Small businesses approach their web presence in many different ways. Some already have a website they built themselves or by a friend or relative while others don’t even have a website. They rely on Facebook or other social media and figure that is enough to bring in new customers. These platforms certainly have their place, and Facebook and other social media is a great way to engage with existing fans and even advertise to potential new customers by using lookalike audiences, retargeting and other powerful tools (don’t worry if that didn’t all make sense right away).
However, there is a small, but growing, number that have their websites designed and managed by a specialized provider (like us) who consistently rank well in organic search traffic. This means that when someone is looking for a plumber, electrician, restaurant, [insert your business here] – they are going to do a quick search on their phone, tablet or computer and find the website of that small, but growing number of small businesses that have their site built with that purpose in mind.
Your website is your digital front door
Here are some helpful tips that we follow when creating websites for our clients that you can follow if you want to spruce up your website on your own. Of course, if you’d like us to develop or re-design your website, we are more than happy to help.
Does the website look nice and professional?
Your website is one of the first impressions your customers have of you. It best practice to have unity, order, and clarity, reinforcing the overall intention of the site. Keep it clean and simple.
Is there a professional logo?
Does the logo look like it represents the business’s essence? Is it well designed, simple and memorable? Is there any subtle connection to the business? Would a first-time viewer immediately understand the logo’s meaning?
Is there a call to action or key message in the main banner?
Is there some kind of message on the homepage that states what the company is about and how it can benefit its customers? You want to sell benefits, not features. It should clearly summarize the business and encourages further engagement with the website.
Is there a contact number at the top of the website?
An easy to find phone number is one of the most important features of a website. As upwards of 80% of search traffic is mobile, and growing, the phone number should be clickable so that those who visit the site on a mobile device can call you easily.
Is it obvious what their business does?
Potential customers need to be able to see engaging content, content that allows them to easily understand what the business is offering. Again, simplicity here with a clear message will help you turn prospects into customers.
Is there a primary action for visitors?
Is there an immediate element to get your customer engaged in the website? Add “Give us your email and receive a free brochure…” or some type of call to action along those lines that will keep the visitor on your site. The longer your visitors stay on your site, the better your search rankings will be.
Are there secondary actions to take?
Maybe customers are not ready to click on the call to action the first time around. Give them an opportunity to be able to contact you later on in the page. This can be helpful for those who are still researching their options for your service.
Is the menu navigation easy to use?
Customers want to find the ‘Home’ button or ‘Contact us’ form quickly and without having to hunt around. The navigation should be logical and well thought out. Make these menu options easy to access and intuitive.
Are there social media share buttons?
Social media helps a business engage with customers quickly, efficiently and inexpensively. The easier you make this, the easier it is for your new found fans to engage with you. Linking your social media accounts to your website will help with SEO. [Pro tip: have your links open a new window so that way their click allows them to sign up or follow that link, but then come back and do the next]
Is there a lead capture form on every page?
Give visitors the opportunity to contact you in multiple ways. You can even develop this form into a lead capture form, which will build your list of loyal customers. An email list is a key tool to maintaining communication with your customers. You can provide special offers, available on to those on your list, share special events, or notify them of updates about your business.
Are there customer testimonials or reviews?
Testimonials and reviews are both powerful ways to gain credibility. Especially during the research stage, a potential customer will often refer to reviews of your business to compare their options. Gather as many testimonials and reviews as possible which can be added to your site. And also encourage your customers to provide reviews. If you encounter a poor review, engage with that customer and correct the situation to the best of your ability. This will not only help your business, but other potential customers will see this and know that you take action to fix things for your customers.
These are some key tips to consider when designing your website, not only it’s appearance, but also the planning and layout of the site. Imagine you are encountering your website for the very first time as a potential client. What information to you need to find easily that will get you to move forward? Is there anything that is difficult or confusing? Maybe even try having someone else who isn’t very familiar with your business go through the site and get their impression of how it looks, if they have any challenges navigating around, and if it is clear to them what you do and how you can help them.
Keep these in mind and we’ll be sharing some more tips in another post where we focus on the small things that you can do on your site that make a big difference in your search rankings when we give you some tips on how to improve your search engine optimization, knowns as SEO for short.
Until next time!
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