Create an Awesome Small Business Website People WANT to Visit.
It’s the gateway to your business…it’s open 24 x 7 x365…and it represents everything you have to offer.
It’s your website, and it likely is failing you in MANY ways.
I have noticed a very disturbing trend for entrepreneurs, start-ups and small businesses when it comes to their website. They do not understand how to design a site that is engaging, easy to use/navigate, relevant to the firm’s ideal customers, and refreshed to remain interesting so visitors to their website want to keep coming back.
Fear not small business owner. Your business website can be fixed. Just follow these guidelines and you will have a world-class website in NO time.
1. Understand what your website will be used for: Is your website going to be used for education, to entertain, or to generate sales. Understanding what your website’s primary purpose is, will help you to understand how to design it for the maximum benefit of your website visitors.
2. Get your top customers involved. Want to understand what your customers want from your website? Ask them! Have them involved in the content creation for your business website, and certainly involve them in the design by having a select few of your ideal customers (five to ten will do just fine) be involved in testing of your website. Have them try to navigate around, see if the content is appealing to them. Can they find what they are looking for in TWO clicks, or less? If not, they won’t bother struggling to find what they need. They will simply leave your website…and likely won’t come back.
3. Update your content constantly. While you won’t need to continuously update all the content on your site, one of the major factors in how relevant your site is when it comes to Google and search is whether you are updating your site’s content. Information you can add/update on a regular basis include events, trade shows and conferences you attend, link your site to your blog and write a blog post every 1-2 weeks, provide links to partners, resources, case studies, white papers, industry research, and useful resources.
4. Video is King. Be sure to create a videos section with 2-3 minute videos of you and your partners talking on various topics related to your core business offerings. Google looks VERY favorably on video being included on your site. They own YouTube, after all and it’s the second most popular search engine for a reason. People LOVE watching videos!
5. Links to Partners Matter. By including external links to your partner’s websites and having them link back to your site, Google will also look favorably upon your site and consider it to be more relevant than competitors that do not have links. Understand though that your partners must be reputable firms that have an established following.
6. Embed All your pages with analytics. Go to www.google.com/analytics and enter the link for every one of the pages of your site. Google will create custom code for each page of your site. You will need to embed that Google generated code onto each page of your website. Doing so will enable you to track the traffic that comes to your site.
7. Pay attention to the Analytics. Spend time analyzing what the traffic figures tell you. Bounce rate is the percent of folks that come to your site and leave right away. How many people are coming to your site for the first time. Having a high bounce rate or high number of first time visitors will tell you people don’t like what they see when they get to your site and/or they do not come back. You should also know where people are coming to your site from? Are they arriving from searches, your social media pages, partner sites, or elsewhere? Knowing WHERE visitors are coming from when they get to your website REALLY matters. You will want/need to know how long they spend on your site (in time and number of pages viewed.) Additional insights include: where visitors live (cities, countries, and regions of the world), and the language they are searching in.
8. How does your site rank? There are many free services that you can use to determine how effective your site is. Some tools/resources include websites like www.Klout.com, and www.hubspot.com. These sites look at your website and come up with a diagnostic report of how effective your website is. go ahead and try doing this. The results might just amaze you.
9. Quick hits to make a site sticky. Have your telephone number and email prominently displayed on EVERY page, make sure your contact us page works, allow people to post comments, and have icons for your social media accounts displayed on the top of every page. Have a very sharp logo professionally designed on the top-left hand corner of your site. You want to have a LOT of white space (think Apple) with effect color contrast, easy to read text font and all critical information above the fold (at the top of the screen.) Architect your site so it can be displayed with maximum visual impact on all three platforms (mobile, tablet, and laptop/PC.)
10. Brand your business on your website. Make sure that your website’s branding perfectly matches your print materials, and your social media pages.
11. Blog, blog, blog. In real estate it’s all about LOCATION. In building a strong online presence through your website, be sure to have a blog nested withing your site. A platform like WordPress creates a bridge between your website and your blog so you can easily drive traffic back and forth between your site and your blog.
12. Re-design your website at regular intervals. An acceptable time frame to re-design your site is every one to two years. Certain factors may necessitate a more frequent update cycle, such as major new markets you enter, new products and services offered, new target markets pursued, any mergers, acquisitions, and/or partnerships your firm goes through.
13. Content is king. I know, I know, I already said Video is king. Sure, videos DO matter and the total content placed on your site is critically important! How do you know WHAT content matters most to your site’s visitors? In order to place relevant text, pictures, photographs, charts, etc. that people care about, you MUST spend time on Google adwords to learn the two to three keyword search terms that people search for every month that are relevant to your business/organization. Once you figure out the search terms people are searching for most frequently, make sure you use those terms on as many of your pages as you can. Not only does the content on your pages make a huge difference to your site’s overall relevance, but there is something equally important you never see ON your website and that is called “meta data.”
14. Information about information is “Meta data.” Meta data are the descriptions (50-250 words) that you use to describe what is on your pages. Be sure to use all of the most critically important (relevant) terms to describe what is on your page.
Well, there you have it. My list of best practices you should implement on your website, in order to create a world-class site that your best customers, employees, partners, members of the media, and potential investors will all WANT to visit. The goal is to have the people that you want to visit your website visit time and time again, to learn more about you, your business, and what you’re up to.
How many of these best practices do you implement with your business website?
Ethan Chazin, The Compassionate Coach
Create an Awesome Small Business Website People WANT to Visit.