Are you a small-business owner looking to have a website built? To someone new, the entire process can seem daunting and leave you feeling confused. Don't throw up your hands yet! Use these five simple website design tips to make it easier on yourself.

1. Quality over quantity.

When it comes to designing and developing a website, many small-business owners bite off more than they can chew. Often times, I talk to small-business owners who list off feature after feature and page after page that they want built, but they don't have the five-figure budget that comes with it. I'm here to say, that's OK! When building a website for your small business, quality trumps quantity. It is much better to start out with a small, high-quality website than it is to spend your resources on building a giant site. Why? Starting small means you save money, since there's less for you or an agency to build. Also, it gives you the ability to focus your time, energy, and money on building out the most important parts of the website, such as:

  • Making sure it loads quickly (under three seconds)
  • Making the site mobile optimized (responsive)
  • Creating an informative customer experience

2. Make your call to action strong and visible.

You should treat your website as a salesman; its job is to generate leads for your business. The only way it can do that is if it has a strong and visible call to action (CTA) on it. The best CTAs are incentives that give the potential lead a reason to take the next step and buy what you sell. Here are some great, incentive-based CTAs:

  • "Contact us today for your free consultation!"
  • "New customers receive 10 percent off their first purchase--contact us today to claim yours!"
  • "$100 off your purchase with this printable coupon. Bring it in today to save!"

If your business can't use an incentive in its CTA, you still have one option. You'll want to make sure that your CTA is clearly visible and leads to some medium whereby a lead can contact you. This medium can be a contact form, a phone number, or even an email address. However, to maximize leads generated by your website, you'll want to put the CTA in a place that is highly visible on your website. Great placement options include: highlighted in the menu bar, at the center of the page when loaded, or in a floating sidebar.

3. A picture is worth a thousand words.

A great website (the kind that generates the most leads) uses both content and media (such as pictures and video) to tell your business's story. A lot of small businesses get the content aspect right but miss out on the media part, which is just as important. A picture can sell your service much better than anything you write. Here are some examples:

  • If you're a restaurant, you should have pictures of menu items to make the visitor crave your food.
  • If you're a law firm, you should have headshots of all your employees to create trust.
  • If you're a clothing store, you should take pictures of all clothes in stock and show them on your site.

Visuals help sell your product and, when it comes down to a consumer making a purchasing decision, it could be the reason why he or she chooses your business over a competitor's.

4. Get inside the head of your customer.

When designing your small-business website, the most important question you can ask yourself may also be the simplest: "What information does the customer want when coming to this site?" Answering this question will help you create the foundation upon which to build your website. If you find yourself scratching your head trying to determine the answer, don't worry. The best thing you can do is ask your current customers if they've accessed your website within the past few months. If so, what information were they trying to get out of it? This will help you understand what content you need to have on your website.

5. Being mobile responsive and having quick loading times are necessities.

When it comes to the technical side of building the website, you don't need a lot. That said, you do need to ensure that the website design agency you choose builds it to be mobile responsive and load in under three seconds. Mobile web viewing is starting to surpass desktop viewing, and although the user is accessing the same content, the device is much smaller and has limited access to fast internet. That means your website has to fit their device's screen and load on it quickly or they're going to leave. A study by Adobe has shown that 39 percent of people will stop engaging with a website if images won't load or take too long to load.

Wrapping up

Designing and developing a site for your small business doesn't have to be a headache. Remember the five key tips above and you'll have a website that not only looks great but also brings in more customers!