We have become one with the web, like a colony of curious spiders crawling around, looking for answers to both our inquiries and entertainment voids. In the past 30-some-odd years, we have seen the internet swell and augment from an overlooked fad to a minute-to-minute necessity. The internet is why you are here. The internet is why we (at Bus Web Design) are employed.
Far from hyperbole, the internet is the crux on which our society sits. Not only does it push the orchestration of governments, organizations, and social groups, but it also runs a significant part of modern consumerism. In fact, according to Devrex, 64% of small businesses have their own website in 2022.
While not all businesses (especially small in-person affairs) need a cache-demanding and intricately-coded website to continue as a successful business, not having your business listed online in some fashion can be a quick and painful death sentence. Even for businesses conducted entirely in-person, you still need to be featured on business directories, like Google Maps, to even be noticed. The person living across the street may never know your business exists unless you are on the web. Not even a neon sign can catch the attention of the modern consumer.
Needless to say, web design is crucial for your business. But does it need to be good? Does your web design need to be exemplary to garner attention and clientele?
Why You Should Have Great Web Design
Let’s be honest: as a web design company, we aren’t going to tell you that great web design is useless. There is a reason that we have chosen this line of business, though. Web design is crucial for businesses in the modern era. It’s that simple.
KPMG reported in 2017 that 55% of people will search online for reviews and recommendations before making a purchase, with 47% visiting the company website, 26% checking out the physical store, and 23% of people talking with friends and family. That was five years ago. With the pandemic forcing many to stay within their homes, the usage of internet searching has only gone up tenfold. How many people use the internet to search businesses before buying? A lot.
It’s a basic concept: if a lot of people are going to be viewing your business website, it might as well be aesthetically pleasing. Duh. But here are more reasons:
1. SEO to Get in Front of Eyes
Building a brand and search engine optimization (SEO) presence is a critical step in becoming a successful online business. Even if you aren’t a predominantly online business, you still need to be at the top of search engines.
Let’s refer back to the aforementioned statistic. 47% of potential clients will check out your business website before even stepping foot in the physical store. If a local user searches, say, pet stores near me, your pet store better appear near the top of the list. It’s the easiest and most used way of finding local businesses to visit (physically).
If I can’t find your business online, I ain’t visiting!
If you are an online business, SEO is even more important. You need to build your way up search engine ranks so customers can find you, especially in a saturated market. Your business idea may seem unique, but within the small world the web has created, there are definitely other businesses like yours. You need to rank above them.
What Does Web Design Have to Do With That?
There are a ton of factors that go into building successful websites that rank on search engines. We’ve delved into a lot of the SEO tips and topics in our blog (check it out. We’ve worked hard on it).
Consequently, web design is a main factor behind most SEO practices. Not only does Google tend to rank cleaner coding better, but users tend to like cleaner and aesthetically-pleasing websites, which boosts SEO. If a customer stays on your website longer because it is fast and easy to digest, your site is building rep with Google, helping it get higher in rankings.
2. Reach a Wider Audience
Clean and appealing web design leads to higher SEO. Higher SEO leads to more people noticing your business. More people noticing your business leads to more sales. It doesn’t take a scientific mind to understand the concept of popularity.
If you have pinpointed a niche market, something we discussed in our article How to Find the Target Audience for Your Small Business, then you can easily get your business website in front of eyes.
To harken back to the pet store example, if your business is an organic pet store, you will easily rank for the category. There are fewer organic pet stores than overall pet stores.
But here’s the thing: that’s getting in front of the eyes of consumers that are looking for organic pet stores. The next step is to get in front of viewers that aren’t looking for organic pet stores, convincing them that they should be. That’s advertising, baby! And creating great web design that ranks is the next step in advertising.
Furthermore, your web design needs to be mobile-friendly. Don’t lose out on that corner of the market by having your website malfunction on phones. Mobile web traffic counts for around 60% of internet users, after all. That’s a huge chunk to lose.
3. Efficient Conversions
Great web design goes further than just looking good and feeling good. Great web design can lead to an uptick in sales directly on the website, too, especially if a well-crafted store is created in conjunction with the overall site.
As of 2021, 2.14 billion people shopped online. Even if you are predominantly an in-person business, having an online shopping component can only boost sales (even if it only leads to in-store pickup). Having a well-designed online store and shopping sector will only help boost these sales. An aesthetically pleasing, efficient, and easy-to-use online store will lead to more efficient sales conversions.
Secondly, having a quick and blatant way to contact customer service also helps customers feel more at ease while shopping with you. An efficient feedback loop will help increase positive reviews, increasing SEO, and organic traffic.
See that above? We want to have an easy way to reach us. We want you to reach us.
See? It all connects. It all starts with efficient and great web design.
4. Creates Trust and Brand Recognition
Having a noticeable brand and consistent brand allows customers to relate to your company. In the modern age of platforms, movements, and a shift in ideals, consumers want to support companies that stand by similar morals. A website can not only define your culture and concepts but push them to potential clients, allowing people to recognize your business as a brand.
A report by Lucidpress stated that consistent branding across all channels can increase revenue anywhere from 10% to 20%. The creation of said branding starts in your website design, believe it or not.
The Homepage, About Us, and reviews located on your business website can help set the baseline for your brand and culture. What do you stand for? Does it transmit to your customer base?
Also, the design says a lot about your culture, even if just subconsciously. Do you have bright colors and whimsical copy? Are you serious with dark tones? Every bit of web design counts.
Furthermore, a functional and fast website with no ads, slowdowns, or weird popups can help create trust amongst consumers (as well as positive reviews). You want a site that seems both reliable and safe. Much like the efficient conversions tip above, an effective site can help build trust with clients, causing a positive spread by word of mouth or word of click.
No one wants to give money to a website that’s full of suspicious ads or stock photos. Web design, like a physical storefront, helps you invite customers in and produce comfort. If a potential client or visitor has to second guess that they are on a legit site, you have already lost them as a potential customer.
First impressions are the most important. Right? Then your website could easily be your first impression on a significant amount of clients. Make sure it shows your business in a good light.
5. Opportunities for Sharing
Having a website you are proud of stretches beyond just building your way up Google’s rankings.
Think of it like this: if you are a private contractor and discuss work with someone randomly at a store, you need to have a business card to give to them. If not, you may have just lost a potential client due to forgetfulness. They won’t remember your email or phone number. A website you are proud of is the same way.
If you see a friend on Facebook asking where to buy an item you sell, your website acts as a calling card. Go here. Remember this. Enjoy this. It’s a virtual business card. It’s a way to gain word of mouth amongst local shoppers. They will be able to share it around, companies and other websites will be able to backlink to it, and Google will be able to show it.
If you don’t have a website, you can’t gather the fruits of internet labor. There’s no reason not to have a site with fantastic design.
This takes us to —
Are There Downsides?
If you don’t have a website, then your website can’t be shared. I know it’s a simple and nonsensical statement, but it is important to note.
Nowadays, creating a stellar website is fairly simple. There are plenty of hosting sites that have a library of generic and well-made designs at the ready (though we don’t necessarily recommend doing this, it’s still a viable option). Why not have a website?
Even the most technologically-inefficient people can create a decent-to-great site. Though it may not lead to great SEO rankings without more work, it can still be out there. It can still be a business card to give to people for future reference.
Is It Worth Outsourcing for Web Design?
Ultimately, there are pros and cons to working with a web design company.
Firstly, it can be a fairly expensive process. If you are a small business without much money to spare, creating a pleasing site may be last on your list. Furthermore, having to work with someone to come up with the perfect design and template may cost resources (time) that you aren’t ready or able to permit. That’s totally okay.
Secondly, and this may sound like a good problem, your small business may not be equipped for the influx of business from internet customers. Dealing with online orders on top of in-person sales can be tough, especially if you don’t have adequate staff. That’s completely understandable.
Regarding positives, there are quite a few.
Firstly, most design companies offer a one-time fee. They will create the website to your liking and you both shake hands and move on. There are no ongoing payments other than yearly fees for the website domain. While the immediate price may be pricey, depending on the company, it’s not a long-term investment. What you do with the site after is up to you.
Secondly, some companies take everything out of your hand. Some web design agencies will not only create a design but also update content and work on the SEO side for you. You can outsource experts to do SEO and digital marketing work, leaving you to deal with in-store business.
How Do You Know You Picked the Right Web Design Company?
It’s time to talk about ourselves, my favorite thing to do! Self-promotion!
Like any business transaction, you always want to make sure you are working with a savory company before handing over hard-earned cash. So, how do you know you are working with a decent and trustworthy web design company?
Well. It’s simple. Look at their web design. What you see is what you get, after all.
A web design company better have a dang good web design for their own storefront. Furthermore, they should have proof of their ability to create powerful websites that adhere to your ideas and priorities.
For example, here is proof that all of our previous business website designs rank in the high green on Google’s speed test:
Here is proof that we have experience getting our clients to the top of Google searches and answer boxes:
The proof is in the pudding. Here’s the pudding on a nice platter!
Like searching for any business, check out reviews, references from other sources, social media accounts, and pricing charts. You should be able to get a good sense of whether a company is reliable or not based on its overall brand and internet presence (as we stated earlier). If you ever have any questions, reach out to them. They should have a quick, personal, and helpful response.
Finally, see if their pricing and business concepts align with yours. Feel free to ask for more info if you can’t find enough about them. For example, at Bus Web Design, our ongoing partnership packages involve web design and digital marketing. We get compensated based off of what sales we bring you, not a flat fee. Meaning, we don’t get paid until you get paid. That’s our agreement. If that sounds more in line with what you are looking for, you can reach out and ask for more information.
Regardless of who you choose to work with, creating a stellar business website can be advantageous for your business. There’s no reason to not have a website in 2022, even if you don’t plan to update it regularly.