As an offline small business owner (service-based business), I am extremely interested in business website templates and how to customize them for better conversion rates (the rate at which visitors become customers).
I’ve experimented with several business website templates testing conversion. I’ve used various WordPress themes for my business website, testing each one. I’m very happy with my present theme because immediately upon switching to my present theme, my conversion rates dramatically increased.
My increase in business from doing something so simple as switching my WordPress theme informed me that design, layout, and content placement is very important for business websites.
It wasn’t just switching to a theme that improved my conversion, but also the copy and other elements I placed on the home page and the sidebar (which is viewable on every page of the site).
It’s difficult to pin-point exactly which elements of a business website template converts visitors to customers. However, after more than a year of testing, I’ve distilled some elements about what works and what doesn’t work.
The following are what I conclude improve my business website’s conversion rates:
- Color Scheme: Light (blue, light grey, and white).
- Home Page Slide show above-the-fold with images of people and my business.
- Home Page Layout: Under the slide show I have 3 columns. The two on the left contain copy explaining what I offer and the benefits of hiring me. The right column is the sidebar.
- Header: 120 pixels in height with custom logo and my toll free telephone number prominently placed.
- My Profile Photograph is prominently displayed in the sidebar with a brief bio underneath it. This photo displays on every page of my site.
- Videos on Home Page: I placed a series of videos (expertly prepared) that provided information about my services and answer questions for prospective customers.
- Testimonials: I placed testimonials throughout the sidebar. These testimonials appear on every page of the website..
- Sidebar Menu Navigation: Links to numerous articles and my business blog.
- Contact Form I have a contact form prominently displayed in the sidebar on every page in the site. This is very important. This makes it very easy for visitors to quickly fill in the contact form. I find it much more effective than having only a “Contact” page.
- Font: I use a moderately sized font. Not too big or too small. I previously had a larger font which detracted from the professionalism of the site.
Choosing the right WordPress theme or website template for your small business
- Look for a theme that has a slide show or slider at the top of the home page. This enables you to feature posts and gives your business website a very professional look.
- SEO: Get a theme that makes optimizing your website very easy. If you don’t optimize your business website for the search engines, then you’re going to miss out on a great deal of free traffic.
- Footer: Ensure you get a theme which makes it very easy to customize the footer of your website. I use the footer to help my search engine rankings by including contact information and listing the towns my business serves.
- Support: Whether you’re setting out to build your first WordPress theme (or using any template system for your business website), be sure there’s great support. You will no doubt have questions as you go along. I prefer forum support services.
- Out-of-the-box design or design your own? I prefer finding a design that I can use “as-is.” However, you might wish to customize your website from the ground up. If so, look for a theme or template platform that makes it easy to fully customize your website.
- Auto thumbnail image sizing capability: I love themes that automatically decrease or increase the size of images in posts and pull images into Featured Posts excerpts (i.e. title listings on category pages). This is a must-have feature because it makes displaying plenty of images throughout your site very easy.
- Featured Posts Capability: I also prefer themes and templates that make it easy to list article and blog post titles and excerpts on the home page or sidebar. This way I can get my best content in front of the most visitors.
- Licensing: Be aware of the license you get with your business WordPress theme or website template purchase. Some licenses restrict the number of domains on which you can use your theme or template. I much prefer the unlimited “concurrent domain” license.