by Monika Beck | Featured Contributor
Small businesses need to remain competitive in the marketplace. An effective, well-designed website is an important factor in achieving that. Even if you only have a small marketing budget, a website should be your top priority. A great website should encourage new leads and help you maintain existing customer relationships for maximum brand visibility. Here are the ten must-haves of a great website for small business.
1. Adequate domain registration
Domain registration is a factor in Google’s algorithm for site credibility. The longer you have the same domain, the more stable and thus credible the company appears. It’s also important to ensure the contact information on your site matches that supplied when you registered the domain.
2. Fast load times
Think about when you use any website. If the pages take too long to load, how likely are you to persevere? You could have an excellent website but the client will never know it if they move on before it loads. Slow loading times will also affect your site’s ranking, as this is a factor in search engine algorithms.
3. Mobile-friendly design
Many people search for information on the go. They either don’t have access to a computer or are multi-tasking while away from it. Your website needs to have full functionality on mobile devices, otherwise, users may go to a more convenient site. The most important factors in mobile-friendly design are responsive design, readability, and navigation.
4. Outstanding home page content
When a potential client has navigated to your home page, they need to feel impressed. Home pages that aren’t user-friendly or are unprofessional cause users to believe this represents the qualities of the business. It’s important to appeal to the client’s needs and address how your business can best serve them but in a concise way. A small amount of information or a photo of your team makes it easier to visualize contacting you. Most importantly, include a call to action. You are telling the client what they need to do next. You could direct them to other pages or suggest they contact you for a free quotation. Make it firm, positive and clear.
5. Convenient contact information
Once you have your audience interested, it’s essential they can easily contact you. Aim to provide several different ways that prospective clients can reach out to you. Phone numbers and email are essential and should be featured on each page. Include a separate contact page which allows emails or forms to be filled out on your website. Your address and a map also help you to appear more credible. The more they know about you and the easier you make the experience, the better.
6. A blog
Blogs are important for their impact on SEO, as well as their ongoing nature. Your website is likely to be quite static, but your blog provides valuable new content to keep users interested. For example, a website for a divorce attorney’s firm could have a blog which features practical advice for those having a difficult time navigating divorce.
Potential customers like nothing more than to hear about others’ experiences. Testimonials, portfolios and case studies all help explain the value of your business. Evidence of your company’s worth is an excellent way to entice new customers. For example, an alarm company in Palm Desert could include a testimonial from a customer who was very happy with the service and products because it worked – a break-in was prevented at their home.
8. Off-site tips
Off-site tips are other ways of extending your business’s reach on the internet. These could include social media accounts or a Google+ business page. For example, for a reserve study firm, one of the tech-savvy consultants could tweet news about the business. A reserve study consultant could also post tips on a Facebook page which are useful to HOA clients. Each of these can include links back to your website. It’s a great way to remind people about doing things at certain times of the year and boosting visibility. You remind them of your presence and your value.
9. Google Analytics
Google Analytics is valuable to help learn about a website’s efficiency and reach. As a free tool provided by Google, it is highly recommended to implement this. It can let you know how many visitors your site gets and how they found you. It also shows how much time visitors spend on your site and information on SEO performance.
10. Google Search Console
Google Search Console is another free service which monitors the health of your website according to Google. Understand page load times, page errors, mobile device performance and keyword ranking data with Google Search Console. It helps you check that Google can access all your site’s content and how Google Search sees your site.
Above all, remember that clients need to see your value through your website and you need to understand how well your site is functioning. Follow these ten must-haves for increased sales and a more successful business.
Savvy web designer with a twist – Monika Beck with Webene – San Diego, CA.
Monika BeckMonika Beck is passionate about website design, web programming, ecommerce, and building businesses. She is a serial entrepreneur and the cofounder of Success Harbor a website dedicated to help entrepreneurs succeed. Success Harbor interviews successful entrepreneurs and publishes topics relevant to business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs. Monika started Success Harbor with her cofounder in order to ease the life of entrepreneurs through original research, tips and unique content. Monika is also a web designer and cofounder of Webene, a website design and online marketing firm based in San Diego, CA. Webene specializes in mobile-friendly responsive websites built on the WordPress platform. Monika loves playing classical music on the piano.