Small Business Website Design: How to Design a Personal Yet Professional Website

When I design a dog training or dog walking website, I prioritize client feedback for each draft of the website we do so I can make sure I am meeting my client's needs. A recent client, Phyllis Couvares of Follow My Lead Dog Training in NYC, told me after one draft that she felt like the website didn't reflect the "small business" feeling as much as she wanted. This was great feedback for me to then modify elements on her site to convey the feeling and expectations she wanted to communicate to her clients. I wanted to share how I did that with other professionals who may have that same concern, and show what we changed in order to keep a website both professional and casual for a small business that prides itself on customized attention and service for each client.

Some Primary Elements We Changed:

  • Photos- Even if you write in your content 10 times that you are a small business that gives personal attention to clients, your photos can give a different and more powerful message to a client about the size and scale of your business. Not only does the actual content in each photo matter, the type and quality of the photo can also communicate this message more clearly. Given how savvy internet users are today, authenticity is also important, so a stock or professional photo may not be the best choice! It may be surprising to hear that we actually switched out a lot of "nicer" photos in the site for real-life iphone photos, in areas where smaller photos would go.

  • Registration forms- We could have gone with a scheduling system, but instead we decided to just create an online form for users to fill out and submit. Previously Phyllis was using a pdf form that clients would often forget to print or bring to class and appointments. Not only do you need to bring extra papers around, this also could be a liability issue, and can take up class/session time to have them fill out and sign forms.

  • General formatting changes- We updated to full-width layouts and uniform formatting and design choices to create a more enjoyable viewing experience for potential clients. This leads to them wanting to stay on your page and take the next step to sign up for your services.

Check out the Facebook LIVE video showing the Before and After versions of the website and explaining the details of how we made it happen!