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Gene (00:02):

Hey everybody, this is Gene Marks and welcome to The Hartford’s Small Biz Ahead podcast. Hope you’re doing well. I have some something I wanna talk to you about this week that I think is really important to both you and me as business owners and that has to do with our websites. Now, according to our study earlier this year from a digital marketing firm called UpCity, approximately 70% of small businesses nationwide have a website. So, that’s good news. If you own a small business, I’m assuming that you probably have one too. Maybe if you don’t, you’ve got good reasons for not having one. But the big question that we have to be addressing is when was the last time that we updated our websites? This is important, right? Because if your website isn’t keeping up with the most recent design trends, then we could be losing business.

Gene (00:50):

There was a survey done just a few years ago from Adobe software. They found the 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content or the layout is unattractive. So our websites cannot look out of date, right? They can’t be slow, they can’t be unattractive. So, what are the things that we need to make sure that we’re doing? Well, for starters, we need to make sure that we’re mobile friendly. Most visitors, particularly younger visitors. And I’m gonna say anybody under the age of 50 nowadays, they’re getting their content on our phones, right? So your site has got to be easily read from these devices or those visitors will quickly go somewhere else, right? Lets face it. Mobile first has gotta be sort of the design approach that we take. Some businesses…

Gene (01:36):

Even restaurants, for example, they get all their traffic from people’s phones. So again, our websites really have to be mobile ready and mobile compatible. Now because of the popularity of all this mobile browsing, our homepage design has changed significantly over the past few years. You must remember, back in the day, websites had a homepage with many links to other pages, but thanks to the proliferation of mobile browsers, today’s designers, the hot thing to do is to have scrolling. So, instead of a lot of links to a bunch of different pages, if you notice you go to websites today and you’re scrolling, scrolling, scrolling, scrolling down, that’s to make it really more mobile friendly and it’s coming across that way, even when you’re going to a website on a browser. People’s attention spans guys are limited to scrolling on their phones.

Gene (02:23):

They don’t wanna pinch the screen to expand it. So that’s why design has become very dominant. It’s also all about the homepage. Our homepages are so critical to get right because that’s where most web designers spend a lot of their design work. We’ve all learned that most of the time, people won’t even go into a site, they’ll look at the homepage and scroll up and down. Then they’re gonna make a decision whether or not to contact us or not. How about some other things? What about pop-ups? They’re pretty annoying, right? These are the little boxes that jump out at visitors, asking if they want to request information or automatically launch a video. They’re annoying, particularly when a pop-up takes up the entire home screen and it’s hard to close it.

Gene (03:12):

But when I talk to web designers, they do say they’re pretty effective. So, we should be employing them at least in a sort of sporadic basis and keep it minimal but a pop-up with an offer or promotion or even an exit pop-up before you leave the site, these things have proven to be pretty valuable. How about videos? Most web designers that I talk to, they do prefer to use videos on the homepage or even in a pop-up. Numerous studies have found that the use of videos significantly increases the amount of time a visitor stays on the site and it ultimately increases the frequency of converting a visitor into a lead who offers their information or buys a product. How about colors, right? You don’t think of this, but they’re so important.

Gene (04:01):

There was a survey done last year from a web design company called Top Design Firms. And it’s actually a directory of web design companies. They found that nearly 40% of consumers appreciate colors the most, among the visual elements of business websites. Nearly half of the consumers in their study, it was 46%, prefer that the business use blue on their websites. Some people like to recommend, dark, homey or even like delicious colors. Black and red are considered to be delicious. One web designer I talk to has restaurant clients who like to have their websites be white and sanitary looking. Also the same thing for medical and dental practices. A good website also offers lots of chances for a visitor to take action ranging from requesting a product brochure to chatting with customer service agents.

Gene (04:56):

That’s why capturing the data from your visitors needs to be a key part of your website design. Of course, good websites are also search engine optimized. And let me talk about that for just a moment. To make sure that your site is acceptable to Google and other search engine services, your links to other sites and your own pages needs to be frequently checked, right? Because sometimes they become broken. Your site needs to load fast. So, you want to download Google’s Insights, but if you Google, Google’s page site designer, or page website tips, they will give you some good tools that you can use to see how fast your website is loading. You wanna make sure your site is secured, right? It’s with an SSL or secure socket’s layer certificate, particularly if you’re accepting payments on your site. And although that dominant scrolling homepage is popular, you’re still gonna need to have like standalone landing pages, so that you can drive ads…

Gene (05:56):

There and measure those ads as well. All of this takes time and continuing attention. There are inexpensive website designers out there, which are great, like Wix and GoDaddy and Squarespace. They can really be helpful for some businesses, if you have a tight budget or just need a very simple online presence, but I gotta tell you most of my clients and me as well. We have experienced website designers that we hire. I use a web designer guy and I lean on him a lot. Most designers say that we as business owners should be reviewing our website or having our website designers review our websites, at least, once a quarter. It doesn’t take very long and there’s always gonna be something that needs to be corrected.

Gene (06:41):

If we don’t, we could be losing visitors and business otherwise. So, those are my thoughts on website design. I think we have some work to do, right guys? So, let’s get to work. Let’s use a website designer, if we possibly can. Let’s be reviewing our websites regularly. Let’s check out the colors, our SEO, make sure that our homepage is scrolling the way right way. There’s no broken links. Lot of stuff that we need to be doing. It’s really the face of our business for our clients and our customers. Even if we’re not selling stuff online, people are going to our sites to get information about our businesses. Hope you find this information helpful. My name is Gene Marks. You have been listening to The Hartford’s Small Biz Ahead podcast. If you need any kind of advice or tips for running your business, visit us at or Again, thanks for joining me. I will be back next week with another tip to help you run your small business. Take care.

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