By Yamil Amed Abud - June 26, 2017
Wouldn’t it be great to have a step-by-step guide on how to make your business successful? Luckily, this is a fundamental guide for building great websites for local businesses, which basically leads to the same thing—Success.
Colors, typography, usability, and overall layout; I’m sure there are more factors involved when designing websites for local businesses.
However, not everything about website designs is technical-related—File sizes, number of pixels, etc. When it comes to website designs, there is one particular factor that gets often, if not entirely, ignored when building websites for local businesses; that is: Human behavior.
We will discuss both, the technical and non-technical aspects of it, considering what is most important when building website designs. Here’s a fundamental guide on websites for local businesses.
What to consider when designing websites for local businesses?
Yes, the images are supposed to be great quality. And of course, we are not supposed to use red letters with an orange background, are we crazy?
Actually, there are just too many articles out there talking about the basics of building the right website designs. What colors should we use for the background? Would Papyrus be a great style for our text? How’s the layout going to be?
Nevertheless, I would like to focus on crucial aspects about usability and layout design mostly. Let’s have some fun with these facts about human behavior.
The Non-Scrolling Approach
We know that users barely wait 2 seconds for a website to load. We also know people are expecting to see the logo and menu options at certain locations on the page. Additionally, people expectancy goes even further than that.
Have you heard the term “above the fold”? It refers to adjust all relevant information about your business to the top of the page, this way users would not have to scroll down.
Here’s the deal, people not just want accessible information, but they want it quick. How greedy have we become? Waiting for information is not an option anymore, and certainly searching for it at the bottom of a page isn’t either. You can’t just ignore this when building websites for local businesses.
Then, what are we supposed to adjust above the fold? We’ll get to that at the end of this article. First, let’s talk about two crucial factors when building websites for local businesses.
Call to Actions – Tell your Audience What to Do
Great, there’re a lot of users driven to your website. Then, how come 80% of the people leave within the first 4 seconds? They are not even interacting at all, just awful bounce backs.
Well, I mentioned people want accessible information and that they don’t like waiting, right? Here’s another detail, people don’t like to figure out what to do on their own, it’s too time-consuming. Talking about greedy, uh?
You must lead your audience on your website, stating a clear purpose on the page; and particularly, include what they need to do once they reach your page.
Clients reach you by phone mostly
Then, make sure you place “Call us Now” on top of your page followed by your phone number. Also, both elements must be pretty noticeable; yes, size matters! This will tell your clients exactly what to do in order to reach you.
Clients reach you by Contact Form mostly:
Your product line is expensive, and people like to get quotes by e-mail before talking about buying. In this case, display a Contact Form on top of your page, especially on the right-hand side. People would submit a form without scrolling down or interacting in some other way.
Responsive Website Means Flexible Website: Mobiles & Tablets
Think about yourself for a moment, how many searches do you perform on your phone or tablet as compared to your computer?
If you are part of the larger segment, you would use your mobile phone more often. Clearly, your audience will be using their phone too, expecting your website to adjust to their screen size so nicely; what do you think they are going to do with your rigid, static-looking website?
Nowadays, everybody expects a website to be responsive. Actually, it feels weird landing on a page that isn’t flexible. At this point, it’s not about whether you should optimize your website for mobile devices or not; it is a must. Invest on a responsive website for local businesses.
What’s the Best Website Design for Local Businesses?
The correct answer is: The design must display your audience wants, needs, and expectations. It’s not cliché, that’s the right answer.
Then, what are we supposed to adjust above the fold? Since the answer varies from industry to industry, we’ll summarize this article’s key points in a short example.
Flooring Industry Example
Let’s assume you do floor installation and repair; 90% of the people reach you by phone, and your profit margin is greater on hardwood installation as compared to other services you offer. Based on this information, I would adjust the top of your page as follows:
Background: A high-quality picture of a hardwood type of flooring that you have installed, proving that you are great at it… hopefully.
Phone Number: Located in the middle-top of the page, at a quite noticeable font size placed next to: Call us Now!
Contact Form: Yes, you will have a contact form, but just not above the fold. Remember, 90% of your clients call you. Don’t get them distracted with something they are not looking for. Your audience wants to call you.
Just recently, based on a research, you found out that your price is fairly low as compared to your closest competitors. In this case, I would place your price-per-square-foot above the fold.
Let’s Recap What We Have
Designing a website takes into account many key factors, several of which involve what your audience wants and expects.
Your audience wants:
- To see whatever they are looking for on your page without scrolling down.
- To be told what to do on your page.
- To land on a page that automatically adjusts to their screen size.
Now, we simply adjust to their needs and expectations, similarly to the Flooring Industry example.
Do your homework, do your research; the more you know your audience, the better and easier it would be to deliver the proper design.
By doing this properly, you would be reducing the number of choices or actions available on the page. The lower the amount of actions, the better; the user sees what they want, and you get them to do what you want. Your page must be designed with limited and relevant actions preferably.
Here is a question: How many actions are available in the Google.com domain? There is just one: Type a search query.
“Design is not just what it looks like or feels like. Design is how it works.”
– Steve Jobs.