The internet age resulted in a paradigm shift that basically forced most businesses to become digital-first. As such, it is still surprising to know that half of SMEs still don’t have their own business websites.
It is quite understandable; putting up a website can be financially and technically-daunting, especially for small businesses whose budget allocations are focused on investments designed to keep them afloat. But we are in a different era now, a time when an online presence is no longer a luxury, but a necessity, when websites can be easily created without bleeding company resources dry. Here’s why every business should have their own website:
It is Expected by Online Consumers
Technology has not only changed the world of business but the expectations of consumers as well. Today, a buyer’s journey frequently begins online, as this is the most convenient way of finding information. So if your business doesn’t have an online presence, you’re missing out on a lot of potential business.
It Builds Brand Credibility
Based on a study, 84% of consumers today think that having a website makes a business more credible compared to those who only have active social media accounts. These days, a website is like your business’s resume – it tells your market who you are, what you stand for, and what you can do as a brand.
It Makes your Business Accessible Anytime
This is especially helpful if you are a B2C company such as retail because an e-commerce website gives your customers the ability to buy your products round-the-clock. It is a great way to reach consumers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week without your sales team losing sleep. With an online store, your brand and offer are available to your audience at any given time.
It Levels the Playing Field
A website is a necessity in a platform as competitive as the internet. Offline, small businesses competing against big companies may seem like such a Herculean task, but online it’s a different story. Any business, regardless of size, can have its own website which means even SMEs have the chance to up their game and compete with the Goliath of the industry, especially if you have a clear understanding of your market and a sound strategy for reaching out to them.
It Expands your Local Reach
Research has revealed that 97% of consumers go online to find and research local businesses. Just imagine – without a website, you are losing 97% of potential local market share to your competitors. This also rings true for brick-and-mortar businesses since 88% of consumers who perform a local search on their mobile visit or contact the business within a day.
The Role of Good Web Design in SEO
Apart from having a website, another thing you can do to get ahead of the competition is to invest in Search Engine Optimization. SEO gives your website the ability to rank on the first page of search engines like Google, which, nowadays, people immediately associate to brand credibility and authority. A website that is designed for both form and function is key to a good SEO strategy. It is not just about being aesthetically-pleasing, it has to be designed for optimum user experience as well. Here’s the 5 reason why:
1). Mobile-responsiveness is a ranking signal
It was five years ago when what is called a “Mobilegeddon” occurred and shook the online world. This is when Google decided to update its algorithm by making mobile-friendly websites a priority in SERP over desktop-focused ones. The change was implemented due to search behavior. The number of people using mobile devices for online searches has been steadily increasing. Additionally, overall internet consumption is being done more and more on mobile, making sites with a mobile-first focus essential.
2.) A responsive website has better load speeds
The desktop version of your site, when visited through a mobile device, is more likely to load slower than responsive websites due to huge files retaining its size. With a mobile-responsive website, you are basically designing your site in a way that it adapts to the device it is viewed in. This means that everything making up your website should be designed for optimum size or speed, without sacrificing quality. It is also important to note that slow loading speeds lead to poor user experience and high bounce rates – which affects your site’s rankings.
3.) Having a responsive website can keep the bounce rate low
Speaking of bounce rates, one of the main reasons users leave a site is they find it difficult to use and navigate when they are on a smaller screen. Short dwell time will be taken by Google as a signal that your content is not relevant to the searcher’s needs, which can then result in a drop in rankings. If your website is designed for optimum use, regardless of the type of device a user has, uses are more likely to explore it.
4.) Mobile-responsive sites make for better user experience
It is a known fact that humans are visual beings, in fact, we respond to and process visual data 60,000 times faster than text. Having a mobile responsive website means that every content element, whether image or text, is designed for optimum visual impact. Fonts are readable, images viewable, CTAs easily clickable, and everything is placed in a visually-appealing, purpose-driven way, regardless of user screen size.
5.) Being mobile-responsive makes you easily shareable
Social media is one of the most visited platforms on mobile. If your website is mobile-responsive and a user happens to chance upon a product or content you have that piques their interest, there’s a possibility for it to be shared on social media – whether in the form of an actual post, a review, or a recommendation to a friend through direct messages. Social shares won’t directly impact your site rankings, but it is a cost-effective way to widen your audience reach and increase your site traffic and engagement – something search engines will eventually take into account.
Important Mobile Search Statistics You Should Know
Still, wondering if redesigning your website for mobile-responsiveness is a smart investment? Then let the data convince you:
52.2% of worldwide online traffic came from mobile devices.
The share of mobile traffic has increased by 222% in the last 7 years.
Organic search visits done on mobile is 58% in the last quarter of 2019, which means it is the preferred device of the majority for performing online searches.
There are 5+ million applications in mobile app stores.
How to Design a Business Website for SEO
How you design your site affects its SEO performance, so if you are an entrepreneur planning to finally put up a website or a business owner who is looking to improve your online presence, here are a few things to relay to your chosen web design agency that can help boost your SEO:
#1.) Make Site Navigation Search Engine-Friendly
Flash is famous for not being SEO-friendly since search engines typically find it much more difficult to crawl. HTML is a better option given that it uses codes to generate content making it easier for browsers to render it and behave in accordance with specific browsers and devices. This means that it is platform-independent, so the content will appear the same on desktop and mobile.
#2.) Don’t place Scripts inside HTML Documents
#3.) Optimize your Images
This is probably one of the most neglected SEO strategies in web design. Optimizing images with a meta tag called “Alt text or Alt attribute” enables search engines to read it. A common best practice for implementing alt attributes on images is not just describing the image itself, but also placing relevant keywords to it. This can help in ranking it for image-based searches done on Google.
#4.) Include Footer Links on Every Page
Your website’s footer is the perfect place to put site-wide links. These are links that are present on every page of your site. Back then, site-wide links were often associated with external links for backlinking purposes, but Google’s Penguin 2.0 algorithm was released and it penalized sites for unnatural link building. Today, footer site-wide links are commonly used for quick links within your site – pages you want a user to visit like your contact form and contact details.
#5.) Design a Mobile-Responsive Site
As mentioned earlier, mobile-responsiveness allows your site to be easily navigable and visually-appealing regardless of user device type. This means that no matter the screen size, you can be sure that your website is at its optimum layout for the best user experience. Don’t forget, Google’s algorithm also prioritizes mobile-responsive sites on rankings over desktop-only sites.
#6.) Publish Unique Content
Content is still king in the digital world, in fact, almost every algorithm Google has released puts a certain emphasis on the importance of content. This requires businesses to exert effort into updating their site’s content to make sure it is relevant to your target market’s ever-changing needs and search behavior. “Web Design Trends for 2020” is more likely to be clicked than “Web Design Trends 2018”, don’t you think?
#7.) Design for Optimum Speed
A page that takes too long to load is not only bad in the eyes of search engines, but your target audience as well. There are various factors that can affect site speed such as file types and sizes, plugins, and poor coding standards. Once your business website is up, run it through Google’s Pagespeed Insights,, so you can get a fair idea on how you can improve your site’s loading speed.
#8.) Focus on User Experience
At the end of the day, the foundation of every search engine algorithm is really user experience. Yes, Google updates don’t directly tell you what they consider as ranking factors, but to get on the same page, just focus on giving the best user experience to your visitors. Every element of your website, from content and web design, to navigation and speed, should answer this very simple question – “How will this make my user’s life easier?”
Designing a business website is a task not for the light-hearted. You should give it as much time and effort as you do in any other aspect of your business given that it is the most sought out touchpoint of almost every online consumer. Choosing the right web design agency comes down to knowing exactly who you are as a brand and how you want your website to represent you. A great website can do wonders for your business and if you do it right, then you can expect ROI that is better than any other marketing campaign you’ve done before. Just always remember to optimize for both search engines and your market.
Image Credit: Pixabay Creative Commons Images