A website is, for the majority of SME’s the nucleus of their online marketing and presence. In fact, more than 50% of all small business owners online marketing budget are spent in this category such as web design and hosting.
However, despite its huge importance, many small, local businesses are continually struggling to create a website which can not only be found easily with search engines but that when found it provides the information, engagement and trust that your customers are looking for.
From our experience there are so many websites with deficiencies at present which means there are missed opportunities and this therefore means its you and your business losing money!
Below are ten key considerations that you should have in mind to guarantee your website is a success.
1) KISS Content
The first point I am going to make here is don?t overcomplicate this! Many business owners feel the need to write every single piece of information about their business, everything they have ever done.
Then someone visits their site and see?s 100s of line of text and they give up before they even begin reading, people are lazy, they don’t want to read a home page that looks like the terms and conditions of a mortgage.
Instead use the ?KISS? technique.
Keep It Simple, Stupid (Or Keep It Short & Simple).
This is becoming more and more important online to increase the amount of visitors that you convert into customers.
A website that is simple and gently guides visitors in the direction you want them to go. Without confusing them with too many options at once or make them have to go through many pages around your site to get to the desired page.
Like I said people are becoming more and more lazy, you have to get their interest, attention and trust as quickly and effectively as you can.
2) Stay Fresh
If you want to maximise your websites potential this is not a one-off job. Many business owners create a website and leave it like that for as long as they can.
However to really get the best results you need to activate your page with regularly updated content, now this can be done in numerous different ways such as writing blogs.
This will benefit your website and business in many different aspects;
First of all Google love new, fresh (relevant) content, this will help to increase your search rankings and if it gets people to visit your site more often and spend longer on your website that will also look good in the eye of Google.
Like I said content such as a blogs will benefit you as it can make people visit your site more frequently and spend longer on your site which does help with your search rankings but it also establishes you as an expert in your field if you are adding valuable information.
This in turn can increase your sales as people will know to come to you for the service you?re offering or if people enjoy what you are writing about they will share your posts and recommend them to people.
3) Visible Contact Details
It is vital that your contact information is readily available on any page so its possible to convert a website visit into a sale. I still find it crazy that any business can continue to neglect such a central component of their site.
Make sure not to hide your contact information in a load of text on the ?About Us? page for example, this makes it harder to find. Your contact details should be located where they can be seen on any page, highlighting the method that the business is most interested in having consumers use to reach them.
For example, if generating a call is ideal, a number with a local area code should be displayed in bold on the top header.
It is also important from both a business and search perspective is making sure that the contact details displayed on your website is consistent with places like Google Places, social media and your business cards. This will not only ensure that customers receive the right information when they search for your business, but it will also raise the credibility of your business? listings in search.
4) Easy To Use Appealing Interface
While growing up you may have been taught ?Don?t judge a book by its cover?, however you?ll find many people 100% do this and this may include the consumers that you have targeted. Creating a well structured website which is visually appealing and has a easy-to-use navigation will automatically make your site more attractive and more user-friendly, this also reflects well on the professionalism of your business.
A website is your digital home, so it makes sense to fill that home with images. Images gauge peoples attention much better, visually seeing your previous work will capture visitors much better. Even testimonials that include an image of the client are proven to be more effective, than when someone has just used text.
Your business website is effectively your sales letter, your objective is to keep them as interested as possible for as long as possible, therefore avoid using links unless you actually want your visit to click them.
Many business do this by using a special link colour on an individual link on each page, this link should be the main area/ action that you want your visitor to complete, this as known at your Call To Action (CTA).
It may be a subscription link, or maybe a link to learn a bit more about you or your products, or maybe it?s the purchase link.
However in most cases every page should have a call to action link and it can be effective for these links to be a special colour. You just have to look at some of the biggest companies in the world such as;
Google use large blue buttons for their CTA?s.
Amazon use gold buttons.
However keep in mind that choosing the colour is not as vital as making it distinctly obvious to your visitors what you want them to do while on a web page.
5) Key Keywords
In order for your target audience to find you your site should consistently feature the keywords that consumers will use most when searching for your products and services.
The 1st step you should take when writing the content for your site is to write down a list of keywords that are applicable to your business and then order these in which you think consumers will type in most to find you. Remember to use both technical wording and man-on-the-street descriptors of each offering, as you cant be sure how much information a searcher will have on your service.
When you have your list of keywords aim to include these in your content however when only do so if it fits in to what you are saying.
You MUST write for your readers and not the search engines, if you are trying to spam keywords rather than writing correctly and making sense it will look and read terribly both to your reader and to search engines.
Another recommendation that I have would be to target the long tail of search traffic, these are the more specific search terms which usually get much less traffic individually than generic terms, however this means it is easier to rank for and they also tend to convert more easily.
6) Mobile friendly
Every year more people are spending more time browsing the Web on their phones and tablets rather than on their desktops and laptops. You need to seriously consider how your site looks on small devices and if you don?t already know then it almost certainly looks bad.
If you haven’t already, you have to seriously give some thought into responsive Design, which is an approach to web design made to create an optimal viewing experience no matter what device you visit a website on, no matter the screen size.
Not creating a mobile-friendly site could cost you customers, not only as people who use their mobiles may close your site as it is hard to read or looks bad on their phone but also because Google now have this as a necessity with their search algorithms so you will be punished for not having a mobile friendly website.
Also as discussed earlier if your normal site has an easy to use interface and for the content you use the KISS technique then it makes it much easier to make the site responsive.
7) Track Results
If you or your web design agency are not tracking your sites traffic, then you are effectively flying blind. If this is the case then you have a lack of the context needed to see the amount of visits to your site, where visitors come from, the keywords they have searched, and what pages they are spending the most time on (and the ones they aren’t). You should be regularly reviewing your site?s analytics results to find where you can improve website visibility and performance.
Many business owners understand to measure many other aspects of how they earn money or attract clients but forget that website statistics can be a substantial component of that.
8) Subscriptions not sales
Thousands of business owners expect and only aim for visitors to come to their website once and make a purchase, and instantly become a paying customer. Obviously it would be great to get some paying customers every time people visit your website, however many people do not purchase on their 1st visit to a site, if you are not trying to get more information about them or appeal to them in other ways than a purchase then you could be missing a great opportunity to market to potential customers before they?re ready to buy. Imagine two business websites in the same industry for this example we will look at an online shoe store.
Site A focused only on getting visitors to buy now.
Site B focuses on getting visitors to subscribe to the site?s blog which is all about the new fashions and their email mailing list which has offers, information on new products and industry expert interviews, although they of course still also let visitors buy now too.
Which company has a better long term plan and more sustainable growth?
You could test this yourself to find out, however the business which accepts subscribers will probably find that many visitors are happy to subscribe to a mailing list when they aren?t yet ready to buy, they then learn more about the company and its services / products from the blog/ emails.
When they are then more interested in a certain product/ service or the have the need for your service, then they become much more likely to purchase from your company rather than Site A.