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Cannabis Website Design & Development: Tips & Tricks

Discover everything you need to know about building a compliant website for your cannabis business, including the cannabis website design.

Why Your Cannabis Business Needs a Website

How often do you buy something without searching it up online first? Today, people rely on the internet to find information about everything, including cannabis. So if you’re a cannabis business owner, having a professional website is very important when it comes to increasing sales, generating credibility, and increasing brand awareness.

A great website will be your business’s central hub. It’s a place where customers can find every detail about your business, the cannabis industry, the products you’re selling, your business contact information, and so much more. 

It’s a very valuable marketing asset that you’ll want to share with everyone. Think about it, you put your website on everything, business cards, social media, your dispensary’s window, and anything else you can throw it on! It’s where your customers will turn to to find out about new products, the location of your business, and even make purchases. 

But before you begin designing your website, you’ll need to make sure you establish a strong and consistent brand identity. 

Brand Identity

The Image of cannabis brands on the page about dispensary website builder

What do you want people to think about when your cannabis business comes to mind? What will make your business stand out from your competitors? Developing a strong brand identity is the key to shaping how your business is perceived. Your website should always reflect your brand identity since it’s a central point of contact between your market and your business.

Before you begin designing your website, you’ll want to be sure you’ve established your brand identity. Your brand identity will help provide direction for the rest of your marketing efforts, including your website design. For a cannabis business, brand identity is especially important since there is typically little to no leniency in product diversification and advertising regulations. So, you’ll need your branding to be unique, consistent, and captivating to your target market.

Your brand identity should shape your website’s design, theme, and overall user experience. Brand Identity covers a lot of ground, but when it comes to designing a website for a cannabis business you’ll want to pay attention to these two things the most:

1. Figure out What Sets You Apart

Having unique traits or targeting a specific consumer base are aspects of your cannabis brand’s identity that will impact your marketing strategy and determine the goal for your branding. For example, your goal could be affordability, being environmentally conscious, providing an enhanced customer experience or, a quick one-stop-shop destination. There are countless ways that you can make your cannabis brand unique, and it’s important that this is reflected in the branding. Discovering what sets you apart from competitors will help you determine your target market, and develop customer personas.

2. Design Elements

What’s the direction you want to take your brand artistically? What will resonate with you, and your target audience? How will your brand’s design represent your identity and unique traits – setting you apart from your competitors? Answering all of these questions is an aspect of brand development that falls into the logo design, choosing colours associated with your brand, a typeface that you’ll stick to, and a style for images. Determining these design elements will help shape your brand and impact how your consumers perceive your business. Be creative, but also consider your target market and your business goals.

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Cannabis Web Design & Development Features

Once you’ve developed a clear brand identity and direction for your business, it’s time to start thinking about what features your website should have. Your website needs to be professionally made to show that your business is credible, and maintain your viewer’s attention. Your website should be made with the consumer experience in mind – navigating your website shouldn’t be a challenge.  

ADA compliance is also an important feature of your cannabis website development. For people with disabilities, navigating a website is as crucial as accessing physical buildings, a right protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Some state’s are more particular about ADA compliance, while others are less concerned. Be sure to read about ADA compliance in your state before planning your cannabis website design

Cannabis businesses will also need to consider their governing body’s regulations surrounding advertising and marketing to make sure their website is compliant, and doesn’t get taken down. Online advertising of cannabis products to the general public often falls into a legal gray area.  Some states and service providers have unique restrictions, so you’ll need to read up on your state’s advertising policies to see what you can and cannot have on your website. Working with cannabis marketing professionals is the best way to ensure your business’ website is compliant, since most web developers typically aren’t familiar with specific cannabis industry requirements. 

In most cases, your cannabis website cannot

  • Include paid advertisements for cannabis products.
  • Display cannabis or cannabis products in a way that would be appealing to a child.
  • Include testimonials about cannabis products that could endorse use or purchase.
  • Any content on the website cannot show someone consuming a cannabis product.
  • Other state specific regulations.

Here are some common features your cannabis website will need to have.

Age Gate

Because cannabis is federally illegal in the United States, and all states with a recreational cannabis market require customers to be 21 or older, websites for cannabis businesses must include age verification moderating access to the website. This is usually a pop-up that appears as soon as someone opens the website. The pop-up will ask the user to verify their age before proceeding to the website where they’ll be able to learn about, browse, and purchase cannabis products. Age gating is typically a legal requirement for cannabis websites. Keep this in mind while planning your cannabis web design & development.

E-commerce for Dispensary Website Design

Each state has different regulations and licensing requirements that dictate who can sell cannabis online, so be sure to check your state’s rules! Where it’s allowed, having an e-commerce function on your website is very beneficial to cannabis businesses. Online shopping has become a standard, and you should have this option available for your customers. Having e-commerce on your website is like having a second storefront that never closes. It will give your business a huge boost early on and result in consistently higher sales for a few reasons.

1. Greater Reach

Having an online store on your website will remove geographical barriers. Your online store gives customers the option to make purchases from anywhere. This means you’ll be able to sell cannabis to someone who may be on the other side of the state and not have easy access to your storefront.

The Marijuana Website Design on the page about Web Developement

2. Constant Consumer Access

Unlike your physical storefront location, your online store never closes. This means that you’ll never miss a potential sale, and customers will always have a spot to get the products they’re looking for.

3. Low Maintenance Costs

Your online store doesn’t need employees and budtenders to make sales. Not only does this save you money, but it also gives your customers a different shopping experience that they might prefer. While shopping online, consumers can do their own research, and spend more time thinking about their purchase.

POS Integration

If you plan on having an online store on your website, you’ll need to use a compliant POS system that can sync data between in-person and online sales. Most cannabis specific POS systems have this function, but it will need to be set up correctly on your website. This will ensure you’re not accidentally selling products online that you’ve already sold out of in-person. Your POS system could impact how your menu is displayed on your website, which you’ll want to keep in mind while planning your website’s design.

Email Newsletter Sign up

Establishing a direct line of communication with customers who visit your website is a great way to share new product arrivals, engage with the community, share new content posts, and promote events. Make it simple for them to connect by providing an option to submit their email. Adding a mailing list opt-in on your website allows visitors to sign up for future communications. Keep in mind that you don’t want to break your customer’s trust, so be transparent. Make it known that they are agreeing to receive direct communication by providing their email. Building a mailing list this way is also a valuable asset for any future marketing initiatives.

Mobile Optimization

Hemp Website Design on the phone on the page about cannabis web development

One of the most important features of your website is mobile optimization. In 2024, over 60% of people access websites from their mobile devices. This means that your website will be a lot more valuable if it can be easily used on smartphones and tablets, since that’s where most people will be interacting with it. Your website should feature lighter images (such as .webp files instead of .JPG files), mobile friendly user features and menus, payment options that are accessible to mobile users like Apple Pay or Google Pay, and a general design and layout that makes sense on a portrait orientation device. 

Mobile optimization will also improve your cannabis businesses search engine optimization (SEO), which is an extremely important component of your cannabis website.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) & Content for Cannabis

Search engine optimization requires ongoing effort aimed improving your website’s traffic by giving Google the information it needs to appropriately rank your website. In other words, SEO is a set of tactics and best practices that will make it so your business website shows up on the first page of google when someone searches a relevant term or topic. For example, if you have a cannabis dispensary in Maryland, you would want your website to be displayed first on Google whenever someone in Maryland searches “dispensary”, or any other related terms. This is only possible with effective SEO. Without SEO, Google and other search engines like Bing will not prioritize your website, and it will be very difficult for people to find it. 

SEO can be challenging for cannabis companies, since search engines recognize cannabis as a federally illicit substance. This means that improving your cannabis websites SEO will be very difficult without assistance from a cannabis marketing agency that understands cannabis specific SEO. Marketing agencies will implement a variety of tactics to improve your cannabis website’s SEO. 

Creating content is one of the best ways to improve SEO, since you can include valuable backlinks, keywords, and other features that will help people land on your website when they’re searching about related topics. Content can come in the form of blog posts, videos, linked social media accounts, new pages dedicated to relevant topics, products or services and more. You’ll want to craft content with SEO in mind, and be sure to update your website with new content on a regular basis. 

Using a Website Builder

Website builders are a great starting point for businesses in the cannabis space. They don’t require excess experience to use, and they make it easy to maintain your website. However, there are some roadblocks that come with using a dispensary website builder. They do not always allow for easy in-depth customization, they require a monthly fee, and you’re the one responsible for creating and maintaining the website. Mediating technical errors, creating and publishing new content, managing and implementing SEO, implementing e-commerce functionality, and various other time-consuming tasks are still required when you use a website builder, as opposed to having a professional marketing team manage your website.

Cannabis Web Design Agency

Using a cannabis web design agency is the best way to ensure your business’ website is complete and compliant. CannDelta offers complete marijuana website design, hemp website design, dispensary website design and more. CannDelta’s marketing package includes complete setup and ongoing support to match the needs of your business. Our marketing team is backed with cannabis expert knowledge and professional guidance to ensure full, unwavering compliance. Fill out a form at the bottom of this page to learn more about CannDelta’s marketing packages.

Frequently Asked Questions

You can design your cannabis website in a number of ways, as long as you are meeting compliance standards for your location. You should focus on including a consistent brand identity, seamless user experience, and other features like a product menu. Some common features will need to be included, like age gates, but businesses can still be very creative with their cannabis web design & development. Cannabis website development is one of the most important components of starting a cannabis business, so be sure it’s done right!

Cannabis businesses should prioritize brand identity and credibility when planning and developing their marijuana website design. Since cannabis has only recently been legalized, or made available for recreational use and purchase, establishing credibility as a legal and professional business is very important. Since your website is a central point of contact for customers, it should reflect your businesses professionality and play into your brand identity to help establish a strong brand presence and positive reputation within your consumer base. Your hemp website design should be made in such a way that customers can find valuable information about cannabis and cannabis products, purchase cannabis products (if applicable to your business), and find easy contact info and location info. Less reputable cannabis businesses will lack professionalism and a strong brand identity. Their website may not be fully functional, difficult to use, or visually unappealing, which can deter customers and damage their reputation.

The best way to build a cannabis website that will increase clients is by using a cannabis web design agency for your cannabis website design and cannabis website development. Using a dispensary website builder for your dispensary website design is a good starting point for cannabis retail businesses that want to create a plan for their website. Building a website that increases clients will rely on the website’s search engine optimization (SEO). SEO dictates the amount of organic traffic your website generates. Improving your website’s SEO is the best way to generate more engagement and results from your website.