Small business websites can be excellent or horrific. Small businesses, due to financial limitations, tend to spend less on the design process of their website. The result is usually a website that clearly straddles the edge of outright failure. The reason of this is that they lack certain essentials that take them from being just okay to really useful. Here is a rundown of ten things a small business website cannot do without.
1.Concise, easy to remember, and unique web address
Your web address is the foundation of your online presence and, therefore, a reflection of your brand. Your web address is how your customers will find you. Select one that is memorable and short. People are unlikely to waste time trying to cram your long name. Also, avoid symbols, number strings, and hyphenation which is a headache to cram.
While there are many extensions available, it is always preferable to stick with the trend and go for a .com address. Businesses have been using this extension for years and having a different one makes people doubt your credibility.
2. ‘Contact Us’ Information
What is the point of a website if it does not further communication? Place your contact information on all pages of your website if possible. On the home page, have it on the upper right or left corners and make sure it is clearly visible. On other pages, placing it at the bottom of the page is acceptable, provided it is easily visible.
Additionally, remember that you need the consumer to contact you. Therefore, do not limit his communication avenues. There may be a temptation to provide only an email contact or phone number, but resist this. The wider the range of your communication channels, the likelier that you will be contacted by your consumers. Have a standard contact form, which is useful for purchase inquiries.
3. Clear Descriptions
You need to have a clear description of who you are and what you do on the website. This allows the viewer to garner useful information immediately when they access your website. Consumers should not be forced to undertake thorough investigations to unearth who you are and what you. Chances are they will lose interest immediately. A good rule to remember is, online you only have about ten to twenty seconds to deliver a message before someone loses interest.
You also need a clear description of what services or products your company offers. Small business sometimes fails in this aspect, the name of the product/service is not enough. Clear description explains what it does and why they should care.
4. User Friendly Design and Layout
Web users have a lot of distractions and are unlikely to waste time on things that seem complicated, difficult to ascertain, or just too long. Use a friendly design and layout that enables the viewer to take in a large part of your content in as short a time as possible. You have to work with their attention span and not against it. Use clear bold headlines, bold important sections, use lists and bullet points, and where you must use prose break it down into small paragraphs with short sentences. The idea is that your page can be scanned by the consumer as quickly as possible.
5. Easy Navigation
The consumer needs you to make your entire website easily accessible to them. You need to provide them with navigation tools that allow them to see where everything is and access it easily. Use drop down menus, Sitemaps, bread crumbs, and integrated search tools that will enable to check all parts of the website are accessible to the viewer.
6. Calls to Action
Use highlighted calls to action to recommend and suggest actions you want the consumer to take. It is your duty to guide them through the website in order to ensure optimal value for them and a higher rate of conversion for yourself.
7. SEO Optimization
Optimize your website for SEO, remembering to only use white hat SEO tactics. This means focusing on proper linking, backlinks, keyword use, great content, and the brilliance of having a wide variety of content publishing methods at your disposal. Proper SEO optimization is a gradual process.
8. Quality Content
Your content must be quality, fresh, and original. Provide such kind of content and you guarantee the viewer will come back to the site.
Nothing speaks better for your business than the actual talk with past customers. Use customer reviews as testimonials on your professionalism, service delivery, product quality, affordability, and any other aspect of the company that you need to market.
10. Secured Platform
Even if you do not use e-commerce options, you must secure your platform. Having your website hijacked or hacked by unscrupulous characters reflects poorly on your business. Furthermore, it can allow them to access sensitive customer information.
An avid blogger, Sandy Pardal leads the team of creative people at WebStartToday.com, which is a free website maker that helps small businesses to create free websites. Web design and Online marketing come to him as a deep passion. He likes to experiment with websites, track their performances and share his insights with readers.