In 2018 over $500 billion was spent online in the US alone with figures set to surpass $600 billion by 2020.
Even if your business won’t sell services online, the importance of having sleek and professional commercial websites cannot be overstated. It gives users confidence in your business and makes them much more likely to go with your services.
Make sure your site is made the right way with the following steps.
Commercial Websites That Stand Out
It takes someone 1/10 of a second to form an impression about your website and your business.
From the design to the words, every single element needs to look good and be short and informative. If your site is peppered with a ton of text and ugly images it will make customers think your business is old and low quality.
Avoid losing customers by making smart choices from the start.
1. Ensure Your Brand Is Established
Before even starting on the website you need to make sure that your business has a strong and defined brand. This means you know how it looks and what the tone of voice should be for the website copy.
A straightforward professional website shouldn’t have a ton of vivid colors and casual language—but that would be perfect for a creative site.
With a clear brand, it will be much easier for you or the person designing your website.
2. Choose the Right Website Builder
If you don’t have a lot of money and are going to make the website yourself then there are great options to choose from.
Websites like Wix and Squarespace are built with a lot of the difficult coding done for you.
You start by picking a cool looking template (they sort them by category) that suits your business’ style. From there, you can drag, drop, and replace the preset images with whatever you like.
While you won’t have the complete freedom of a coded website, this option can save you hours and a lot of money.
Of course, if you need a custom solution and have the money to back it up then sites like WordPress are the best choice. A skilled developer will already know how to code the complex stuff and this will give you a ton of customization.
3. Decide on the Purpose of the Website
What is the main thing you want someone to do when they get on your website? Is it buying products? Requesting/booking services? Or providing information?
Whatever you decide on will determine how the website should be designed and what pages it will include.
For example, a business selling shoes should display their top-selling products from the start to entice users to browse their inventory. In contrast, a shoe repair business should lead with their years of expertise and reviews from happy customers to back it up.
4. Think About the User Experience (UX)
One of the rules of web design is that no page should be a “dead-end”.
What this means is that every page should contain a link to another page or a call to action (CTA) that gets the user to do something of value to your business (providing their email address, making a purchase, booking an appointment, etc.).
At the start, it’s usually best to draw an outline of your website pages as simple boxes on a piece of paper. Use bullet points to define what information should be on that page and use lines to show where that page should link to.
The fewer pages and more streamline your website the better. Designing can be tricky so hiring a professional design agency can make your life a lot easier. Read more here to see what options are available to you.
5. Write the Text Ahead of Time
Using the outline you drew, open a word doc and start writing the headlines and body copy that will be on every page.
It will not only help with putting the website together but also help you see if your ideas and branding make sense. Your opening headline should tell users exactly what you do and what you offer in as interesting a way as possible. Boring copy will turn people off and make them look elsewhere.
For example, if that e-commerce shoe website said “We Sell Cool New Shoes”, that wouldn’t be anywhere near as effective than if it said something like “Shoes with Style in Every Step”.
6. Make it SEO Friendly
When people search for products or services offered by your business you want your website to appear high in the search rankings.
This is why you want to write out the text ahead of time. Once you know what you want to say and how you want to say it, you need to look into what people are searching.
Doing this research will let you know the most essential keywords and search terms that need to be included in your site’s copy and metadata descriptions.
7. Compression Is Key
When putting your website together the last thing you want is to use photos and images with large file sizes.
If a website takes a long time to load most people will just get fed up and look elsewhere. There are plenty of tools out there that help keep the file size down without lowering the quality.
Compression tools can also help remove unnecessary coding and make your website run faster and smoother for a better user experience.
8. Responsive Web Pages Are Essential
This is in case a user makes their browser into a window and shrinks it down or views your website through their mobile device.
If your website isn’t responsive the images and text will remain large and difficult to read. With so many people looking up websites on their mobile phones this is a requirement for any website.
It not only will help you look professional but you’ll stand out against competitors who haven’t take this extra step.
Have Fun With It
Even though there is a lot that goes into designing commercial websites you should still enjoy the process.
This is your business and your chance to great something personal and cool that will appeal to people and bring them business. If you hire someone to help you make the website it is important you trust their professional opinion.
You may feel tempted to add another image or write more words but it will risk ruining their design and UX.
Take a look at our free Photoshop website templates to see if there’s anything you like to get started.