There are many arguments concerning the similarities of businesses and actual people, forming the basis for the concept of corporate personhood. Likewise, there are many arguments against this concept, citing the obvious circumstantial differences between corporate and personal behaviour and needs.
Even personhood detractors, however, agree that businesses have different needs from their peers. For example, all companies need some form of internet presence, but small business website design is vastly different from that for its multinational counterparts.
David and Goliath
Large corporate structures depend on the delivery of services across multiple territories in a timely and efficient manner. Local businesses, on the other hand, rely on a more personal approach to its customers, and align strategies on being a brand that cares about their welfare.
Not to say that large corporations don’t care about the welfare of their customers and that small businesses aren’t efficient, though. It’s just that these are the main strengths of each sector, and their internet personas should reflect them first.
Identity and Strength
For small businesses, an interactive and consumer-friendly website isn’t just their strength, but their identity against stronger competitors. If the web design encourages communication between a business and its customers, it’s more likely to become the brand of choice for those on the internet (which is basically everyone these days). Each business goes about this project differently, and the website should be tailor-made to fit their image and vision.
Unfortunately, this also means that website templates are out of the question if the business sees actual success in the endeavour. Customers (especially the younger ones) can spot these templates almost on instinct, and the fact that a business can’t be bothered to create their own identity on the web may turn many of them away.
Carving a niche on the internet is much harder than many businesses realise, and without an identity, people can recognise it’ll be hard for customers to find them a second time. Small businesses depend on return visitors, as it gives them an idea of what they’re doing right, and which part of their service is making them come back.
There’s no handbook for creating a successful website. Businesses need to learn what part of their identity works and what doesn’t as they go along. Once companies figure that out, the rest of their time on the net will be a breeze.