10 Best Practices for Small Business Websites


id-10051461As the popularity of drive-to-web strategies grow and businesses rely more on their websites as the main point of contact, small businesses need to pay more attention to what their sites are saying to customers. The best way to get ROI from your web presence is to make sure it’s telling your story easily, succinctly and accurately. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Provide Simple and Easy-To-Use Navigation

We all have a story to tell, and most of us need time to tell it. You don’t necessarily have that luxury through your website. Visitors who can’t find what they’re looking for will get frustrated and leave your site. Make sure they can find what they want so that you can finish telling your story.

2.Ensure Contact Information is Up-to-Date and Readily Available

This may seems like a simple point, but it’s imperative that the contact information on your site is accurate and up-to-date. Aside from making sure prospects are able to reach you, credibility is also at stake here. If people have a hard time connecting with you, they’ll have a hard time believing you can help them with what they need. Make sure your phone number is prominent and easy to find.

3. Good Design Makes a Good Impression

Much like a store sign or the graphic on the front door make an initial impression on customers who visit your physical space, a well-designed site (especially the header and home page) help make the first impression a good one.

4. Talk About What You Know

Take advantage of your site as a place to expound your knowledge of your business. This is a great platform for you to position yourself as an expert. Use your social media channels to drive people back to your site where they’ll find original content from you. Whether you sell auto parts or business consulting services, original content helps educate your visitors and positions yourself as a trusted authority.

5. Install Analytics

It’s important to see what pages your visitors find useful and equally important to see what they don’t. Analytics (such as Google Analytics) can give you great insight into the habits of your site visitors, and can help give you clues as to what pages might need some help.

6. Invest in Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

How does your site appear in Google or Bing search results? How are people searching for your type of business? Some initial SEO assistance can go a long way in improving your rankings. The drop-off for searches found on the second page is 75%. In addition, 18% of people click the #1 result. Investing in the advice of an SEO professional can help you determine what search terms your customers are using and where adjustments can be made to the content on your site that will help improve your ranking.

7. Incorporate Video

While on the topic of SEO, video rankings via search are through the roof. Video thumbnails from YouTube show up directly in search results, offering a graphical element that stands out from text. Consider adding video to your arsenal of original content in the form of video blogs (vlogs) or short, how-to videos that inform your visitors while giving you credit as an expert. Optimize video titles for SEO with key terms to rank higher. Video is also more likely to be shared, thus helping you to get your message out to an even broader audience.

8. Consistency With Your Promotional Materials

Whether or not your website is your main point of contact with your prospects, make sure it’s consistent with the look of your business cards, brochures and other promotional materials. Inconsistency can confuse projects and make them wonder if they’re dealing with the right company. It also helps show that you’re organized and have your act together.

9. Use Only What You Can Handle with Social Media

Although signing up for social media accounts typically does not cost money, social media isn’t exactly “free.” Your time is worth money, and when you want to extend your online reach through social media channels, it’s important to be realistic about which platforms will work best for your business and what you know you’ll have time to keep up with. Once you’ve set up the appropriate channels for your business, be sure to clearly display links throughout your site.

10. Reach Out to Your Prospects

Beyond your social media channels, consider email newsletters or ad space as part of your drive-to-web strategy. Links from these communication tools can direct prospects to specific areas on your site that take longer for the average visitor who starts at your home page. Use this tactic for special offers or to highlight a new product or service.

These are just a few ideas to help get the most out of your small business website. Depending on how old your website is, it may be time to look into a refresh or a totally new site. If you’re not ready to take on such a large step, start with these ten steps to help improve your reach and presentation to your prospects and customers.

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