6 takeaways from the 2021 Wix Awards finalists

The winner of the 2021 Wix Awards has been announced. So, what can we learn from the results about small business web design?

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Website builder-titan, Wix has revealed the list of winners for the 2021 Wix Awards, which celebrate the best designs for websites built using the platform.

Wix is one of the most popular website builders on the market and is also Startups’ number one software choice for small businesses.

The brand is behind an estimated 100,000 websites stretching across 190 countries around the world – giving the judges a tricky job to find the best-designed site overall.

This year’s winner is Dopple Press, a small business printing studio based in Brighton. Its stunning website was designed by founder Liz White. Ten other finalists were also announced.

We’ve reviewed all eleven online masterpieces to spot the similarities among them, and uncover 6 smart and simple ways that small businesses can enhance their websites.

1. Less is more

Today’s users tend to prefer designs that focus on necessary components. Confusing tools like a video or audio clip that automatically plays might be intended to help, but they are more often than not a deterrent.

In comparison, clean ‘minimalist’ design can offer higher user engagement, better usability, and appeal that is more aesthetic.

By way of an example, take a look at the website of Wix Awards finalist, Hound Squad. It is aesthetically-pleasing and looks professional. But when you break it down, it’s essentially just two high-quality images, a logo, checkout icon, and a navigation bar.

Hound Squad Wix website

Hound Squad website, built using Wix

The designer has clearly decided to zero-in on the functionality that users will most want – a Shop, to buy products from, and an About page, to learn more about the business. After all, why over complicate it?

3. Make it mobile-friendly

According to Oberlo, 46.54% of web visits are currently mobile, compared to 50.21% coming from desktops as of November 2021.

If you’re designing a small business website then you need to think about how the site will be presented on a pocket-sized mobile device, not just a monitor.

Practically-speaking, this presents some challenges. You need to make sure all fonts and images are automatically resized for optimal view, and that your users can still click on important call-to-action elements like a quick action bar, home button or checkout.

Designing for mobile is simple with Wix, as any changes you make to your website in the desktop will automatically be transferred to the mobile version. You can even create your website using your mobile, should you wish.

Take a look at the below example from Wix Awards winner, Dopple Press.

Dopple Press Wix

Dopple Press website built using Wixmni-channel works best

3. Omnichannel works best

Creating an omnichannel business is all about taking a consumer-focused approach across multiple retail channels, so you can attract a wider audience and give consumers as many opportunities to purchase as possible.

Integrating your site with social media is a fantastic way for your customers to learn more about you and stay up-to-date with your business.

Whilst all of the Wix Awards finalists demonstrate beautifully-designed websites, they also boast social media icons on their homepages.

Remember: you need to do more than just toss in buttons that link to your social media pages. An effective omnichannel strategy requires equal effort on every platform, so ensure you stay active and post consistent updates across all your social media channels.

4. Consistency is key

Cohesive branding is one of the easiest ways to ensure that your business comes across as trustworthy and authentic to your users.

Fonts, text sizes, colours, logos – these should all be the same across your website, social media accounts, and marketing assets.

May Gauthier

May Gauthier's website, built using Wix

May Gauthier is a good example of how to do this well. A freelancer writer and graphic designer, Gauthier’s website uses the same handwritten font and ‘scrapbook’-style visuals to convey a confident personal and business brand across every page on her website.

5. Images are worth 1000 words

On average visual information, such as graphics and images, are processed 60,000 times quicker than written information.

This makes high-quality images a must for websites. Pixelated visuals are not only unpleasant to look at, but they’re also bad for SEO which could impact your website ranking in search engines.

Try to also use images which are consistent with your brand and content. For example, Wix Awards finalist and small business restaurant, The Five Fields boasts artfully shot photographs of food on its website.

The Five Fields

The Five Fields website, built using Wix

6. Tell your brand’s story

Brand stories should convey the history, purpose, and values of a business using a narrative that resonates with consumers.

Every one of the Wix finalists has a strong brand story either featured on their main homepage, or in a designated ‘About the Business’ page.

For example, according to the Dopple Press website, Liz has over 14 years experience in graphic design under her belt, and built Brighton’s first risograph printing studio as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and national lockdowns.

Your brand story is personal to you, so its most important feature should be its uniqueness. Ensure it sounds human, and let it show off your specific skills and talents.

How do I get started with Wix?

Wix offers a 14-day free trial on all of its premium plans, so you can start building a website as soon as you’ve signed up for zero charge.

If you want to learn more about the Wix platform, read our full review to find out more about what it offers small businesses.

Helena Young
Helena Young Senior Writer

Helena "Len" Young is from Yorkshire and joined Startups in 2021 from a background in B2B communications. She has also previously written for a popular fintech startup.

Included in her topics of interest and expertise are tax legislation, the levelling up agenda, and organisational software including CRM and project management systems. As well as this, she is a big fan of the films of Peter Jackson.

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