5 web design tips for startups & small business

As a startup or small business, you’re often competing with established businesses that have larger budgets and larger teams, which can make it challenging for you to win customers.

At Azuro Digital, we provide startup web design services and small business web design services to help startups and small businesses grow and compete with the big fish.

As a startup or small business, you can actually use your small size to your advantage. You’re leaner and more flexible with less bureaucracy, which brings us to our first tip:

1. Be innovative and stand out from the crowd

When you’re competing against larger and established brands, it’s vital to stand out from the crowd and give customers a reason to choose you.

The best way to do this is to offer a product or service that is fundamentally different or unique in some way, but once you’ve done that, the next thing to do is to create a brand (and a website) that sets you apart.

So, when you’re building your website, don’t just copy what your competitors are doing. Design and develop a website that is completely unique and memorable. You’re more likely to catch the audience’s attention that way, and it’ll be easier to convince people to become customers when you don’t blend in.

2. Prioritize SEO and the conversion rate

As a startup or small business, your website can’t simply “look good” or “be impressive”. In order to grow, you need to use strategies that will drive more business through your website. This comes in 2 forms: driving traffic to your website (through SEO, paid ads, etc), and maximizing the percentage of website visitors that take action (also known as the conversion rate). The desired “action” might be to submit a contact form, purchase a product, sign up for an event, etc.

At Azuro Digital, our #1 priority is to optimize the bottom-line results of our clients’ websites. To that end, we’ve written an article that outlines the top 10 ways to get more results from your website.

3. Do ongoing A/B testing

Using the best practices for SEO and the conversion rate is a great start, but in order to truly maximize the results of your website, it’s important to do some ongoing A/B testing.

A/B testing (also known as split testing) is when you create 2 different versions of the same page and test them to see what performs best. To make this work, it’s essential to connect your website with all of the required analytics platforms like Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, Google Data Studio, Google Search Console, etc.

To test the conversion rate, we recommend running Google Ads so that the 2 versions are tested at the exact same time to the exact same type of audience to avoid having the data skewed by the time of year, type of audience, etc.

When split testing for SEO, you unfortunately don’t have the luxury of testing with any sort of ads. You’ll need to make changes to the page and let that new version run for 1-3 months, track the results in Google Search Console, and then continue to make adjustments from there (testing 1 version at a time).

When you’re split testing for the conversion rate or SEO, it’s best to test very small changes each time so that you’re isolating for 1 variable. At first, it’s okay to test radically different concepts with many variables, but from there it’s best to test 1 change at a time so that you know what’s impacting the difference in results. For example, you might just change the primary headline, the color of a button, the location of the testimonials, etc.

Keep in mind that doing ongoing A/B testing for the conversion rate only makes sense if you’re getting a substantial amount of traffic to your site. When running Google Ads for the test, each version should receive at least 1,000 unique visitors for the data to be sufficient.

And if that page doesn’t regularly receive at least 1,000 unique visitors per month (outside of testing), then A/B testing for the conversion rate likely isn’t worth pursuing at this stage. This is because the marginal improvements to your conversion rate won’t impact your ROI enough (due to low traffic). This is the case for many startups and small businesses.

In this case, once you’ve implemented all of the standard best practices for the conversion rate, you should focus on driving more traffic to your site through SEO, paid ads, social media, email marketing, etc (instead of doing ongoing A/B testing for the conversion rate).

On the other hand, A/B testing for SEO purposes is always worth doing from the start.

4. Focus on digital marketing and advertising as well

Our agency specializes in web design, development and SEO, but we also recommend that startups and small businesses consider investing in other marketing strategies such as paid advertising, email marketing, social media marketing, and more.

As a startup or small business, you might not know which marketing channels work best for your business until you try a bunch. We recommend trying a bunch of different channels, and then double down on the ones that perform the best.

It’s also smarter to not put all of your eggs into one basket and to take an omnichannel approach - this is safer and more rewarding in the long run.

5. Don’t break the bank

This should go without saying, but too many startups and small businesses overinvest in their initial website design/development. Be sure to account for many ongoing changes to your site to maximize the conversion rate, and leave enough extra space in your budget to invest in driving traffic to your site (through the channels mentioned above). Without traffic, your website is useless!