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These days, your website delivers the first impression for your business. Studies show it only takes milliseconds for a person to make a judgment, and you want a positive assessment from your potential customers.

Your small business might not have the resources a large corporation has for web designers or advanced HTML coding. But that doesn’t mean you can’t build a website that will be memorable — in a good way.

We’ve gathered expert advice on website design. Follow these tips to optimize your small business WordPress website. 

Read on to learn the importance of: 

  • Website functionality 
  • Creating an extension of your brand 
  • Using original imagery 
  • Choosing the right plugins for your needs

Make Sure Your Website Works

The ultimate goal of your small business WordPress website is to make a sale. To do that, it needs to operate well above all else. 

MichelleTresemer, Founder of TGroup Marketing Method, says creating a website that works properly is an essential first step. 

“As unsexy as it might sound, the way to stand out is in performance and functionality. You could have the most creative website in the world, but if it doesn’t function well, then you’re out of luck. Start with a fast, functional website. Keep it simple with minimal bells and whistles.” 

User-friendly wins over fancy design. 

Your Website is Your Brand 

Consider your industry when you’re crafting your website. Think of it as the equivalent of creating the ambiance for a physical store. Bath & Body Works has a different atmosphere than the Apple Store. 

CEO Lisa Chu utilized her brand and industry when creating her website for her children’s clothing company, Black N Bianco

“Being in the fashion industry, vivid, modern, and clean designs are the norm. So we apply those same standards to our website design. To make our website stand out, we selected our own unique colors, patterns, and images that resonate with our brand.”

Moreover, your website can give people a sense of your business. If it’s unorganized and hard to use, people will make the same assumptions about your company. 

Dylan Gallagher, Founder of White Wolf Private Tours, wants his website to feel like taking a tour with his company does. 

“If we cannot create a strong website, how can we perform a high-quality tour? Although technically unrelated, our customers may think this when they log on. We have spent thousands of hours refining so they feel welcome, the same way they would on our Yosemite tour.” 

Don’t Lean on Stock Photos

Stock photos can show inexperience. If your small business WordPress website features two nondescript people shaking hands, it can feel generic. 

In 2011, Marketing Experiments found that people were 35% more likely to click on an advertisement with a real client than a stock photo. 

To make your website look more professional, CEO of Book Learn Pass, Amara Ukaigwe advises against stock imagery. 

“If you have the budget, invest in an illustrator or custom photography, as this will give your website a unique look and feel, which over time will become your brand. Stock photos can make a website look templated, and this can give visitors the wrong impression.”

It will be worth the investment for a visually appealing, more personal website.

A few more tips:

  • Enlist the help of people who actually work for you to act as models in brand photos. 
  • Take professional photos of your products. 
  • Choose a WordPress theme that favors photographs. 

Use Plugins For Vital Functions  

Plugins can be lifesavers for your small business WordPress website. Learn how to use plugins and choose the best plugins for your website. 

Plugins can improve critical areas of your website, including:

While website security tends to fall low on the list of priorities for business owners, it’s a critical factor for customers. 

Designer, developer, and digital Marketer at Mazepress, David Alexander shares: 

“Depending on who you are hosting with, I would also urge all WordPress website owners to take their security seriously. The Wordfence plugin is a good option as this adds a firewall and warns you when you need to take action regarding your website maintenance.” 

Plus, having a secure website can help you rank better in relevant searches. 

In terms of SEO, Yoast is a popular plugin that provides guidance, says Tory Gray, CEO and Digital Market Strategist at The Gray Dot Company

“[Yoast is] like your own personal SEO coach that is there to help you follow SEO best practices. You can edit meta descriptions, write keyword-rich copy, add schema markup, and more to capture those elusive clicks to your website.”

No matter your budget or level of expertise, you can make your website look professional. 

Expert advice on website design says you should focus on functionality, think about branding, add original photography, and use plugins to help. 
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