As a business owner or self-made entrepreneur, it can be confusing and time-consuming to make sure your website has the essentials it needs. Content presentation may be different depending on the industry and type of business, but the essential elements remain the same. Design is important to make your site user-friendly – but it doesn’t stop there.
Here are our top recommendations that every small business website must have to successfully help do business.
Make sure your navigation is easy to use, and clearly formatted. The goal is to make it as easy as possible for visitors to find exactly what they’re looking for on your site. Put the most important page links in the main navigation bar, and use dropdown menus under each heading for additional content. Your navigation bar should follow the visitor on every page of the site, so that content is accessible from anywhere.
Fast Loading Pages
Did you know if your website takes more than just a few seconds to load, there’s a good chance that the visitor will leave before they’ve even seen anything? Test your website’s speed yourself and don’t stop on your desktop computer – try a tablet and your mobile phone too! A great resource for this can be found here. Large images, inactive plugins, unnecessary widgets and shared hosting are all culprits of slow page load times. Remember, your visitors are on your site for information, and if they can’t access it quickly, chances are, they’ll leave.
Easy-to-find Contact Information & Pricing
Nothing is more frustrating than visiting a website, ready to make a purchase, and pricing is nowhere to be found. Don’t cut off the most important step of your business (making sales), by making it difficult for your customer to buy from you. Contact information is almost equally as important. Website visitors will naturally have questions, and need the freedom to reach out to you in a form they prefer – email, phone, or even a tweet. This, much like your company tagline, should be prevalent – a great place for this information is in your header or footer, where visitors can easily locate it.
A Rock Solid Call-to-Action (CTA)
If you’re unfamiliar with the term, well, it’s time to get familiar. In marketing, a call-to-action (CTA) is an instruction to the audience to provoke an immediate response, usually using an imperative verb such as “call now,” “find out more,” or “visit a store today.” A strong, relevant call-to-action cannot only grab your visitor’s attention, but can also help you achieve conversion goals whether they be a signup for an email newsletter, adding a product to their cart, or downloading digital content. Coming up with a good call-to-action can be tricky, but it doesn’t need to be. Here’s our suggestion: Make your CTA action-oriented, so that it encourages the visitor to pick up the phone, click a button, or enter an email address. We also strongly suggest continuing to test different CTAs until you start seeing the results you want. Be sure to test wording, color, location and even size.
Testimonials and product reviews can be the lifeline of your business. They can prove your credibility and trustworthiness, and can easily persuade a potential customer to make a purchase. Pair your best reviews and testimonials with photos and display them proudly throughout your website. If you can swing it, round up a few video testimonials as well… while these do take more work, video is one of the most credible forms of testimonials.
As smartphones continue to become more and more affordable, it has become increasingly important for businesses to have mobile-friendly websites. A large portion of your visitors will be using their mobile devices (you can confirm exactly how much using tools like Google Analytics) more than any other device. It’s usually the quickest, easiest and most convenient way for them to visit your website. Having a mobile version of your site, or responsive coding can also help your search rankings.
Knowing who your customers are, their habits, behavior and what engages them will help your website speak to them! It’s true – we all want EVERYONE to buy our products and services but if you don’t cater your content to the right audience, you will end up with nothing. Get involved with your customer’s communities and learn their language. Then, use that exact language on your website.
Basic Search Engine Optimization
Last but definitely not least – your website won’t do you much good if nobody is able to find it. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a huge topic, and appropriately so. If you’re the “DIY” type, you can find thousands of books and online courses, as well as a plethora of blogs written on the subject. For those of you that aren’t, let’s focus on a few simple things:
- Use keywords throughout your copy that are relevant to your target audience. Start by thinking, “What would I search in Google to find the product or service that I offer?” Be sure not to overuse keywords, aka “Keyword Stuffing.” This is an SEO no-no.
- Make sure that all pages are named, and that your URL’s are named appropriately.
- Include engaging content throughout the site, like images and videos.
This can seem like a great deal of information and you may not know where to begin. Did you find something interesting here and want to learn more? Are you an industry expert and think that we’ve missed something? We would love your feedback!