Dos and Don’ts of Websites for Small Business
Websites for small business is probably the best and easiest way for potential customers to find you online. Small Business Owners may have a website. Surprisingly, they may not. If they do, it may be several years old, outdated, inaccessible or built by themselves, a former employee, spouse etc.
Whatever the shape of your current website, if you do these things, you are going to increase your ranking on the search engines as well as traffic to your website. You will also increase your overall conversion rate and enhance the user experience for your customer which will help you stay in business and grow your digital footprint.
Data* About Websites for Small Business Owners
Did you know that 92% of small business owners think that having a website is the most effective digital marketing strategy? That’s almost 100%! But only 72% of small business owners have a website. 47% of small business owners handle marketing efforts on their own, and spend less than 10k on digital marketing. This is because, although small business owners are very busy, they’re very budget conscious. Of the small businesses that have a website, 69% of them are having annual sales of over a million dollars in revenue!
People are searching online more and more to find businesses to work with. So, you need to stake that claim if you don’t have one already. And a Facebook page is not a website. If you are sending traffic to your Facebook page there are some things to be aware of. First, you don’t own the platform. Maybe they shut you down. You don’t own the data. You can’t track the traffic to your page or retarget that traffic with other advertising. Those are a few reasons why we wouldn’t recommend that you rely on a social media profile as your website.
So, get a website if you don’t have one. Build it yourself or hire someone to do it for you. It’s less expensive than you think, and it doesn’t have to be super complex and fancy. Just get one so that your customers can find you and contact you. And when you do, here are some basics of what you should and shouldn’t have on a website, some of the platforms that you can use to help you build a website and some basic SEO for a small business owner.
Your website is a virtual representation of your business it is your online location where customers can find you learn more about your and interact with your brand.
Content On Websites For Small Business
Your website may be the first interaction a customer has with your business. So, it needs to clearly show the customer exactly who you are, what you do, why choose you and how to contact you. Building your brand from the start is so important. Make sure to highlight quickly what makes you different from your competitors.
Adding quality content is also important. Usually this may be accomplished by blog posts. These articles can provide valuable information for customers while giving your site more depth and improving your SEO. Testimonials and case studies, social widgets and more can also improve the overall quality of your website and the experience of your site visitors.
Some More Data*
70% of small businesses websites have no call to action. Make sure that you have a call to action on your website. 68% don’t have an email address on the home page or another way to contact the business. We want to make sure that prospective customers are easily able to contact your business. 50% of online sales are lost when visitors can’t find content. So, if it’s not clear where to go on your website you could lose business.
Have links to your social media accounts and claim social media profiles for your business as well. All these profiles, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Google Business Profile, can point to your website as well. They have high domain authority which help increase your SEO. These are reasons why a business owner would want to set these profiles up. Even if there isn’t a huge following to start. There’s nothing wrong with going ahead and claiming those social profiles and building those for your small business.
Easy to Navigate and Mobile First
The websites for small business owners should be easy to navigate. Think like your customers. Would it be easy to find what you are looking for on your website if you knew nothing about your industry? Organize the content into categories and subcategories and use menus or search bars to make it easy to find the content. We don’t want finding information to be a treasure hunt!
And it must be mobile friendly. Mobile first has been the mantra for over a decade now. Most sites are built to be responsive no matter the screen size. However, it is still important to check and see what your site looks like on mobile since that is where most consumers will be interacting with your website.
UX and SSL Security Certificates
User Experience (UX) is important for your website as well. Some things that impact UX may be latency. We want to make sure that the page doesn’t take seconds to load, or we may lose customers. Latency can be improved by limiting the size and format of images and removing excess/irrelevant code for example. We will share tools to help later. Using drop downs, helpful images, infographics, other toggles, and video are a few other examples of ways to improve UX.
It’s surprising how many website are not secure. SSL certificates are very important as part of UX. It can be scary for a consumer to land on a page with no SSL certificate. They may even get a warning from the browser that the site is unsafe. This hurts SEO and can scare customers off. Having a secure website is an easy fix and a must for websites for small business.
Tracking Pixels on Websites for Small Business
Websites for small businesses can be an incredibly valuable source of information. By tracking the traffic to your website, you can learn where people are coming from, how long they stay, what pages they visit and even demographic and behavioral data. Google analytics is a free tool that provides this information. Most website CMSs (Content Management System, i.e. WordPress) make it relatively easy to add this pixel to the source code. You may want to add other tracking to your site as well. This is a great way to take full advantage of the investments you make in getting the traffic to your website in the first place.
Tools and Other Resources
There are several website builders out there. Many now are very user friendly offering a what-you-see-is-what-you-get, or WYSIWYG interface. Some examples of a CMS would be Wix, Squarespace, and other general website builders you might find with your host. GoDaddy has a website builder for example. WordPress is probably the most widely used and is our favorite since it provides a lot of flexibility and is still fairly easy to understand and use. More complicated customized html options can be built by developers but tend to be hard to transfer and can rely on that web developer that built the site more so than other CMSs.
Some Helpful tools
- Website Speed Test
- Yoast (plugin for WordPress helps with SEO)
- Screaming Frog (crawls your site like a robot)
- Technical SEO (more in-depth SEO tools)
I often say that digital marketing requires vigilance. This is true across platforms and strategies. Websites are no different. They are not a set-it-and-forget-it, one off brochure anymore. It is a dynamic, interactive location for customers to find you and engage with your brand. If you want to learn more, please check out this YouTube video on Websites for Small Business. Something to look out for in the near future will be even deeper experiences and interactions with your customers possibly through virtual offices in the metaverse! In the meantime, I hope you will take a little time to invest in this online version of your business and get more customers!
*Data reference: https://pixolabo.com/2022-small-business-website-statistics/