The majority of websites designed for small business clients tend to stay pretty much the same for far too long. I always design websites that have the flexibility and scalability to grow with relative ease, but it is understandable that small business, and even some larger ones, have limited time and budget to revisit their site design, layout and content as often as they should. Here are my top five website revisions that small business websites would benefit from the most:
1. Replace stock photos with real photos
Time and budget constraints usually determine the need for stock images for most of my small business clients in the initial design and development. I do my best to choose stock that does not look like stock, but there is no substitute for good quality, authentic photography. The web is by nature impersonal, and the more you give visitors a real sense of who you are, where you are and what you do, the more relatable and credible you will seem to them.
2. Improve your most popular pages
After a website has been up for a while it is easy to see how web traffic flows and which pages on the site are the most popular. It is worth revisiting those popular pages to tweak the layout, add rich content, or create bolder calls-to-action to improve the usability, productiveness and conversion on those pages.
3. Add illustration, motion and video
A slider usually in the masthead (example) is a great add-on to an existing website. It creates some interesting motion and gives you the opportunity to deliver a few key messages right away. Diagrams, static or animated, are great visuals that explain your service, product or process to your audience without having them read excessively. Videos, whether a general introduction, a specific ‘how-to’, or a client testimonial, are super attention-grabbers.
4. Add drop down navigation and mega menus
Since most first launch small business websites start off with just ten to twenty pages, a drop down navigation is not necessary and can even look silly if the site is too shallow. But if the website has grown over time, adding a drop down makes sense for usability and even to help you look more substantial. Mega menus (example) are another great advance and give you added space to promote your messages right up front.
5. Add credibility cues
My colleague, Rob Swick, introduced me to this term many years ago and it remains one of my favorites. A credibility cue is anything that conveys to your audience a sense that you are professional and trustworthy. Good web design itself is a credibility cue, but so are testimonials, reviews, client logos, awards, associations, and for e-commerce websites, a security logo like VeriSign or eTrust logo is a must.