To a large extent, our economy is run by small businesses. Almost every small business aims to provide solutions to specific problems while giving value to consumers at the same time. Small businesses not only provide a product or service that solves local needs but they also fulfill the needs of larger businesses too.

Despite their numerous benefits, most small businesses face a major challenge in creating and sharing their product or service messages to their target consumers. Small entrepreneurs and start-ups have a natural tendency to watch their budgets closely and usually keep their expenses at a minimum, especially when it comes to marketing budgets. However, one thing we believe every small business owner should never compromise with is the company’s web design.

Why bother with the design of a small business website?

Whether you are looking for a simple WordPress web design or creating an e-commerce business site, it is worth noting that your web design is a crucial aspect of your overall marketing strategy. Your company’s web design has a significant impact on conversion rate, search engine ranking, and awareness of your brand or products. All these factors have a direct impact on your ROI.

In today’s fast-paced lifestyles, your website serves as a first impression of your products or services. Consumers have learned to make instant decisions on whether to stay on your site or jump to your competitor’s site based on the overall design of your web page. Having a solid website is a necessity for anyone running a small business. A well-designed website attracts visitors, holds their attention, and provides higher conversions, which is actually the main goal of your business.

Current trends in web design for start-ups and small businesses   

Web design trends for small businesses change from one year to the next. While most of these trends are viral but short-lived, there are many developing trends that are setting the pace and direction of web design for both small and large businesses. Let’s take a look at some of the current trends in website design for small businesses.

Increased use of visual content and animations

It has become imperative for every small business to style its web design in a way that appeals to its target audience. Consumers, on the other hand, are finding it easier to relate with audiovisual content more than just plain text. Besides video, cinematographs, which are still images with a video overlay, have become quite captivating to the audience too. Having some form of animation in your web design will not only attract attention to your call-to-action button but entice visitors to take the expected action too.

However, make sure you don’t overdo it. If you distract your visitors from the key objective of your content, they may as well opt out of your CTA. Have a good balance of valuable content and audio-visual animations that are relevant and engaging.

Incorporating strategy in landing pages

Strategy has also emerged as a key component in today’s web design. Online retailers have revolutionised the design of their landing pages by incorporating strategy in their shopping cart design. They are now offering strategically placed upsells or bundles to maximise sales. It is, however, important to ensure that your upsells are relevant and presented in a clean and simple style. Avoid using annoying pop-ups that were quite popular in yester years. If you incorporate pop-ups in your strategy, make sure they don’t appear in a distracting manner. For instance, you could use intent-pop ups that appear when the visitor is about to leave the page.

Persuasive videos are also quite useful in reinforcing the key features and benefits that your product or service provides. The video is an excellent addition to your show-and-tell strategy. Not everyone who visits your landing page will sign up to your mailing list but you can still convert them again using a value based exit overlay, which could be a video or a freebie with no strings attached. Today’s marketers are increasingly turning to one-stop-shop landing pages as an effective conversion strategy.

Remember social proof is still an important factor when making a buying decision. Have a few customer reviews strategically incorporated on your site. The reviews or testimonials not only provide a nice break and layout of your site but also help to reinforce the buyer’s decision.

Responsive websites are the norm

Many people use the Internet on mobile devices. Mobile allows them to get any information they are seeking for on the go wherever and whenever they want to. It has, therefore, become vital to build responsive websites that can be displayed perfectly on different screen sizes and platforms. Mobile landing page optimisation has become a critical component of your web design. The page should be designed in a way that guides the user smoothly towards a buying or service oriented goal.

Long scrolling and parallax websites

With increased use of responsive website designs, users have been conditioned to check the content that lies “below the fold” by scrolling on their mobile devices. The parallax scrolling effect provides an enjoyable browsing experience. It creates a magical feel when scrolling for more information. However, if not implemented in the right way, parallax scrolling will not work perfectly in all browsers.

Users love to scroll on their tablets and smartphones when reading emails or surfing the web. They have become accustomed to it. The scrolling trend has even changed the way small businesses are designing their websites. In the past, we used to encourage businesses to put all their important information “above the fold” and avoid creating long pages but since scrolling has become more acceptable than before many businesses have realised the benefits of creating a one-page layout. A parallax styled scrolling design has become quite popular today. It is a design that provides visual effect where the foreground of the page moves faster than the background while you scroll giving you a 3D feel. It is also helpful in emphasising certain aspects and areas of your site.

Card design layouts

Another popular trend in the way small businesses are creating their sites is the use of card layouts. It seems like Pinterest has proven that cards provide a convenient and user-friendly style of presenting content to consumers. A card layout helps to separate chunks of content to give users an easier reading experience. The cards are resizable and display perfectly on both desktop and mobile platforms. Users also find it easier to digest information when it is organised in blocks of content.

The rise of minimalist websites

Minimalism has become a popular web design trend over the last couple of years. Minimalist websites are characterised by great user experience and often feature white spaces to give the site a clean, well-organised, and uncluttered look. The designer relies heavily on images to relay a strong message about the product or service.

It is also important to keep online forms simple and straight to the point. Avoid asking many unnecessary questions since the more you require of your visitors, the less likely they will complete the purchasing journey.

Less intrusive Live Chat

Small businesses continue to use Live Chat as an excellent way of engaging users or clients. However, unlike we did before, the Live Chat feature has become less intrusive and simply minimised at the bottom right corner of the page. This is mainly because today’s consumers hate seeing a massive chat popping up while they are in the middle of learning more about your product or service. When you block important information with distracting pop-ups, you are interfering with an important step that could have resulted in a conversion. Use Live Chat technology in your website but keep it clean, simple, and as unobtrusive as possible.

A website that tells a story

Everyone loves a good story but what makes a story great? A great story is one that is truly genuine and resonates well with the audience in one way or another. Websites that tell a great story through visuals, good language, and a perfect feel can grab the users’ attention and even build trust in the process. Many small businesses are accomplishing this story-telling strategy on their websites by presenting their services or products in a way that makes the user identify with the company. For example, a small bakery with a web design that gives users the feel of a small-town boutique candy store will always attract more loyal customers who identify with its story.

Conclusion

Almost every current trend in website design points to one thing – increased user interaction. There is always a feature that promotes interaction in every small business website you visit. This could be a pop-up, slides providing free content or gifts, newsletter signups, or any other way of generating leads and staying in touch with the consumers. With every business today having a social media page, social shares and likes have also become an integral part of web design. Trends will keep on changing but the goal of every web design strategy will always remain to provide value to customers as you guide them towards a purchasing decision.