Every website is different, but there are a ton of common elements that all websites should have. Without these, visitors often become frustrated and leave the site long before they purchase a product or achieve the desired goal. Here are 30 proven elements every small business website should have in order to ensure your website provides visitors with the best possible user experience. A well-designed website will convert more visitors to customers and help you see a rise in profits!
30 Proven Elements Every Small Business Website Should Have!Click To Tweet
1. DESCRIPTIVE ABOUT PAGE
I recently dedicated a whole article talking about the process of transforming your about page and there’s good reason for it! The about page is vital to setting the tone of your website. It should provide a more personalized look at your company and also help build trust with your visitors.
2. A CLEAR CALL TO ACTION
All too often websites make it difficult for visitors to attain the goal you've laid out so clearly in your head. Do you want them to sign up to your mailing list? Purchase a product? Contact you? Request a callback? More importantly, what do your visitors want to do when they arrive at your website? There are lots of potential website goals, but whatever yours is, you must make the call to action to achieve this goal clear and simple.
3. AN EMAIL SUBSCRIPTION BOX
A simple way to increase the number of leads your website generates is to allow people to subscribe to your email newsletter. Regularly emailing your audience is an excellent way to build relationships and drive sales. There are many free newsletter subscription services to help you get setup quickly and easily.
4. PHONE NUMBER PROMINENTLY DISPLAYED
Despite all the effort you put into building your website and ensuring it contains everything your customers find useful, some people simply prefer to talk. Providing a phone number adds trust to your website, making potential customers feel like they have a real person to interact with in times of need, rather than just a faceless website and email address. Your phone number should be prominently displayed on your website somewhere above the fold and several times sitewide.
5. HOURS OF OPERATION
This is especially critical if your business provides a hospitality service (a bar, restaurant, fast food etc). Your opening hours should be easy to find and accurate at all times. A link in the header of your website, along with your phone number, is often one of the best places to include these details.
6. CLEAR CONTACT PAGE
It’s difficult to cover all your customers questions on one website, and sometimes, it’s often better to leave some questions unanswered in order to prompt leads to contact you. Having an easily accessible contact page with a form rather than an email address will ensure your visitors can always get in touch when they need to.
7. A MAP SHOWING YOUR LOCATION
Do you often have customers or suppliers visiting your office? Are you in the hospitality industry where customers are often trying to find you on the move? A Google map on your contact page, or a specific “Find Us” page, is critical to ensure your customers arrive happy and relaxed when you meet them in person.
8. SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS
The way you interact digitally with your target market has probably changed drastically in recent years. Now, business profiles on social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are just as important as your website. Ensure social media links are displayed clearly throughout your website, so your leads and customers can interact with you on a more personal level.
9. PHOTOS OF YOU AND YOUR TEAM
You might not like your photo being taken, but adding a photo of you or your team is an excellent way of personalizing your website and adding a face to the business. It builds trust and gives your visitors confidence to purchase from you.
— Entrepreneur (@Entrepreneur) September 5, 2016
10. CUSTOMER TESTIMONIALS
There aren’t many better ways of convincing visitors to buy than descriptive, genuine customer testimonials. Adding a photo of the customer, or even better a video testimonial can give even more weight to an already powerful trust and confidence builder.
11. AN INCENTIVE TO CONVERT
I spoke earlier about considering the goal of your customers, but now we need to entice them to achieve that goal. A free white paper when they subscribe to your email newsletter, or a discount on services if they buy today, are common strategies to incentivize your call to actions.
12. PROFESSIONALLY WRITTEN COPY
There’s nothing worse on a website than spelling errors and grammatical mistakes. It looks cheap, unprofessional and will turn more customers away than most other website errors. If copywriting isn’t your strength, invest and pay for a professional copywriter to work with you to produce content that is engaging and error free.
13. GOOD SEARCH ENGINE KEY PHRASES
If your website visitors are likely to search for your services, it’s important you think about the phrases they may search for and ensure your copy contains these. If your business is primarily local, try to ensure your local towns and cities are mentioned in your copy. If you’re struggling, there are professional search engine optimization companies that can help boost your search engine rankings.
14. A MOBILE FRIENDLY WEBSITE
With more than 50% of Internet users now using a mobile device such as a tablet or smartphone, it’s now absolutely critical your website works seamlessly across all devices. All good website designers will be able to provide a quote to include this feature in your new website design, or convert your current design so it is mobile friendly.
15. A SIMPLE WEBSITE ADDRESS
Keep your website address short and simple. Try to use full words rather than initials or acronyms, and always stick to popular extensions such as .com, .org, or your own country extension such as .co.uk or .com.au
16. A SITE MAP
Building a site map (a page containing links to all areas of your website) can sometimes be tedious, but there are lots of tools available that can do it automatically. Site maps are excellent for both visitors and search engines alike, ensuring everybody can find all your website content from one easy to navigate page.
17. A BLOG
Blogs don’t have to be complicated. As long as you have a way of easily updating a page with new content on a regular basis, then consider yourself the owner of a company blog. A Blog is abosutely one of the essential elements every small business website should have because it helps get your business discovered more easily on the search engines. Use this area to add your latest news and talk about solutions to problems your customers often encounter. It’s excellent commentary for your customers, and just as useful for boosting your search engine rankings.
18. GOOD QUALITY WEB HOSTING
Partnering with a good quality web host is essential for any successful business. If your website isn’t loading or your emails stop working, it’s your web host who should be there to help. Ensure your web host has 24/7 support available, ideally phone support too, and ensure they make regular backups of your website in case you ever need them in an emergency.
19. SEARCH FUNCTIONALITY
On large websites especially, it’s important to have a text search where visitors can type a phrase and find a list of results on your website that match. If you’re using a content management system such as WordPress, it’s likely to already have a search function built in. If you’re not using a content management system, Google Site Search is an excellent solution.
If your business is based in Europe, or your website serves customers from Europe, you must receive permission from your visitors to store cookies on their machine. Cookies are little pieces of data stored on visitors computers to remember certain pieces of information, such as their login user name or purchase history.
21. A SECURE SSL CERTIFICATE
If you’re selling products online or customers are handing over personal data, you must have an SSL certificate which makes your website secure. This prevents criminals from accessing customers personal data such as credit card information or address.
22. USEFUL ANALYTICS
Once your website is live, it’s important to know how well it is performing. Ask your website designer to install Google Analytics. They should then be able to give you access so you can see the stats yourself (ie. how many visitors your website receives and where they arrive from) or they will be able to provide you a monthly report to show you the performance of your website.
23. FEEDBACK MECHANISMS
Receiving feedback from your customers is as important as ever, and is now easier than ever to receive. Installing a tool such as Get An Insight will display a small feedback tab at the edge of your website. Once clicked, customers can send you their thoughts and suggestions quickly and easily.
24. LINKS TO OTHER WEBSITES
Do you notice all the links to external websites in this article? There are two clear reasons for doing this and these are definitely key elements every small business website should have. First and foremost it is helpful for our readers to receive further information from elsewhere. And just as important, linking to other authority websites is a proven technique to improve your search engine rankings.
25. A SIMPLE ORDER PROCESS
Does your order process require visitors to sign up with a user name and password? Is it six pages long? If so, it’s time to simplify. Reduce the steps required to make a purchase, and ensure visitors can purchase without having to sign up. By doing this, more customers will buy, and they will be happier at the end of the process when they have just become your customer.
26. WORKING HYPERLINKS
It sounds simple, but broken hyperlinks are a pain for everybody, website owner, and visitor alike. Use an automated service to check your website on a regular basis for broken hyperlinks to ensure nobody ever hits a “Page Not Found” error.
30 Proven Elements Every Small Business Website Should Have!Click To Tweet
27. OUTSTANDING IMAGERY
Images can make or break your website. Just like with copy writing, it’s worth investing money into professional photography to display your products. Likewise, if you’re using stock photography, ensure the photos are of a high quality and clearly relate to your visitors.
28. EXCELLENT LOAD SPEED
As more people surf the Internet on their mobile devices, often via a 3G connection rather than via Wi-Fi, it’s as important as ever to ensure your website loads quickly. If your website isn’t loading in a couple of seconds, you’re likely to disappoint at least half of your visitors. To increase your website load speed, keep your website simple, compress images so they are small in file size, and use a web host who hosts your files in a location close to where the majority of your visitors reside. For example, if you primarily serve US East Coast visitors, using a web host who stores your files in London is going to reduce your website load time for most of your visitors, compared to a web host storing your files in New York.
29. A GOOD CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
If you want to avoid constantly asking your website designer to update your website, a user-friendly content management system, such as WordPress, will allow you to complete most copy and image updates. Be careful though… this can be time-consuming, so it may provide a better return to simply ask your website designer to do it for you.
30. SECURE BACKUPS
Just like your office computer, it’s entirely possible that one day the computer storing your website files (managed by your web host) will crash and be too badly damaged to fix. In this case, it’s absolutely critical you have your website files backed up. Web hosts often provide these backups for you, but don’t rely on them. If you use your website to sell your products and earn revenue, it’s your responsibility to keep your own backups in case of emergency. Speak with your web host for advice if you’re not sure how to create a backup.
Some of the 30 proven elements every small business website should have are more important than others, and I hope you’ll find the right elements for your particular website. Rest assured, if you follow the advice here, your website will prove effective, secure, and dynamic for all your visitors and customers alike.
What do you feel are the most important elements for your small business website? Do you need help? Feel free to contact me for a free consultation.
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