16 Simple Website Design Tips That Small Business Owners Need to Know!

Published 6th January 2016 | View or add comments

Websites are now the portal to a business, a poor website and you will likely lose the business of a customer, but a well-designed site and your website’s conversion rates will skyrocket!

In this article we are going to outline the top 16 website design tips that you should implement, however small your website is. Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Keep it simple

There is nothing worse than an unnecessarily complicated website, within ten seconds a visitor should know how they can contact you and exactly what your business is about. If you can’t do this within ten seconds, the majority of visitors will likely search for a competitor.

Mobile friendly

A mobile responsive website is essential in 2016! Currently over 52% of Google searches are now being conducted from mobile devices or tablets. This number has steadily increased since 2008 and as over half of searches now come from handheld devices you must optimise for mobile or again suffer the bounce from your visitor.

Use keywords

Keywords are phrases that potential customers will type into Google to find your business. For example “plumber London”. Ensure you have these phrases on your website, including them in your title and H1 tags too. This lets Google know what your site is about and helps you rank higher in the search engines as a result.

Don’t just use images

Websites that solely use images (usually seen with photographers) don’t rank as well in the search engines. Google needs text to “crawl” and read, they cannot tell what your site is about purely from the images on your site. Ensure your website has at least 300 words of text on the homepage describing what your business does. Also ensure all your images have alt tags. 

Keep branding clear

Keep your branding and colours clear, keep to one theme throughout your site. This ensures no clashes and keeps your site easy to read and more importantly free from unnecessary clutter.

Integrate videos

Video can be a great way to explain difficult processes or concepts relatively simply. Video also helps break up the text and images on a page. Integrate one or two videos on your homepage describing what your business does and why the potential customer should choose you. These should be under three minutes long.

Meta descriptions

Meta descriptions are the snippets that appear in the Google search results under your website’s title. These should contain information to entice the user to click onto your website. Although Google has stated meta descriptions don’t affect rankings, tests show well-written descriptions under the limit of 160 characters improve the click-through rate from Google, leading to more visitors to your site!


All fonts and typography on a website should be clear and easy to read. Fonts should also be kept consistent across the site, with the same style being used on the homepage as well as all inner pages and blog posts.


You should set up automatic backups for your website. These are easy to implement through your hosting provider, or through the use of a WordPress plug-in such a backup buddy. This gives you peace of mind if your site ever goes down or gets hacked.

Clear call to actions

Utilise clear call to actions, including contact buttons, click to call options as well as add to cart/checkout options for online stores and e-commerce websites. If a user cannot easily find out how to pay or add to basket they will likely simply give up and go elsewhere.

High quality imagery

This is a given, but ensure all your images are attractive and make sense with the rest of the information on the page. Also be conscious of the size of images you’re uploading. Large images slow down the load time of a website. Tools such as image compressors or the plug-in Smushit for WordPress will help reduce the size of an image without compromising on the quality.

Social media

Social media is the marketing method for 2016 and beyond, but building your social following can come at a price. You should integrate your social media buttons and accounts into your website but not in overly prominent locations, this might led to individuals leaving your website and not coming back to complete their action or transaction.

Secure your site

Add security to your website to avoid hacking and build trust. SSL certificates are now available, this adds a level of trust to your website as well as generating the https instead of the standard http. This is beneficial for three reasons, the first is it secures users’ data, it also improves conversions as users aren’t afraid of hacking attempts on secured sites, the https is also a sign to Google that your business is “real” and hence you are rewarded with a small ranking boost.

Contact forms

Contact forms should be kept short and concise. If you don’t need the address of the individual don’t ask for it, this is the same for all other information that some people see as irrelevant and may put them off from completing a contact form.

Add Google Analytics and Google Search Console

Analytics are essential to track how long visitors stay on your website for as well as which pages they visit and if you have any issues with bounce rates or unwanted visitors (bots). Analytics also allow you to calculate conversion percentages and put a monetary value on each visitor to your site. Google Search Console is needed to ensure Google can crawl your website properly, as well as a host of other important information.

Keep your information timeless

Don’t add dates and references to a page you don’t plan on changing for a long time. If you aren’t web design savvy then don’t add any information that might be outdated in six months, or anything you can’t change easily on a day-to-day basis.

Please share or let me know what you think in the comments below.

Thanks for reading.

Steve Richardson
Gaffer of My Local Services
My Local Services | Me on LinkedIn
Steve.Richardson Bio
Happy father & business owner, fascinated by marketing, local search & making trader directories effective.
- Founder of the UK Business Directory and Forum; www.mylocalservices.co.uk
- Founder of the USA Directory; www.mylocalservices.com
- Creator of the Trusted Trader platform; www.trustedtrader.scot in partnership with Trading Standards.

Always willing to help and advise if I can, feel free to connect or get in touch.

Favourite quotes:
- The Attitude of Gratitude - Father Brian D'Arcy
Be thankful for what you have, not stressing about what you haven't.

- Production not Consumption - Daniel Priestly
Be a producer of effort, for health, wealth and family. Not sat on the sofa being a consumer.
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