All websites are different. All companies are different. All good business websites have things in common with other good websites though.
In this article, we’ll look at what all business websites have in common and give you a few ideas of what you could implement on your website to help covert convert potential customers into customers.
Have a Clear Goal
When building your website for your small business, it’s easy to get carried away with all the information you want potential customers to see and know about you. This can make a website difficult for people to follow, so they’ll go somewhere else.
Before you start building a website, you should be clear about what you want to achieve. Do you want to use it as a platform to sell your products or services? Are you looking to use it as a way to generate leads?
You’ll need to ask yourself what do your customers like? What do they dislike? What do they need?
Most importantly, what can you offer them that sets you apart from every other business offering the same thing? Don’t forget to make sure you include a clear and concise message about what the company does.
Once you’ve answered all these questions, you’ll be able to structure your entire site so it’s easy to follow for site visitors.
As a small business, you’ll know your brand is one of the most critical assets in your business. You are not just a logo. It encompasses everything from the way you answer the phone to the colours you use on your website and social media channels.
Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room, so it’s essential to get it right.
It’s worth taking some time to think about your brand before starting to build a website. Once you have a good understanding of your brand, you can think about how you want to represent it online.
Some things you’ll need to consider include:
- Your logo – does it reflect your brand? Is it time for a refresh?
- The colours you use on your website and social media channels – do they match your brand?
- Is the language you use consistent with how you speak to customers in person?
- The imagery you use – does it reflect your brand values?
Customer-first and foremost
When building your site, you should always have your customer in mind. A good website design is more than just how it looks. It’s about how it works too.
Your website needs to be easy to navigate and should guide visitors to the information they are looking for without them getting frustrated and giving up.
Getting this right will also help you with search engine rankings.
Make sure you include clear calls to action on every page, so people know what you want them to do, whether that’s buying a product, signing up
People need to be able to trust you. You need to demonstrate that you are an expert in your field to do this.
One way to do this is by using language correctly. This might seem like a small thing, but it’s essential.
For example, if you’re selling products to people in the UK, you need to use British English spellings (e.g. colour, not color).
It might not seem like a big deal, but using the wrong spelling can make you look unprofessional and as though you don’t care about your customers.
Your copy should be confident and authoritative. A good way of demonstrating you are an expert is to write blog posts. Quality content also helps you appear in search engine results.
If you can demonstrate that you are an expert in your field, people will be more likely to do business with you.
Calls to Action
A call to action is a section of your website that moves someone to do something. It could be buying a product, signing up for a newsletter, or anything else that benefits your business.
Calls to action need to be clear and concise. They should stand out from the rest of the content on the page so people can’t miss them.
The language you use in your call to action is essential. It needs to be confident and direct. For example, “Download our free eBook now” is better than “Click here to download our free eBook.”
Make sure you include a call to action on every page of your website and test them. You don’t want people clicking on a call to action and nothing happening.
Most people browse the web on either a mobile or tablet device. A mobile-friendly website is a website that’s been designed to look good on mobile devices and is user-friendly.
Always test your website on several devices to ensure it’s mobile-friendly. You’ll not be able to cater to all devices but if you can manage to get the main screen.
It doesn’t mean you have to buy every screen size on the market. Web browsers like Google’s Chrome have emulators in which you can test your website on different screen sizes.
Reviews and Case Studies
Reviews and case studies, otherwise known as social proof, are a great way of showing that people have had a good experience when dealing with your company.
Reviews help potential customers see that other people have used the small business before and been happy with the results.
People will always look for reviews before making a purchase decision so ensure that you’ve got as many as possible and always ask for reviews.
You can use free platforms like Google Business Profile to collect them. We made a complete guide on a Google business profile and why businesses should have a profile.
Keep your Website updated
Your website is usually one of the first places someone will interact with your business. Whether that’s from a google search or a potential customer may have seen one of your social media posts or ads that sent them looking for your website.
Your website is your business’s shopfront. If it’s not been updated in a long time, it’ll look stale, and people will probably look elsewhere.
Ensure you regularly update images and pages and make sure your contact details and opening times are up to date.
Periodically audit your website to make sure any internal links (links to other pages on your website) work correctly.
It’s worth considering writing a blog that provides website visitors with rich, relevant content and business news.
Blogs also make your website easier to find by search engines, helping you drive organic website traffic from prospective customers.
Social Media integration with your website is a good way of cutting down on some of the admin work, as you’ll be able to publish on one platform and update the other.
Page speed is a fancy term for describing how fast your page loads. On average, people expect your website to load in two seconds or less, especially on mobile.
Many different factors can impact this though, such as the website host and how many pictures you have on your site.
We’ve written a helpful guide that delves into what you can do to maximize load times in our search engine optimization article.
Security! Security! Security!
A business website will usually have some way to capture personal data.
Whether that’s just an email address or n eCommerce site debit card details, hacking is becoming a massive problem for any business, big or small, that has a website.
Don’t let yourself get complacent and by thinking you don’t get enough web traffic or that hackers won’t come for your website because you’re only a small business.
If your website gets compromised, a data breach could cost you thousands of pounds, no matter how small.
Not to mention the lost revenue because customers have gone elsewhere.
You should ensure your website is protected from attacks (and not just an SSL certificate). You’ll need to make sure you have firewalls in place, use a reputable hosting company, use tools like two-factor authentication and change your password regularly.
While you don’t want to have too many tools for people to choose from on your website as it will effect-site performance, you also want people to be able to complete whatever action they need to from your website.
Look around for tools you could use that mean customers can do everything they need from your website. For example, if you run a restaurant, you could use OpenTable to make it easy to book a table. If you run an online store, you could use Mailchimp to help you send marketing emails, business news, and offers to keep customers engaged.
Ultimately a good website is more than just looking pretty.
Any site should effectively tell your story and have a great user interface that works on desktops, tablets and mobile phones.
A good website should make it easy for potential customers to find what they’re looking for quickly and easily.
You offer quality content for consumption in the form of blogs or videos to help a google search find your website.
Ensure you review your pages regularly to make sure links work, and pages look like they should.
As well as what people see, you’ll also need to think about things behind the scenes such as website security, hosting provider, and how easy for a search engine to crawl through your site effectively.
If you’re a novice, it will take time and a lot of trial and error, but with a bit of dedication, anyone can make a great website for their small business.
If it all sounds too much, you could hire a web design agency that specialises in small business websites to help you get off the ground.
Usually, hiring a web design agency is a good call. They’ll be able to take care of all the technical aspects of running a website and help with search engine optimisation, so your brand new website gets in front of customers.