Your website is the face of your small business on the Web. In many cases, it is your business. Hence, it is important that your website must set-up for success. Your website must be designed to maximize your desired results, whether it is sales of your products or services, or advertising income.
Here are 10 critical elements your small business website need to have:
1. Strong value proposition = you need to clearly state why people should come to your website, buy your products or use your services.
- Clearly state how working with you, buying your products or reading your information can benefit THEM. Remember, it’s all about how you are going to help them.
- \Concisely tell people what you do, in clear and simple terms. Avoid using jargons.
- Put a benefit-laden headline on the home page. Make your visitors want to stay and find out more. Your headline needs to grab their attention, and make them want to stay and explore your site more.
- Clearly state why users should visit your website and why they should do business with you. The web copy must then expound on the headline by clearly and concisely engaging your prospects, talking specifically to your target audience.
- Include providing visual and textual signals that your information, products or services can address their needs and solve their problems.
- Emphasize what you do and why the visitor should come to your website over your competition
2. Clear presentation of your products or services = the copy, pictures and all elements should work together to make the visitors want to buy your products, and use your services
- If you’re allowing transactions on your website, make it easy for users to order and to pay.
- If your products are not offered for sale online, put the information on where visitors can find and buy it.
- Clearly state the prices of your products. For a service business, ensure an easy way for clients to request for quotes.
- Provide pictures of your products or services.
- Depending on your business, consider creating videos of how to setup and use your products.
3. Easy navigation structure = make sure your visitors can easily move around your website in order to find exactly what they’re looking for
- Make it easy for visitors to find your content. Follow the three-click rule in being able to get to any page in 3 clicks at most.
- To the extent possible, use breadcrumb navigation so the user knows where they are
4. Strong call to action = each page of your website should have a powerful and clear call-to-action that persuades your visitors to do your desired target goals
- Spruce up your call to action with these three elements: the action you want the reader to take, the words you use to issue the call, and its physical appearance (text, image, location).
- Consider adding a strong call to action at the bottom of every page and telling visitors exactly what to do next.
- If you are offering something valuable for free such as a white paper or an eBook, combine this with email collection service use your freebie to help build a mailing list for a newsletter or other future contact.
5. Strong foundation of trust = trust is extremely important on the Web, as the decision to buy from your website and whether to believe in your content hinges on how well you are able to establish trust with your visitors
- Create an attention getting headline that immediately conveys to their visitors that they are in the right place
- Provide information on who or what organization runs the website. If you can provide pictures of the founders of the site or the people behind the business, so much the better. People need to know that your business is real, and photos of the owners of the site can make it real for them.
- Provide contact details, such as email or even a contact phone number with a real live person. Even better, provide your contact information at the bottom of every page to make it easy for visitors to contact you the moment they realize they need to.
- Demonstrate evidence of customer satisfaction such as testimonials and reviews to illustrate that you deliver what you promise.
- Protect your customers’ information by ensuring that payments are done securely and that you have tools to prevent hacking and stealing of customers’ data.
- Request for feedback from customers – whether it is about the look and design of your site, the quality of your products and services, or even suggestions for improvements.
6. Cohesive design within the entire website = choose a design for your website that look better, easy on the eyes, and work towards your goals in a clear and efficient way.
- Create a website that makes your business look large, not like it is being operated from the bedroom!
- There should be a commonality across the entire site. Common look and feel for all pages.
- Provide an attractive design for your website including colors and the topography
- Keep your website fresh with regularly updated content to get users to revisit your website.
7. Accessibility of your website = make your website easily accessible to both users and search engines
- Make sure that your website validates to HTML, CSS and accessibility standards.
- Ensure that your pages load quickly.
- Create a sitemap to help search engines access each of your pages quickly and effectively.
- Practice good search engine optimization so people can find your site. Write page titles that accurately describe the page content in 60 characters or less and contain keywords for that page. Provide page description that accurately describes the content and purpose for the page in 150 characters or less and that contains keywords for that page.
8. Website analytics program = put in tools that will allow you to evaluate how your website is performing.
- Whether you use the free Google Analytics or the pricey WebTrends, it is important to capture information on your traffic and measure the effectiveness of your website. Look at how well your marketing campaigns are doing, whether you are attracting the right type of visitors, and what content your visitors like.
- Measure the conversion of your website, whether your goal is to sell products, collect leads, or share your whitepapers and articles.
- Constantly review your metrics to determine adjustments in your marketing, product and overall strategies.
9. Ways to connect with you = in this day and age of social media, connection is key. Make it easy for your visitors to spread the word about your website and tell their friends and contacts about it.
- It is important to make it easy for visitors to connect and engage with you – whether via email newsletters or your RSS feeds; or via social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, among others.
- Use a lead generation tool and collect data on your visitors. Give your site’s visitors an opportunity to engage and build a relationship with your business over time.
10. Strategy for getting quality, targeted traffic to your website = don’t ever make the mistake into thinking that just because you created your website, visitors will come. They won’t and you need to have clear strategies at the onset of how to get your target market to visit and use your website.