Seven Essential Elements of a Fabulous Small Business Website
in Small Business Tools on February 12, 2020
Your website is your small business’ virtual storefront. What does that storefront look like when someone “passes by” online? Is it freshly painted, updated and open for business? Or does it look like someone forgot to turn on the lights, sweep the sidewalk and unlock the door? If you’re not convinced that your website is your small business’ most powerful marketing tool, consider these statistics from HubSpot:
- Local searches lead 50% of mobile users to visit a business within one day.
- 61% of mobile searchers are more likely to do business with a company that has a mobile-friendly website.
- Over 51% of smartphone users have discovered a new company or product while conducting a search on their smartphone.
So, how likely is YOUR website to convert prospects into customers? It’s time to take an objective look at your site and see if these seven essential elements are present.
- Available. The most basic aspect of any business website is that every page is available. “Under construction” pages send the message that you’re not fully open for business. Check your site daily to ensure it’s fully functional, with no broken links or malfunctioning contact forms. Also, servers can, and do, go down. So, if you visit your site and discover that it’s not available, contact your hosting service immediately, report the problem and stay on top of them until your site is back up.
- Secure. One of the most common problems on small business websites is an expired security certificate. An out-of-date security certificate results in a warning page that looks like this:
A warning like that is likely to scare off all but the most dedicated of searchers. In fact, 84% of people will not make a purchase if they find themselves on an unsecured website. The good news is: you can easily remedy this issue. Sites such as letsencrypt.org allow you to download free security certificates. Once you’ve updated yours, your customers can browse your site with confidence.
- Accurate. Outdated or contradictory information on your website, especially pricing or outdated products, diminishes your credibility, leads to customer frustration and can even bring up legal issues for your small business. Ensure that your site is easily updatable. If it’s built on a user-friendly platform like WordPress, you should be able to access the back end and update your information on a regular basis.
- On-brand. Your website should reflect your business’ brand and style. Ask a few folks who aren’t fully familiar with your business to look at your site and tell you how it makes them feel. Would they want to do business with you? Studies have found that online searchers form an impression of a business within less than one second of visiting a website. Even if they are “professional looking” DIY sites built on templates don’t always look like they belong to your brand. If cash flow is an issue and your small business marketing budget is slim, make your website the top line item in your budget.
- Easy to use and understand. Many small business owners suffer from the “curse of knowledge.” Since they’re so intimately familiar with every detail of their own business, they assume that certain aspects of their business are self-explanatory. Does your site tell searchers who you are and what you do right away? If prospective customers can’t immediately understand what you offer, they won’t spend much time trying to figure it out.
Your site also needs to be well-organized. Your products and services should be grouped into logical categories, with accompanying graphics, images and video (when possible) that helps customers understand what they get. Your contact information should be easy to access.
- Continuously updated. Blogging and other regular content updates do more than just engage your customers. They also improve your search engine optimization and keep your website “top of mind” with Google and other search engines. Some small business owners rely too heavily on their social media platforms to advise customers of changes in hours or other business news. While keeping your social media up to date is also a priority, you need to update your website at the same time.
- Mobile friendly. More than half of all online searches are currently conducted on mobile devices. So, when you’re checking your site, make sure you’re also checking it on multiple mobile devices. A site that looks great on your desktop or your iPhone might not work properly on a customer’s tablet. If your contact forms, services links or calls-to-action aren’t properly formatted on a page or are otherwise inaccessible, your prospects will move on to a competitor’s site that works better for them.
How does your site measure up?
As a small business owner, you’re juggling loads of tasks and priorities. However, making sure your website is engaging, up-to-date and open for business every day is one of the most critical tasks on your list. Your website is the face of your business to the world. Make a great first impression with it and watch your business grow.
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