Whether a small business is selling consulting services, software, or handcrafted furniture, in 2019, it’s clear that having a website isn’t optional.
Consumers appreciate the convenience of browsing products and services online, and web designers are tasked with making small business owners’ e-commerce dreams a reality.
Despite the increasingly vital role of e-commerce in retail, many businesses still struggle to manage and maintain their websites.
Simultaneously, as users rely on tech giants like Amazon and Facebook, their expectations for web design and convenient modern features are changing fast. Businesses that don’t keep up risk being left behind.
Small businesses that understand their top concerns and priorities and build sites that match trends in how customers behave online can use their websites to generate business.
Review these top trends in small business website development and management in 2019 to inform how your small business can create a successful web presence.
1. Businesses Want Visual Content
Think of the last time you booked a hotel room. Would you feel comfortable committing to a home away from home, sight unseen? It’s a gamble that could result in a great vacation or one that’s nightmarish.
Online, the old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words holds true. Today, customers want websites to display every detail before they commit to purchasing. In addition to being aesthetically appealing, visual content serves an important business function.
People who read website content are only likely to remember 10% of what they read after three days. When written content is paired with images, retention soars to 65% of the information.
Whether your business sells photogenic products or intangible services, there are plenty of different types of visual content to choose from.
For example, Zappos uses short videos to demonstrate a 360-degree look at products like shoes, while Squarespace provides sample websites users can click through and explore.
Other small businesses might benefit from visual content such as:
- Explainer videos
- Charts that detail product features
- High-resolution photographs of products and services
Small business should work with web designers during the discovery process to determine how to integrate visual content that aligns with their brand and matches audience expectations.
2. Businesses Spend Less Than $10,000 To Build Websites
Website builder platforms like Squarespace, Shopify, Big Commerce, and Wix make it easier than ever for small businesses to create their own websites in-house.
These platforms are incredibly valuable for small businesses without in-house web expertise and want a site that is easy to manage and maintain.
This do-it-yourself mentality is changing the way business owners budget for website design and development. According to a recent survey from Visual Objects, two-thirds of small businesses spent less than $10,000 to launch a new website in 2019.
Without a dedicated web development partner, small businesses should focus on delivering simple, lightly customized builds on familiar, user-centric platforms. For example, small business owners might be able to drag-and-drop a product photo, but they are less likely to have the technical knowledge necessary to build a user-friendly backend or make the custom design tweaks that make a website feel truly personalized.
For small businesses that partner with a web designer, it’s important to include training as part of the partnership to make sure that you can update and maintain websites.
Web designers and developers can build long-term relationships with clients by providing FAQs, personalized website update demonstration videos, and packages that provide staff education rather than direct website management and maintenance.
3. Businesses Want Websites That Drive Conversions
Above all, small business owners want websites that drive real results. Revenue and engagement are two core metrics strategic web design should prioritize and support.
To optimize your website for conversions, it’s important to adapt to changing trends in user behavior. In 2019, online shopping (including research for a future purchase) is no longer a singular event. Instead, customers peruse small businesses’ websites during spare moments throughout the day.
Your business’ website both needs to appear beautiful on mobile devices and tablets and be highly intuitive and functional, especially if you rely on e-commerce as a core sales channel. E-commerce transactions increasingly occur outside of desktop websites. In response to this, your small business needs to ensure your site is responsive to mobile browsers.
Statistics suggest that most small businesses have room for improvement when it comes to mobility.
Consider these eye-opening statistics from Google Ads data about conversion rates across all industries:
- Mobile traffic now accounts for more than half of all website traffic
- Yet, the average conversion rate on mobile 3.48% on the search network
- Conversation rates on the display Google Ad display network are less than 1%
Such a success gap indicates opportunity for improvement for small businesses on mobile. It’s critical for your business to consistently review your success rate and work with design professionals to diagnose and resolve problems that can limit conversion rates.
With knowledge about what is going wrong, you are able to better recognize how you can make your efforts go right.
Additionally, small business owners need to reflect on conversions that go beyond sales, such as attracting high-quality inbound marketing leads, allowing customers to successfully book appointments, encouraging email newsletter subscriptions, or sharing content on social media.
For example, changing the location of an email newsletter field could cause subscriber lists to grow by leaps and bounds. Similarly, an e-commerce product-recommendation feature that makes smart recommendations based on user behavior and demographics could help sales climb.
By aligning on core conversion goals early on, web designers can create solutions that drive real results for small business clients.
In 2019, small business owners want clean, beautifully designed websites that feature rich visual content.
Small business desire affordable websites they can maintain and manage themselves, and they should continue to advise small business owners on how a strong website can advance their conversion goals.
By providing expertise and guidance, web design firms can help small businesses thrive and earn customer loyalty and retention.