should return to normal within a 1-4 month time span.

If you are getting your website redesigned somewhere else, make sure they know what keywords you are ranking for already and fully understand how to implement a 301 redirect strategy.

If you’re ready to redesign your website and have not selected a team to work with yet we can help ensure that you reap the benefits of a new modern look while sustaining your current SEO rankings.

For more information  contact us.

 

At the cross roads on where to begin your web design process? Picking the right domain name is the first step. As a leading provider of Schaumburg web design services, Design & Promote recognizes that, when it comes to dominating any industry, online image is everything. In order for companies in every field to effectively hold their own in a global economy, business owners must have a prominent web marketing strategy. Without a cohesive web design and online promotional approach, business owners run the risk of being ignored in favor of the competition, not only on a worldwide basis, but also even within their own business backyard.

Choosing A Domain Name: A Key Component To Our Schaumburg Web Design Services

At Design & Promote, our skilled and seasoned Schaumburg web design specialists understand that, while creating a well-designed web layout plays an important role in every online marketing campaign, it’s not the only critical component to overall success. As a leading provider of Schaumburg web design services, we recognize that the first step in creating an effective online image begins with choosing the best domain name for our clients’ businesses.

Key Considerations When Selecting The Right Domain Name For Your Business

When partnering with Design & Promote for your Schaumburg web design services, you’ll work closely with our team of creative professionals to ensure that you receive a customized online marketing solution that optimizes your business’ web presence and impact. Choosing your company’s domain name is an important part of this process; that’s why we offer our clients key tips and considerations to focus on such as:

  • Consistent use of brand: Our online marketing experts know that a cohesive brand image is of paramount importance for optimal success. Our staff of Schaumburg web design professionals will strategize IP addresses that not only include relevant keywords, but also enhance your existing brand strategies for maximum return on investment.
  • Simple and straightforward choices: Many business owners (wrongfully) assume that, in order to grab online attention, they have to have a pithy domain name. This isn’t always the case. While incorporating your brand is critical, getting overly clever can quickly convolute the process. Confusing your targeted demographic can often prove a surefire way for them to move on to other businesses that offer the same services and products. When working with Design & Promote we can help you find an original name that conveys what your business is about without getting overly gimmicky.
  • No special characters: While sometimes a number, hyphen or other special character provides audience impact, all too often it just adds an opportunity for confusion. Having to take the time to spell out all special characters used in your domain name when speaking to customers can feel frustrating for both parties; keeping the special characters out of the IP address helps eliminate potential typos.
  • Finding the right suffix: Finally, when working with our Schaumburg web design team, we can help your business find the right suffix for your IP address. Using .com is always preferable, but if that’s not a possibility, we can work with you to find an appropriate domain name suffix that will still help get your business the traffic that it deserves.

Want to hear more about Design & Promote’s approach to Schaumburg web design services? Contact us today.

We know you’ve done it. You’ve contemplated trying to design your own website; you’ve even checked out some of the popular, pre-packed templates that promise professional results for next to Web design Aurora IL nothing. It’s okay to check these out – after all, we look at the competition ourselves on occasion to see what the latest in pre-fab web designs are offering. Without fail, we quickly come to the conclusion that there is no substitute for working with a real, live web designer who can listen to your needs and respond with the perfect design and the proper code to keep your company’s website running smoothly. So go ahead – try out a few DIY systems, then come talk to us at Design & Promote. We’re confident you’ll be impressed and bit relieved. Here’s why:

Website Design Templates Are Cookie Cutter

 They are called templates for a reason. There are only so many variations on a theme, and building a website with templates will inevitably lead to the creation of a site that looks an awful lot like a bunch of other websites. Do you want to blend in or stand out? At Design & Promote, you’ll never be just another face in the crowd because we don’t use templates that have been used a thousand times before. Building from the ground up ensures a website design that has the unique stamp of your business and enhances your brand recognition.

Aurora Web Design That’s Ahead Of The Curve

 Websites that offer you a selection of predesigned templates are inevitably behind the curve and always playing catch-up. Rather than setting the standard or creating a trend, these sites are watching for the next big thing so that they can copy it. Our website designs are innovative, cutting-edge programs that set standards rather than trying to meet them. Over the years, websites have become more complex because they offer more options every year. You don’t want to offer a limited menu of options to your site visitors. You want to offer them intuitive response, easy navigation and a rich menu of online services that are easy to implement. So stop worrying about whether the template you’re working with has the capability to offer online check-out. If it’s out there, we can give it to you, and you’ll never have to worry about finding the right web design template to meet your needs.

We Are Web Design Specialists

 Which is better – generic or premium? One may cost a bit more, but almost everyone will agree that the generic brand of anything isn’t as attractive, tasty or reliable as its brand name counterpart. If you wouldn’t settle for generic food on your table when you’re entertaining guests, why would you offer a bland, generic website to your customers? We have a creative vision that ensures that you’ll always get high quality pages that are designed to meet your and your customers’ specific needs in a way that is intuitive and easy to implement while looking great. If we create your new Aurora website design, you can rest assured no one is going to say, “Hey, this looks just like the Acme website. Do you use the same web design?”

Truly Responsive Web Design Means Never Having To Say “We Can’t”

 We’ve all been on a website we loved only to discover that when we tried to access it from our mobile phone, tablet or mini, it froze up or looked awful. Missing text, too much scrolling and even missing elements are common when your cookie cutter website is accessed from someone’s cell phone or other electronic device. Responsive web design translates to a website that’s easy to access and navigate no matter what device your customers are using. Design & Promote’s responsive web designs allow you to reach optimal ease of use and a wider audience. We’ll make sure that the online site we create for you will be accessible across multiple platforms regardless of their resolution parameters or the bandwidth they require.

 We Can Fix Whatever Ails Your Site

“Do It Yourself” may save you money in the short term, but what happens when your cookie cutter website crashes or you get a funky error message you’ve never seen before? Very few templates give you tech support when the system is down. At Design & Promote, we’re proud of our customer service record and we’ll always be available to address your concerns, troubleshoot a problem or add on a new feature. The same can’t be said for templates.

We’re Proud To Be Members of the Fox Valley Chamber of Commerce in Aurora

website design fox valley chamber

Bruce Jones, CEO of Design & Promote, is the co-chair of the B2B  Connections Group at Fox Valley Chamber. We are happy to be a part of the Aurora community and create great websites for Aurora businesses.

For the finest Aurora web design available, turn to Design & Promote. We’ll create an original online presence that is uniquely designed to reflect not only your brand identity, but your dedication to customer service and online innovation as well. Browse our online portfolio to see what we have to offer.

 

When Chicago law firm Mages and Price needed to update their website, they chose the Naperville web design firm Design & Promote.

“Their old website wasn’t very user friendly,” said Bruce Jones, owner of Design & Promote.  “They were needed three things from us: the ability to make changes on the website themselves; a graphic updating of the site and on-page search engine optimization.”

1.  Website Flexibility with WordPress

The old site, shown below, featured only two of the firm’s three service areas and was also on an older content management system (CMS) that was unable to be updated by the client.

Mages & Price's old homepage

Mages & Price’s old homepage

Design & Promote redesigned the website on WordPress, a very user-friendly content management system used by most of their clients.  Putting the site on WordPress helped achieve M&P’s main objective of being able to control the content of their website and make changes at will.

2. Updated Graphics

Gary Mages, a partner at Mages & Price, was clear that they wanted their site to continue to stand apart from the competition in its visual presentation, just as it always has.  “We didn’t want the typical lawyer look with the scales of justice,” he said.  “Our site has always been more artistic.”  He also still liked many of the elements of the old site.  “Design & Promote really listened.  So instead of abandoning our old design, they incorporated elements of it that we still really liked, like the colors and the vine, into the new one.”

Mages & Price's new homepage by Design & Promote

Mages & Price’s redesigned homepage

Design & Promote’s redesign yielded a new, more user-friendly, updated site. They replaced vertical navigation features with horizontal ones and outlined M & P’s services into three main service areas, rather than two, by adding “litigation” to “real estate” and “collections.”  An attractive call to action form was added to each page of the site to entice visitors to contact the firm with their specific issues, and the improvement has aided customer conversion.  Pages for “events” and a “blog” were also added for M&P to update on an ongoing basis.

“The first design they showed us was the one we went with,” said Gary. “Bruce and his team really listened to what we wanted and then did it.”

3.  SEO to Get Found

Finally, Design & Promote addressed the company’s lack of on-page SEO by researching and selecting the best SEO keywords for the firm and incorporating them into the site’s content.  Title tags, headlines and copy were all SEO optimized and have been successful in helping M&P increase their rankings in the search engines.

Since the site went live in the spring of 2012, Gary said he has had many positive comments from current and prospective customers who have visited. “People always go on it before they commit to us so it is an important presentation of our business,” he said. “Everyone at Design & Promote was great to work with throughout the entire project. We appreciated their creativity and responsiveness.”

To view our work, or to learn more about Mages & Price go to their website here.

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Search Engine Optimization

seo-company-chicago-ilAt Design & Promote, we are SEO experts. We have the skills, the expertise and the resources to create a customized SEO campaign for your website that will allow you to dominate the search engines, draw more visitors to your website, and convert those visitors into sales.

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Web Design & Development

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Branding & Graphic Design

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Custom Photography

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Internet Marketing

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