Hey, Claudia here! I was delighted to be invited along to the Lanarkshire Business Hub in November to present to the members about all things small business. The hub is a monthly networking event that runs across all campuses of New College Lanarkshire.
I also shared some top tips that they could take away as a “mini audit” for their own, or future, website.
Web Design Tip One: Know your logins – especially for your domain name!
Your domain name is the “address” of your website. For example, ours is supersimplewebsites.co.uk. When you invest in a website, your domain name can very quickly become a very valuable asset to your business. It’s important to remember exactly that – your domain is an asset of your business.
If you’re building your own website, make sure you know where you have registered your domain name, and how to renew it each year. If you’re having a website built by someone else or an agency, make sure you know how to access your domain name, or that you understand how to request changes to the settings on your domain (known as DNS records) or how to move it elsewhere. Again, your domain is your asset – no one can tell you what you can and cant do with it!
Web Design Tip Two: Don’t make your logo bigger, make your branding stronger
A common request from clients is for the logo on their website to be “made bigger”. We will always happily meet all client requests – it’s your website after all! However, this is typically something we give a bit of guidance on before completing.
The most valuable space on your website is what we refer to as “above the fold”. This is everything a user can see as soon as they land on the website, without having to scroll or swipe down. This is the space where you can instantly communicate your product or service offering to users, and your best opportunity to capture their interest.
When we ask clients why they want the logo bigger and more prominent in that area, we typically find it’s so that their “customers know whose website they’re on straight away!”
However, a customer who already knows about you and has ventured to your website doesn’t need to be reassured whose website they’re on – they’ve already navigated to it! For new potential customers who have landed on your website for the first time, your logo is unlikely to hold any significant meaning to them (yet!), so there’s little purpose in filling up the most valuable space on your site with this.
As a result, this space “above the fold” is far better used to promote what you do, sell or how you can provide value to the user. At the hub, we checked out the websites of some major brands such B&Q, ASOS and Pets at Home. They all featured two very common trends:
- The logo features in the upper left corner, taking up minimal space, alongside some clear and easy to use navigation.
- The majority of the space “above the fold” is used to promote products or services, and features multiple call to actions for the user to find out more. Brand colours and fonts remain consistent throughout
When a client of Super Simple Websites asks for a larger logo, we first focus on making their branding stronger instead. We do this by ensuring fonts, colours and aesthetics are consistent both with the logo and throughout the rest of the site, so the brand is visible throughout the entire site – not just recognised from the logo.
Ultimately, your customers should be able to recognise your website, even if no logo was showing.
Web Design Tip Three: Check that your website is actually mobile friendly
So you’re confident your website loads on a mobile – but is it actually mobile-friendly?
When was the last time you accessed your website from your own phone, and pretended to be a user?
You would be surprised the number of non-friendly elements you may find! Links may be broken, or be too close together to easily use on a phone. Maybe the text appears too small on mobile to be easy to read. Alternatively, headlines can become oversized and create unnecessary scrolling, or worse, crowd out valuable information.
Not only are these features frustrating to users and your potential customer, but they are also picked up by Google, and can have a detrimental impact on your site in search engine results.
Web Design Tip Four: Start using Google Search Console
Search console is a super valuable tool that can give you great insights into both your website, and your customer’s behavior.
Touching on Tip #3, Search Console can continuously audit your site to ensure it is mobile-friendly. If it finds anything that’s negatively impacting your site, such as small text, broken links or difficult-to-use buttons, it will let you know.
You also get great insights into the keywords you’re appearing for in search results. This is particularly valuable for businesses where the language your customers use to find your products or services is unknown. You can also use this to monitor the phrases you’re appearing on page one for, phrases that are increasing in search frequency, and what phrases get the best click-through rate.
Web Design Tip Five: Have a good NAP
No, we don’t mean a quick sleep after working your way through this list! NAP stands for information that appears across the internet about your business: its Name, Address and Phone number.
Good NAP means ensuring this information appears in a consistent format across all locations. This doesn’t just mean that the information is correct, it must also be consistent.
N – Name: How does your name appear throughout your website, and on any directory listings? For example, If you’re a limited company, do you display your name as “My Business Limited”, “My Business LTD” or just “My Business”? There is no right or wrong, as long as you’re consistent across all pages of your website, your social media and any other platforms.
A – Address: Similar to your name, how does your address appear? Do you display the first line as 123 Business St, or 123 Business Street? For your town or city, are you using “Glasgow”, “City of Glasgow” or “Glasgow City”?
P – Phone Number: Have you ever had someone read your number back to you in a different pattern to what you’re used to? Seems strange, right? Equally, it can also cause confusion for your customers or search engines! Do you use “+44” or “0” at the start of your number? Is the format the same throughout your website?
We’re sure you’re probably wondering why this really matters. Well, having good NAP practice creates two benefits:
Firstly, it looks a lot more professional and cleaner to your customers or clients as they explore your brand. Secondly, these details appearing in a consistent manner across multiple locations provides a signal that you are a genuine, reliable, and authoritative business to search engines such as Google – making them more likely to present information about your business in search results.
Critically, have you changed your business address or number over the years? Set aside some time to search for your old details – you would be surprised how many directories may still be storing your old information! Make a list of any time this appears and get it corrected – your customers, and search engines, will thank you!