Your website is an essential part of your business and serves lots of purposes. It gives your business an online presence and leads people to your products and services.
It's time to leave that old Angelfire blog behind. Your small business deserves better.
But wait. Did you know that 46% of small businesses don't even have a website? Huh?
Other studies show that somewhere between 70% to 80% of people research a company online prior to contacting them.
If you run a small business, you should look at these statistics and see opportunity. Use your website as a resource to take advantage of what other small business owners are not.
In 2019, every small business website should contain specific elements to make it look, feel, and sound like you're running a professional company.
Here are the top 10 elements that your small business website should contain.
1. Keep It Mobile Friendly
It's 2019, and we live in a post-laptop world now. When you're designing your website, you need to take into account that most people that are viewing it are doing so on their smartphones.
Have you ever been sent a link from someone of a website to check out, open the link, and have no clue what you're looking at? This is because that company didn't optimize their website for mobile viewing. Don't make this mistake.
2. Tell Your Story
It's important for that potential customer looking at your website to know what you do and what services you provide. You can do this in an "About Us" section where you can tell your company's origin story.
What is more important, however, is that your company's purpose is immediately clear on the homepage. This is the first thing that someone will see, so they should know right away that you are the company that they're looking for, and they can go from there.
Keep it short and catchy. Figure out a way to concisely describe what you do and your ethos in just a couple of sentences.
3. Simple Navigation
Try not to confuse people. Assume that they'll get lost if you make things too complicated to find. Use clear navigation headers, sidebar menus, and sub-service menus to keep every single page unique and make it easy to jump around to different areas on the site. Don't make them backtrack!
For example, if you're on a website for a clothing shop, there should be navigation headers for different categories; men's clothing, women's clothing, children's clothing, etc.
When you click on the men's clothing category, a drop-down menu should appear with the different categories within men's clothing. When you click on a style of clothing, say shoes, it should bring you to a page with a sidebar and sub-service menus making it easy for you to find exactly the style of men's shoe that you are looking for.
It seems obvious, but too many websites have poor navigation, resulting in loss of business and increased business for competitors.
4. Use SEO
When someone is looking for a product or service, they are most likely to type a search term into their search bar. That makes it very important that you use SEO practices to get the most traffic possible on your website.
There are many guides online on how to properly use SEO, including using the right keywords and using analytics to your advantage.
5. Pictures & Positive Reviews
Give them images and reviews so they can see what you do and know that it's of good quality.
Provide the customer with lots of high-res pictures to look at. Don't use stock images; most phones have cameras capable of capturing incredible images, and using your own images makes the website more personal.
Try to incorporate them into the fabric of the website as backgrounds to landing pages. This also works well with videos.
Use statistics and testimonials to tell the customer that you're the one for the job. People like knowing ahead of time that they're going to get good service.
Tell your story in the "About Us" section, but tell other interesting stories in your blog relating to the products and services that you provide. Keep it relevant and always link back to your products when possible.
Use everything you learned about SEO to make your blog pop up on SERP's. If you're not exactly a writer, there are plenty of online resources to outsource this kind of work to someone else that can do this for you.
7. Call to Action & Contact Info
Make it very clear and easy for customers to contact you. A separate "Contact Us" page with all of the necessary info (email, phone number, address, hours, and more) should be a staple on every website, but a call to action is just as important.
Your website should use a CTA whenever possible. If a landing page showcases a certain product, urge the customer to purchase with a CTA. If a landing page describes your services, put a CTA with an option for a free quote. You get the idea. Sell yourself, always.
8. Good Hosting
Choose a good hosting company. If it's strangely cheap or expensive, stay away. Expect to pay in the neighborhood of $80 per year for a domain.
There are so many web hosts to choose from now, it's kind of up to personal preference at a certain point. Pick one that seems reputable and has good customer service reviews in the event of a disaster.
9. Looks Help
Your website should look like it was made in this decade. Keep it neat and know where to place videos, text, and pictures to provide the best viewing experience for the customer. Clutter is bad.
Sometimes, and by sometimes we mean usually, it's better to have a professional do this work for you. Spending money on a web designer pays immediate dividends. It's understandable to fall behind in the fast-moving world of web design and digital marketing. They're around to help.
10. Informational Footers
You've probably seen the tiny text at the bottom of a webpage with even more links to look at. This is the website footer.
It's also good to double down and put some of the more important info in the footer as well. Try placing your contact info in there again, and links to any other pages you want to reiterate.
You're Small Business Website Ready
Go on then. Take what you've learned and create the small business website you've always dreamed of. It's not hard but requires dedication and a bit of investment. It will pay off in immeasurable ways though. Get ahead by making a website that people enjoy going to.