We are excited because we launched our new local business website product this week.  We spent a lot of time looking at local business websites and what makes them successful and what makes them fail.  From design to content to social media integration to SEO, we looked at every aspect of what’s important to drive visits and conversions on local business websites.

The 2 Year Rule – Why Most Local Businesses Need a New Website

One of the biggest reasons local businesses need a website refresh is that the design of their sites is outdated.  Design is so important.  You wouldn’t let graffiti and dirt all over your storefront?   You wouldn’t confuse the message and make your awning hard to read would you?   You wouldn’t post hard to read posters and blurry images of your work in your store/office?   Why would you do all these things on your digital storefront?

The 4 Key Elements of Great Local Business Website Design

The rule of thumb we use is that if your website is more than 2 years old, it probably needs a refreshed design.   As silly as it sounds, 2 years ago website technology was much different.  They didn’t have responsive websites so your brand could look great on any device easily.  People weren’t using big images, parallax scrolling and all those fun visuals.   And good website design just wasn’t as clean, accessible and affordable.

So with that in mind here are The Top 4 Elements of Great Local Business Website Design.

The 4 Key Elements of Great Local Business Website Design

1. Clear, bold landing experience on the home page

If I am going to your home page for the first time, you better impress me quickly and tell me exactly what you do.   Big, bold professional images tell me immediately that you are a reputable local business who cares about their brand and service.   I should be able to scan the page and in 2 seconds are less understand at a base level what you do.   Here are a couple examples of websites like that where you land and immediately both understand the service and are impressed with their branding.

Painter Website
Local Business Website

 Trophies and Awards Shop
Local Business Website 3

For both these examples, you immediately see what the customer does, the layout is clean and the image leaves a bold impression.   I am immediately impressed and want to engage.


2. Key calls to action immediately available on every page

The Smith is one of my favorite brunch spots in NYC (and it’s great for dinner too).   They do a nice job with great branding images (see #1 above) and also have calls to action to make a reservation, join their email and follow them on social media.   If anything, I think you would want to make the call and reservation calls to actions more prominent.
Restaurant Website

3. Clear website navigation

Hopefully a good local business website answers all my initial questions quickly (where are you located, how do I call you, what do you do, why should I select you).  But if I want to dig in, make it easy for me to quickly drill down into what matters: what you offer, more about you, news and updates.   And when I am drilled down, be clear where I am and how to drill further in.
Childcare website example

4. Updated content for SEO and so I have a reason to return

The average local business website should be more than a splash page brochure.  Similar to navigation (#2) you want to give customers the ability to drill into your business and find reasons to select you and act now.   Additionally, if you want to create long term engagement with your customers, you should do so by creating updated content that’s worth reading and interacting with.  The word “blog” can get the same negative reaction with many local business owners as “tweet.”  The reality is every local business should be blogging in 2014.  It’s how you create engagement and improve on search through SEO.

Take a look at Fred Estaire Dance Studio San Diego below.  Big splash image that’s eye catching, great calls to action, and then below the fold of what first loads, a lot of content that a customer can interact with.  Want to find out more about salsa lessons?  Check.  Why dance lessons will change your life?  Check.   The navigation points to lots of great content from the team, programs, more info on dance styles.    Investing in your content footprint get customer engagement for the long term, especially for search engine optimization (SEO).
Dance Studio Local Website

So there you go.  The top 4 key elements of great local business website design.  There is a lot more to building effective marketing-enabled websites that deliver results.  If you want more information or would like us to take a look at your website, contact us.

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  • Good tips, love the painters / trophies landing page, you certainly know you are on the right site…

  • Great blog post, very informative for small business owners, thanks!

  • Good read, but I have to disagree with your timing. You want your business, no matter what size you are, to stay fresh and up-to-date with society. I would say at the very latest wait time for redesign would be a year, but there should be updates at least every six months. Let’s face it, in today’s society people want to be excited and entertained. It is what draws people to buy or obtain one service over another. I am not saying every six months do a complete redesign, but add something different, update pictures, etc. A great web designer will include little updates every six months for free in a yearly maintenance contract.

  • The call to action part is pretty important and something that seems easy to miss for most people. I have worked with business owners that are so worried about looking spammy or over the top that the phone number is actually pretty hard to find. Thanks for putting this together.