Website design tips for small businesses
Updated: Oct 16
Mojo Media was set up in 2010 and is run by Founder Ben Wood who is based in London. MoJo is a digital agency that works with startups through to well-established companies. I talk to Ben about trends, tips and common pitfalls in website design and content.
Do you think it is possible to build your own website without using a web specialist?
Absolutely, yes! With Squarespace and Wix as the main two self-build platforms out there, it’s really easy for people to create their own website. Working with templated frameworks brings it’s own challenges though, how do you make your site not look like one of their templates? For me, you have to be a very creative person to pull this off, if not you will potentially end up with something that looks half-finished and could put people off using your company/services.
The key point to focus on with any website, regardless of the base platform is the content. Text plays an important part but the main elements you will need from the outset are high-quality photography (real ones, not stock) and video. These are fast becoming the most important part of any website and should be the main focus.
What advice would you give to someone that is about to build their own website?
Take your time. If you do find you’re getting stuck there are plenty of guides readily available. I’ve already mentioned a couple of highly marketed self build offerings which I’d stick to if you are pursuing the self-build route. Wordpress is way too complex for first attempters.
What I would expect to find (from experience) is that people start their journey and get frustrated and crucially wonder why their website doesn’t look like the template when they started, which is when we’ve been asked to get involved.
What are the dominant trends in website design this year?
We’ve seen parallax (floating sections of images/content) play a big part in websites, which create extra depth on websites. The sections are made up of layers that float around each other which creates the depth element. They contain a background (this can be an image or a block of colour) and then the content in front of this moves over the top at a different speed to you scrolling down the page.
One page websites are being requested as people want a much more simple and less cluttered approach, that brings its own benefits from a content point of view where you don’t need as much text.
How have websites changed in design and build this year?
The builds haven’t changed a huge amount, what’s changing and people are waking up to is the content side of websites. Images and video play such an important role now and more budget is being invested here. The trends previously were to use stock imagery and create a false brand image of a perfect world. That’s why mojo is always evolving, we’ve invested to ensure we’re able to deliver these growing content sources.
What are your top tips for what makes a good homepage?
Carefully chosen imagery and well written high-quality text. The focus must be on quality, not quantity. Don’t bore people with average images or text, less is more. Think about what you want out of a website experience.
What is more important, paying for a good website, or paying to promote it?
To be honest, both. A great site is worthless without it being found. I would apply the same logic in reverse, don’t spend money promoting an average site, it’s money down the drain. Find a balance of the two, then work on finessing both sides over time.
What do you expect to see more of next year?
I expect to see higher-end visual content being requested, websites themselves will not change much. As with anything, websites have a shelf life so we’re always re-engaging with clients to rework/rebuild their websites. They are requesting things that they would never have thought of previously and crucially see the added value of investing in their web presence. Not just having a great looking website but wanting to pay to promote it and search engine optimisation (SEO).
For more tips on all things brand and marketing, visit my blog the Sharp end.