As a small business owner, you were a lot of hats. This requires you to be an expert in a lot of areas you’re probably not an expert. The good news is you don’t actually need to be an expert. You just need to know enough to have an intelligent conversation with someone who is.

Think about your accounting. It’s likely you’re not a CPA but you can have a conversation with your accountant and make an intelligent and informed decision. You can feel good about your decision knowing it was based upon good advice and accurate information.

The same it true for other areas of your business, including your website.

Below are three very good rules of thumb you can follow for website design.

1. Content is King. Content is kingYou’ve heard this before and it still true. Give visitors good content. Answer their questions using text and quality images. Be authentic and true. People can stiff out a fake a mile away….and they will never return. The search engines also like good content. It makes their customers, the searchers, happy so they return the next time they do a search. Everyone wins with good content.

Good content also needs to be organized in a way it can be easily digested. Long paragraphs are hard to read, especially on a phone. Try bullet point lists and short sentences. You’re not trying to impress anyone so don’t over due it. The shortest way to get your point access is almost always best. You can provide links to detailed information or a long video for those that want the full story. Most do not, so make it easy to read and digest your great content.

2. Focus on Profits. Notice I didn’t say revenue. There are countless stories of companies with sky high revenue that never turned a profit and are now out of business. Remember pets.com? When it comes to your website design, resist the temptation to design a site that you like or one like a competitor. Design your website for your customer. Some of the simplest sites are hugely successful. And there are a ton of fancy, pretty sites that will soon be out of business. Use your inner voice. If it is telling you to add a slider because you like it, stop. That is not the reason to add anything to your site. Will it increase revenue? Will it increase profits?

Simple and easy to use will get your visitors to buy from you versus that pretty site they have trouble figuring out how to use.

3. Fast websiteMake your Pages Fast. Google will rank you higher if your pages load fast. Why? Because it makes for a good user experience. A god user experience is also what you want, so you both win. The two items above play into a fast site. If you’re focusing on profits and only adding features and functions your visitors need, you will avoid overloading your site. If you remember content is king and keep is as short as possible, you will avoid overloading your site.

Then talk with your website developer about how to speed up what you’ve got. You’ll hear things like caching JavaScript and css. Reducing image size. If you start to hear “we have a secret, proprietary method” you’ve probably gone too far. There are a handful of best practices for increasing site speed. They are not secrets. Secrets can get you in trouble, even banned by Google.

4. Lock and KeyBonus – own your assets. If your site needs a paid plugin, or uses a paid theme, your company should make the purchase. Why? If your developer buys it, they own it. If you ever part ways, you will need to re-purchase it to get updates or support. I’ve lost count of how many clients have come to us, not owned an asset, and needed to purchase it again. They paid the previous developer once, but didn’t own it, so have now paid for it twice.

This applies to your domain name most of all. If you bought your hosting plan and they included your domain name for free, they own it. If you ever change hosting companies, you cannot take your domain name with you. You’ll start all over with a new name. This can be catastrophic for a business…and I’ve seen it happen.

Do you have questions about your website? Contact us to learn how we can help you.