Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the type of businesses whose personnel number/employees fall below certain limits. In the world, SMEs outnumber the larger companies and also offer employment to many more people, especially in the more developed countries. SMEs are very important for both their social and economic contribution to society.
In Singapore, the unemployment rate is at 2.1% and the per capital Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is nearly $53,000, making the country’s economy one of the strongest and most stable in the world. This economy is mainly fuelled and powered by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which make up to 99% of all the enterprises and offers employment to 65% of the population.
These SMEs are a very important part of the Singaporean economy; approximately 219,000 SMEs contribute S$196.8 billion in gross value added to the economy. In addition, each SME employs 10 people on average, contributes S$900,000 gross added value which translates to SMEs generating half of the country’s gross value added in just the past five years.
In a small business, a good website is a vital piece of its marketing and branding efforts. When consumers visit a website, they normally do it for a specific reason and therefore the need to ensure that they can find all the answers they may be looking for. Contrarily, the SMEs will be at the risk of losing thousands of dollars in potential revenue. Below are some of the aspects of digital marketing and best website design practices for SMEs for greater business success:
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process of affecting the online visibility of a website or web page in a web search engine’s unpaid results i.e. increasing the quality and quantity of website traffic via SEO. Quality of traffic means that anyone visiting the website is genuinely interested in your products, the quantity of traffic means that the right people are clicking through from search engine results pages (SERP) and organic results are any traffic that you don’t have to pay for. SEO is one of the best and simply effective web design practices. It is used to increase the number of visitors to your website by obtaining all the high-ranking placement in the SERP.
SEO utilises keywords used in searches to access the site and display them in the search results. When creating keywords, at least 80% of the words should be low traffic and unpopular keywords that are particular to your brand or product while the rest should be high traffic keywords made up of common phrases such as Singapore. When working on a site, the SME should look for keywords that generate a high search volume, those that are unique to their site’s contents and have low competition and are unique. For SEO to work, it is determined by the content you provide to people visiting the site. It is best to create a website that provides information that addresses their requirements, one that is appealing and user-friendly and one that is linked to other quality sites that compliment it.
Mobile Friendly/Responsive Websites
Most SMEs are able to create websites that have a great look and appeal when viewed on a laptop or desktop. However, when the same website is viewed on a mobile device such as a cell phone or tablet, it becomes disorganised, cluttered and really hard to navigate.
This is a very sure way for any SME to lose potential leads. Studies show that using a website that is not a cell phone or tablet friendly will stop 8 out of 10 consumers from engaging with the site if its content doesn’t display correctly on their device. SMEs are now adjusting to responsive design that automatically adjusts itself to the size of the browser in use and hence, serving all devices with the same code that adjusts to screen size. This has become a popular web design practice with a projected mobile device use of 78% by the end of 2018. Also, a company should ensure that the clickable elements on their website accessible to mobile users who use fingers to click on them.
Another aspect of a responsive website is using fluid images. This is a responsive design based image stack. The stack allows an image to grow and shrink depending on the size of the device being used to view it instead of being rigid. It means that an image with the right HTML code will be adaptive to the size and shape of the viewing device without interfering with other aspects of the website.
Maintaining Design Standards
When creating a website, there are specific standards and norms in order to eliminate the chances of users getting confused while accessing the website. Although web designers can find ways to be creative and unique in the features of their website, there are certain standards that should be maintained as they determine how people interact with websites and their expectations. Deviating from these norms creates chances of confusion and negative user experience for consumers. While creating a unique website for a brand, SMEs should be thoughtful in order to create a website that still meets consumer satisfaction.
Branding and Consistency
Branding is used to inform consumers about a company’s reputation, creating trust in every product or service offered by the business. Website design that keeps branding consistent throughout the site is the best practice. SMEs should only use the predetermined features on every page of the website. This applies to images, iconography, videos and typography in order to create maximum results from this practice.
The lesser time people take to find what they are looking for in a website, the more they are likely to access it repeatedly. A good website should have less loading time and simple navigation for visitors accessing the site. Optimising the viewer experience of the site is very important for SME brands. Also, make sure that the most important pages are the most accessible for both first time and old users.
Goal-Oriented and Focused Website
A good website is one that has been designed to meet a specific purpose and one that accomplishes the target for which it’s created. Each website page should not have an overreaching goal, as each should have a very specific purpose. Focusing a website means that the web pages don’t have too much-crowded information on a single page. Having too many links, images and texts create distractions for a user which means a bad user experience. This will have an overall effect on the potential returns that a focused web page is expected to bring. In case a web page has too much information, for the good of a brand, an SME should sort the information in different pages. This will improve the user experience while increasing opportunities to optimise SEO.