In today’s business environment, regardless of the industry your business is in, having a website can have a massive impact on its success. A major advantage of having a website is that it can be accessed by anyone, anytime, and anywhere.
Sadly, some businesses still don’t realise that the majority of customers will visit a website before making a purchase. They do so even during non-business hours, availing of services or getting the information they need, which are key elements of having a business website.
It would be hard to imagine a world without Google, today. Seeking information would have only been resolved by utilising the skills of researchers or librarians. Today’s search queries can now be answered in moments with a simple Google search. Therefore, if you or your business can’t be found on Google, it’s almost like you don’t exist.
We’re not saying there are no other effective and successful ways to market your business. But at some point, you’ll realise that most prospects go to Google, and if you can’t be found, this breaks your chances of getting their business.
As a local Australian business, Accentuate Web Design and Marketing puts a strong focus on helping our customers develop a quality website through a branding-based approach to web design and development. Our talented team aims to offer done-for-you online sales and marketing, ultimately helping them achieve their business goals.
We provide web development and responsive web design solutions to provide real-world outcomes for your business. We do this by integrating not only functionality ahead of your competition but incorporating streamlined design aesthetics that offer a lot of web design and web development flexibility, all based on Google’s best practices.
The Importance of Web Development for Small Business
Let’s define some terms. Web design and development involves the creation of websites and applications that are visually appealing, easy to use, and accessible to a wide range of devices.
Web design focuses on the visual aspect of a website, including everything from its layout, graphics, colours, images, and the site’s typography. Web development makes your site work, which includes programming scripts, database management, server configuration, and more.
Accentuate’s web developers and user interface designers understand the importance of creating an intuitive user interface that is responsive across a variety of devices, such as desktop and laptop computers, tablets, and smartphones, and for good reason, as over 80% of devices viewing a website are now on mobile and mobile devices!
A website generates a company’s first impression. But if your website doesn’t even show up in searches, a user’s impression is that you’ve probably gone out of business, or that you don’t have a functional website. This leaves an impression you’re not a professional company that can be trusted with hiring or buying from.
Let’s say you do have a website, but it’s outdated, ugly, slow, and clunky, you’ll also appear unprofessional to your prospects. There will be folks who can be forgiving and give you the benefit of the doubt, but it’s a huge trust indicator, especially during the early relationship-building phase of sales.
There’s also a good chance that they’re searching using their mobile devices, if your site doesn’t look good, optimised and function well there too, you’ll leave the same bad impression on the user.
The best impression you can give prospects is a well-designed and functional website that shows up high in search results for terms they’re using to find out about you and what you offer. Prospects who search on Google expect to find services or products they need from websites that answer their questions immediately and at their convenience.
Poor website design and development can lead to challenges including low engagement, low conversion rates, a negative user experience, and more. These can be caused by a website that’s particularly difficult to use, navigate, and understand.
A poorly designed website also hinders a business’s ability to reach its target audience, affecting a business’ overall success, which limits its ability to grow both in reputation and size. This is a prime reason why small businesses need to invest in competent web design and development for their business.
Web design and web development are two branches of expertise. One deals with how your website looks, and the other deals with how well it functions. Both are intrinsically linked for a website to perform well and generate traffic. Both web design and web development should also aim to ensure that your business’ website operates consistently across all platforms.
Principles of Having a Responsive Website
A responsive website is a web development approach that creates dynamic changes to the appearance of a website, depending on the screen size, and its orientation, regardless of the device it uses to display the website’s content. The approach is a design solution that forgoes designing for multiple devices.
Rather than designing and creating separate sites with their corresponding codebase for differently sized viewports, the same HTML is served to all devices by intelligent use of CSS to change the appearance of the page.
In a responsive website, elements on a page reshuffle depending on the screen size or its orientation. It relies on proportion-based grids to rearrange a website’s content and design elements to still appear good and legible regardless of which screen size or device you are using.
Using this approach in web development makes developing websites faster as compared to developing separate, distinct sites to fit the display port. This also makes maintenance easier over time, compared to updating multiple versions of a site.
Apart from being ‘future-proof’ from screen sizes that may pop out in the market, a responsive website doesn’t tie its design to only one particular device. Because a responsive design relies on shuffling page elements, design, and development have to work in sync to ensure a usable experience across all devices.
To give you a visual of how a responsive website works, think of your page content and elements like water. When water is placed in any container, it adjusts itself to fit in the available space the container provides.
In this regard, your content dynamically adjusts and rearranges itself to fit the browser window. On mobile devices (smartphones or tablets), a responsive website checks for the available space and then presents itself in an ideal arrangement.
3 Major Principles of a Responsive Website Design
These are a bit on the technical side, but we list them here to give you an idea of why they are important. Other principles may come into play for certain designs, but three main principles bind all responsive sites.
- Fluid Grid Systems – in olden times, content was displayed in absolute measures, following how content was published in print. In responsive design, this does not work since devices vary in size. It is therefore logical to implement using relative sizes in responsive design.
- Fluid Image Use – using fluid grids to define your layout means your layout won’t have constant sizes across all devices. This only means that images you use in your layout will also need to automatically resize based on a screen’s real estate. Much like water, the use of fluid images takes on the size of the container. Using a fluid image means you can use a single image and instruct the browser to scale the image based on the size of the screen.
- Media Queries – these are instructions that alter a site’s layout based on certain conditions. A media query instructs your browser to rearrange the screen’s real estate if it is smaller than a particular size called a ‘breakpoint.’ This works best for a ‘mobile first’ approach and then scales up from there.
At Accentuate Web Design and Marketing, a responsive web design is our default approach. It is crucial for an accessible and search engine optimised experience, that enhances your website’s accessibility and ease of use.
Why You Need a Professional Website For Your Business
If your business has gotten far and has been operating without a website, it would be logical to ask: do I need a professionally designed website for my business? The point is, my business is already successful without one.
The response is valid. However, do consider that a website offers a wide variety of benefits for any small business, and most of these benefits will only increase exponentially over time, as the internet continues to evolve itself.
We at Accentuate have helped countless companies of all sizes create their online presence. If you are still on the fence, the good news is there’s always a solution that will work for you. Still not convinced? Consider the reasons detailed below why you need a professional website for your business:
1. Enhances Your Credibility
Chances are high that there are other businesses out there offering similar products and/or services such as yours. Having a website that can clearly communicate quality information about your business and its offerings increases your credibility.
As we said above, if you are virtually unsearchable on Google, you don’t exist. Without a website, it may cause people to question your legitimacy as a business. A website is your welcome mat to help you make that great first impression and put people at ease that you are a legitimate and existing business.
2. Showcase Your Brand
A website helps you in showcasing your brand to prospective customers. A website helps in clearly establishing who you are, what you represent, and what you stand for. This can dramatically increase your chances of having customers buy from you or engage your services.
If you don’t have a website, people won’t have an outlet for a reliable source of information about your business.
3. Generate Leads
Any business needs to be able to maximise its growth and revenue. The process also enhances a business’s visibility, credibility, trust, and interest from a specific group of people.
Once you attract or people find you online, it’s natural they would need to know more about your product or service. With the information you present on your website, they’ll know how to get in touch with you, giving you the perfect opportunity to increase your sales.
4. Generate Organic Traffic
Once you are online with an SEO-optimised website, chances are you’ll start to show up higher on Google search results. This gives you an advantage over your competitors in increasing your customer base, and it’s a perfect time to start on an SEO Campaign to continue the upward ranking trend.
5. Saves Time and Improves Customer Service
Usually, businesses receive calls from prospects or existing customers asking simple questions such as your operating hours or location. A missed call leaves that particular customer unhappy.
Having a website reduces these calls and at the same time helps your prospects and customers get the information they need without placing a call. This ultimately provides a better all-around customer experience.
6. Provide Announcements and Updates
Posting updates and announcements on your website for your customers is fast and cost-effective since your website is on 24/7. This works great for you, especially if what you’re announcing is of relevant use to them, increasing your chances of being able to upsell to them.
7. Digital Marketing
With a website, you more than likely want to drive traffic to it or your landing pages. This would be helpful if you plan on leveraging digital marketing to increase your leads and grow your business.
The question you should be asking isn’t ‘Do I need a website for my business?’, but ‘How far can my business grow without one?’ The answer to the latter question is often, not far. Staying afloat in the digital era is difficult without a business website. Your competitors are online, and if you’re not there, it will eventually leave you in the lurch.
Websites are essential for small and big businesses alike today. We strongly recommend having our hand-picked and certified web development team work with you in developing a responsive web design backed by our years of experience and expertise.
You can rely on our agency designers, developers, and optimisation specialists to develop lead-generating solutions that make your business more profitable.
Besides building websites, our Web Designers in the Gold Coast can also help with logos, branding, and social media. We can even host your site if you so choose. Getting industry-leading strategies is as easy as contacting us, today!