Now that your Small Business’s Website is live, it’s time to ask yourself the following questions:
Is all the information on my site accurate, current and relevant?
Can my customers readily access all the pages on website without any dramas?
Is my Website well protected and secure?
These are some of the most essential things that should be your main focus when building a new Website as a Small Business Owner. If you can tick off each of these questions confidently, you’ll have a great Website that gives your Business strong foundations in the Digital World. With this in mind, we’ve created this helpful list of essential features that really should be non-negotiables for your Website.
Important Small Business Information
If your Website has the elements, including a Homepage, About, Products and Services pages, then you’re on the right track.
Information on your ‘Home’ and ‘About’ Page should be informative and should perfectly reflect what your Business does, how this will help your potential customers and capture the tone and character of your Business.
While capturing all this however, it’s important not to get carried away with the length of the content. Try and keep your sentences sharp and to the point, without getting too side-tracked. People’s attention spans are much shorter today in comparison to the pre-digital era. The ‘less is more’ approach, coupled with high resolution imagery, is more than enough to let the visitor know what your brand is about.
Client testimonials and customer reviews can also be an extremely valuable addition to any Website, as they show evidence that your Business offers a superior service.
People connect with other people’s stories. So, by offering your potential customers access to stories that reflect you in a positive way, you’re giving them peace of mind that their purchase with you will be worthwhile – it was for these other people, see!
How to Reach You
Like your ‘Home’ and ‘About’ Pages, your ‘Contact Us’ Page is crucial to converting visitors into customers. This page is oftentimes where potential customers will go first if they are ready-and-raring to buy straight away, as they’ll be wanting to know how to book an appointment, find your physical address or give you a call.
It’s also important to give your site visitors the option to email or call you with queries they have regarding your services or products. It could be a question they have that’s stopping them from buying from you, so you want to give them a way to have this question answered! If you don’t display your contact information on your Website, or else make it difficult to find, you’ll not only lose customers, you’ll also frustrate people who want to get in touch, which can be damaging for your reputation.
You’ve heard the age-old saying that an image speaks a thousand words? Well, it’s true. Having good quality images that are relevant to your Business will showcase your products or services in the best way.
High quality images also serve to make your site look more professional and authoritative. But watch out: you should never put a bad image on your Website! Low quality images that are badly shot or of poor quality can seriously damage how visitors view your Website. Think about it, if someone lands on your Homepage, only to be greeted by an awful image, they won’t even hesitate to click that back button straight away.
If you're a Small Business retailer with an Ecommerce Store, having great, hi-resolution product images is also a must. Try having multiple images of the one product taken from various angles. The more of your product that visitors can see, the, the greater the chance they’ll purchase from you.
When considering your own Website, it is absolutely vital that you consider the user experience and maximise this as much as possible. With a clean, simple and easy-to-navigate Website, customers will be more likely to have a pleasant ‘browsing’ experience and will be more inclined to use your services.
One simple way to know if your offering visitors a user-friendly experience, is to watch a friend navigate their way through your Site. This will give you a good idea of where they are inclined to click next, what draws their attention and how easy it is for them to perform their desired action. If they are forced to ask where to find your phone number, or how they add a product to their Shopping Cart, then you know you have a problem.
The Right Security
If your Small Business sells anything Online, you need to secure your site with a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate. This SSL will encrypt communications between you and your clients (including credit card numbers and bank details), which will reduce the risk of hacking, viruses and identity theft. Put it this way, you’re not going to buy a new car without making sure it’s equipped with the latest central locking systems and alarms.
Having an SSL certificate also makes your Website more appealing to Search Engines. In 2014, Google announced that Websites with SSL would be viewed more favourably than those without, meaning that they would rank more highly in search results. So, if you don’t secure your site properly, not only will people be hesitant to buy on your Website, but you’ll also likely drop in search result rankings.
Social Media Access
A Social Media presence really is necessary for Small Businesses in today’s day and age. Further to this however, these Social Media icons should be embedded into your Website, so visitors can easily like and share your content, or visit your Social Channels easily.
Depending on your Small Business and industry, you should consider joining popular social networks Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and Instagram. You don’t necessarily need profiles on every single one, simply choose which is best for you.
Social Media is a critical part of Marketing your business. Integrating these platforms into your Website will help boost your SEO, increase audience engagement and improve your business's traction across numerous Social Platforms.
It’s in your Small Business’s best interest not to take the quality of Website Hosting for granted. A slow Website is frustrating and can very quickly turn off your potential customers.
These days, Web users expect access to Websites almost instantly, meaning that if your site takes longer than a few second to load, people won’t hesitate to leave just as quickly! Furthermore, a good Web Host will offer you superior support, meaning that if you ever experience technical difficulties, they’ll be able to fix it quickly and efficiently. This will ensure your visitors have the best and most optimum browsing experience.
These all may seem like simple and obvious things to include and optimise on your Website, but it’s absolutely vital to get them right! Without these few Website staples, you could lose your Business customers by the bucket load. However, armed with this list, you’ll have the best chance of creating a Website that offers a superior customer experience, entices potential customers and keep them coming back for more!