Being a small business owner means you’ll be navigating challenges on a daily basis – many of which stem from budgetary constraints.
Getting a website up and running is one of the first major tasks when launching a business. As many might be working on a shoestring budget, building the website oftentimes turns into a DIY project.
Website builders like WordPress and Shopify market themselves as platforms where ANYONE can build a contemporary website. This is only a half truth.
Anyone can build a website – but it takes an expert’s touch to create one that builds a strong rapport with target customers and generates results.
A professional website is a crossroads where artistry, data analysis, and marketing meet. Without proper expertise in these areas, a website will more than likely fall short.
When a life coach—or other small business owner—comes to us for help with their website, these are seven of the most common web design challenges we see them struggling with.
1. SEO Expertise
Search engine optimization (SEO) involves a laundry list of marketing tasks that help a business get placed on relevant Google searches. For example, a life coach in New York City would want their website to show up when people search life coaches NYC, best life coaches in New York, etc.
To achieve this (on a baseline level) their website would need to involve:
- Keyword research and proper usage
- Mobile responsiveness
- Fast page load time
- Proper HTML tags and metadata
- Intuitive site structure and navigation
- High-quality content
- Security protocols
This is just a short list of essential SEO items to be ingrained in the website design process.
SEO tasks are grouped into three different categories: on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and technical SEO. Becoming an expert in SEO isn’t something most people can do in a free afternoon or weekend – it’s a truly unique area of expertise and it can be a lifetime commitment (which is why at Tall Poppies, we bring in SEO experts like Clapping Dog Media to work their magic on our client’s websites).
If a new website isn’t at the very least built with technical SEO best practices in place, it will likely struggle to pull in traffic and turn visits into conversions, consultations, and purchases – no matter how great it looks.
Graphic design might be our first love at Tall Poppies, but we will be the first to proclaim that a website is only as good as its content.
In our opinion, an ugly site with good content will outperform a beautiful site with terrible content.
Content has always been one of the biggest web design challenges for business owners—although they may not realize it. Many business owners are unaware that the text on their home page does not engage and educate visitors the way the owner thinks it does.
Even our highly accomplished clients who are authors struggle with writing content for their websites. Structuring text for a web page is very different than writing a chapter in a book. It’s a delicate art form that requires a deep understanding of human emotions, human behavior, sales language, and how words mesh with design. And we shouldn’t forget SEO best practices.
When you partner with an expert web designer or web design agency, they should not only make sure your website is beautifully designed but it’s highly likely that they will recommend (and facilitate) that your website text be written by a professional copywriter so that it’s ideally written in the voice of your customer and is consistent in tone, style, and format to woo and wow your customers into taking action.
3. Website Speed
As your small business grows, your website will need to evolve and accommodate new products and services. When business owners are managing their own websites exclusively, one of the top challenges we see usually boils down to maintaining fast page load speeds.
*Important* Today’s website users are famously impatient – and it’s probably not going to change. To give you an idea, studies have found that conversion rates drop by more than 4 percent with each extra second of load time. It doesn’t matter how great your web pages are. If they take longer than a second or so to load, your visitors have no problem finding that “x” button.
An expert web design agency will ensure your web page designs are fast. Better yet, they will set you you with training and templates to ensure you are empowered to add content and make updates to your site without sabotaging your site’s speed.
4. Web Accessibility
Web accessibility in website design is about making sure that everyone, including people with disabilities, can easily access and interact with your website.
This involves a list of considerations, including (but not limited to):
- Providing alt text for images for visually impaired users
- Ensuring there is sufficient color contrast for color-blind users
- Including keyboard navigation options for those unable to use a mouse
Website accessibility used to be a bonus for the more in-tune web designers. Nowadays, it’s a legal requirement in many industries, due to the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Regardless of whether your small business website is impacted, following website accessibility guidelines is a smart move. It improves the overall user experience, potentially widens your audience, and can do a lot to improve SEO.
Not many people—including most web designers and developers—know the ins and outs of website accessibility standards under ADA compliance. Professionals (such as our Tall Poppies team paired with the New Accessible Websites team) will make sure these principles are engrained in the design from the outset of the web design project.
5. User Experience Design
The goal of UX design is to create user-friendly experiences that answer key questions for visitors – and seamlessly guide them to take action.
Building a website with exceptional UX calls for a deep understanding of users’ needs and behaviors, building detailed user personas, developing an information architecture, and designing the site with interactive elements – whether it’s accessed on a desktop or mobile devices.
It generally takes an expert to understand the audience’s needs and behaviors, and more importantly, incorporate it into a sleek design.
Web design experts are trained in UX principles – and will make sure your website is up to scratch.
6. Conversation Rate Optimization
A “conversion” is when a website user takes the intended action of the webpage.
If you are a life coach, this action would likely be scheduling a consultation with you or subscribing to your email newsletter.
The number of conversions will ebb and flow – and every site will need Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) from time to time.
The goal of this process is to make tweaks and changes to a webpage to increase the percentage of website visitors who take the desired action.
Knowing what exactly to change or update is not always clear. Finding the answer involves data analysis and creative problem-solving. In addition to sophisticated tools, there are a plethora of skills needed to implement changes, test them, and refine them.
CRO is a job that never really ends – and most small business owners may not have the skills or time to accomplish this. This is where a professional web design and web development agency comes in.
7. Staying in Tune with Modern Web Design Trends
Of all the adjectives to describe your website, “outdated” is at the very bottom.
Web design trends change by the hour – and we oftentimes don’t even notice it until we look back at history.
To put it in perspective, take a look at the evolution of Amazon’s homepage. The 2017 layout looks like it’s from the stone age!
What’s considered a “modern and engaging” website today will look like it’s from ancient history in 5-10 years.
Keeping up with the changes requires continuous research, experimentation, and a touch of innovation. Implementing new design trends typically calls for technical skills beyond the capabilities of most small business owners.
Trying to implement changes without a professional could potentially disrupt the existing user experience and site performance. Moreover, every design trend may not suit your business. You’ll need to make a judgment call about which trends to follow. This is where a professional web designer will come into play.
Talk to a Professional Web Designer Today
If your website is not performing as well as you would like, don’t panic. A lot of small business owners see a poorly performing website and think they need to tear everything down and start from scratch.
The fix might be easier than you think.
The first step is to reach out to a professional for a website strategy session. They will identify your strengths, and weaknesses, and what the next steps are to improve your online presence.
At Tall Poppies Design, we specialize in helping life coaches and small business owners create responsive websites with proper search engine optimization to get noticed – and take operations to the next level. Get in touch with an expert today to take your first step toward an exceptional website.
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