You’ve nailed your home business idea, hired a designer for your website and published it for the world to see. Congratulations! But how do you make a small business stand out in today’s competitive online marketplace? Well, it starts with your website.
A strong online presence creates a positive impression, can drive more sales, and put your enterprise on the path for success. However, getting started can be quite a challenge for those who are new in the industry.
The following tips can help you improve your small business website and help you get started on the right foot. Some of them are easier than you think!
1. Make It Clutter-Free
A good website is one that’s simple and captivating. A complex design or excessive information can overwhelm visitors. Furthermore, an uncluttered design conveys a message of professionalism. So, consider allowing your website to have some space without the need to cram everything into one page, giving your users a more pleasant experience.
2. Accessibility Is Key
Just as accessibility is important in the workplace, it is also important online.
Ask your website designers to make sure your website is accessible for people with disabilities and impaired reading. There are many (very easy) ways to do this, oftentimes requiring a few lines of code be added to your page,
An easily accessible site with clear content is not just helpful for the disabled, but it also helps your small business rank high on Google. Google – and other search engines – use accessibility as a ranking factor when deciding how high to show your site in results. So make sure to improve it!
3. Let It Be Mobile Friendly
After the announcement of the mobile-first index concept by Google, it would be bad for business to have a website that isn’t responsive. What this means is that your site’s pages will automatically adapt and re-size when accessed via mobile devices (more details here). However, this in itself isn’t enough, you ought to ensure that your website offers a user-friendly experience across mobile internet connections.
Viewers get impatient trying to access a site that takes too long to load. If you’re working with a UX design agency like Clay Global to build your site, make sure that your small business web design, especially the mobile versions, is small in file size and quick to load.
4. Make Your Contact Info Clear
One of the biggest hurdles to doing business online is creating trust with new customers.
A quick & easy way to help inspire trust is by including clearly visible contact information. Create a contact page showing your company’s phone numbers, email addresses, physical address, hours of operation and company registration details, as well as a map showing the necessary directions.
As well as putting this on the contact page, a good practice is for this to also be prominently displayed in the footer of your website.
5. Ensure You Have an Email Newsletter Form
Email marketing is currently one of the highest ROI marketing channels available online and a key driver of marketing automation.
If you build a website that doesn’t have the functionality to capture your visitor’s email addresses, you’re literally leaving money on the table.
Adding email newsletter forms to your website is simple, with tools like MailChimp, OptinMonster & Drip providing simple forms to start building your email list.
Mostly, before making any purchases, people will conduct initial research to learn more about a product and the business offering it.
This is the perfect time for obtaining a potential customer’s email address using a lead magnet, enabling you to continue marketing to them after they’ve left your page.
6. Invest in Professional, Consistent Branding
As a small business website, you should focus on creating a professional look that’s consistent with your brand. Utilize colours that match your brand’s logo and hire a web designer to inject some uniqueness into your site.
Choose fonts, graphics, and design templates that perfectly complement your overall website style. But don’t cheap out and skip this step as your website’s design is very important.
Pay particular attention to your homepage, as this is often the most visited page on a website. Use the homepage to showcase your top products as well as injecting some information about your company and brand story.
7. The Power of Blog Content
Publishing regular blog posts on your small business website is a great way to generate buzz around your brand. It can position your brand as a thought-leader within your niche and by helping your visitors find answers to their problems, generate feelings of reciprocity.
Frequent blogging is also seen by Google to be a positive indicator for your business which encourages them to rank you higher in search engine results.
Before buying a product or service, people like to learn more about your company values, ethics & personality. Running a blog on your website is the perfect way to showcase these traits to new visitors. Moral of the story: make sure your website has a blog feature!
8. Choose the Right CMS
A CMS is a content management system. In other words, it’s the software which runs your website. Choosing an appropriate CMS for your industry provides more flexibility for adding extra functionality later on as your business grows.
No matter how hard your web developer tries to persuade you, you should avoid using a custom-built CMS for your small business website as you will likely encounter issues with changes, support, and upgrades in years to come.
There is plenty of good quality & low-cost software to run your small business website. Consider Shopify & WooCommerce if sell physical products or WordPress and EasyDigitalDownloads for digital sales.
9. Get a Memorable Domain
In the world on online business, your domain name is your business name. For this reason, it’s important you buy a domain that is unique and memorable.
When purchasing your domain name, try to purchase a name which is short and easy to remember. Likewise, always try and get the .com version of your name. If the .com TLD is not available and is being used by someone selling a similar product, it could be wise to think of a different name.
Note: Some CMS providers do offer free subdomain address, however, it’s advisable to avoid these as they can cheapen your brand.
10. Display Customer Testimonials
Testimonials are one of the most effective ways to inspire trust with potential customers. Testimonials provide third-party validation that your product/service is trustworthy and that you are a reputable company.
Don’t underrate the influence that customer testimonials & reviews can bring to your small business website, even if you only have a handful. Place them prominently throughout your site’s pages, especially around your products.
Also: rather than publishing generic recommendations, consider using a specialist reviews website like TrustPilot to further increase your review credibility.
The Bottom Line
Building a website can take time and occasionally be frustrating. But with the right website, your small business can thrive. Observing the above tips, even those which seem trivial, can help give you the upper hand, especially in a crowded marketplace.
Know your business goals and take the right steps. Create something unique and propel your business success to greater heights. Good luck!
This article was originally published on HomeBusinessMag