Do you know how to run your own small business? Or how to get the biggest revenue? Or how important it is to provide your business with a sufficient design? Or what mistakes turn to be crucial for business owners when it comes to their business’ design?

You might not know the answer to all those questions because you cannot know everything. In this case, there is a resource that will be of a great help for you when you own, run, or even think of your own small business. Meet Fit Small Business, the website that knows everything about small business – and even more.

What was the main idea of founding Fit Small Business back in 2013? Has this idea changed since that time?

Marc Prosser and David Waring launched Fit Small Business in 2013 to help small business owners navigate the questions and difficulties that arise when running a business. Fit Small Business covers topics ranging from small business financing to managing employees to finding customers and building relationships. The founding principle of Fit Small Business, to educate small business owners on all facets of running their business, has stayed consistent from day one.

Has the company changed a lot since the day it was founded?

In the beginning, we thought we were going to be an education first company, mainly creating how-to guides for different tasks associated with running a business, and that we would gain credibility and then get into monetization. As it turns out, people are more interested in shopping guides, reviews, and comparisons so that became one of our big focuses.  

A further change is that when we started, we took on a number of general writers and now we have moved in the direction of having all specialist writers instead, who are experts in their field. For example, our real estate writer is a veteran of the New York City real estate market, having worked in it for many years. Along with the expansion into having specialist writers, it’s worth noting that in the beginning it was just the two of us, Marc Prosser and David Warning. We now employ over 40 employees and contractors. Marc and David also used to write content for the website in the beginning and would then edit each other’s work, which caused more than a few arguments.

What are the main principles of Fit Small Business that assist the company in helping small business owners to grow?

One of the main things that we stick to across the board in order to help small business owners is that we make sure that we are being very granular in our articles. Our articles are written for a number of different types of reader – the 30 second reader, who just clicks into our article to see a quick answer to their question, all the way to the 10-20 minute long-reader, who wants to find out exactly how we came to the answer we did and know everything on the topic.

What role does design play in the process of small business development?

Design plays a huge part in the small business development and we know this even from our own business as much as from writing articles about it for our readers.

We’re big believers in testing – we’re not about principles first, we’re about data first. For example, we’re constantly asking ourselves questions like where do you put images in an article and how big should they be? How many rows should we put in a table? What callouts should we have on the page? An example of this being put into action is that our tables were getting fewer clickthroughs on mobile devices, so we started putting images on the row instead of the column, and with this change people on mobile now see images first which makes more sense.

All of these design elements make an impact on how long readers stick around the website, what they interact with, and what information they take away from the article. We use software like Hot Jar to see how people navigate the page and keep an eye on what the average time on page is for particular articles, how far down people will scroll, and clickthroughs to other pages from our articles.  

So yes, design plays a key role, but for us, it’s design along with continual testing that works the best.

Can you name the most crucial mistakes small business owners generally make in terms of design? Does Fit Small Business cover such mistakes in its articles so that its readers could avoid them in the future?

There are a number of crucial mistakes that small business owners make as regards design, particularly with websites. Firstly, making pages too image-heavy is a big issue – readers lose interest before they get to the actual meat of your article if they have to scroll through a visual encyclopedia of images. Additionally, using too many stock images which results in the images lacking any diversity.

Not having a mobile-friendly site is another key factor that goes overlooked. Mobile traffic is growing all the time and it’s essential for businesses where people are looking at their websites on the go more so than on desktops, such as restaurants or cafes, that their websites are mobile enabled. On that note, websites with three column layouts as opposed to one column layouts now look quite old-fashioned. It tends to be easier to adapt a one column website to being mobile-friendly than a three column, as well as being more simple and easier for the reader to interact with.

Overall it’s a case of making sure that the user can get to the information they’re looking for as quickly as possible. Design should support this aim and be as simple as possible. The idea should be to think about user experience and prioritize that over the individual design elements. If you prioritize user experience, design elements that support that will fall into place easier. Keep it simple and clear and the simplicity will draw the eye of users, making sure they revisit the website.

Are small business owners the only target audience you have or are you aimed at a wider readership audience?

Many people lump start-ups and small businesses into the same categories where there is actually a big difference. Generally, small businesses are supporting families and working in communities, whereas start-up’s main aim is to scale with investors’ money. They are two very different audiences with two very different sets of goals and people often confuse the two. We want to focus on small businesses as opposed to start-up’s and shine a light on them, helping them to solve the problems that are specific to them. They are our target audience.

What ambitious goals would Fit Small Business like to achieve in the future?

World domination! But seriously, the goal is to become a destination website for small business owners with a problem. We want to have widescale brand recognition and become more well-known, making the most of our great writers, digital marketing team, and business development team.

DesignContest Team wants to thank Fit Small Business for such an extensive and interesting interview that, as we hope, has given our readers some food for thoughts.