An effective website can help improve search engine optimization, boost credibility, and drive conversions from your potential customers. But how can you know that your website has all the right elements to be effective? Start by understanding these basics of an effective small business website.
1. A Good Domain Name. The URL, or Web address, of your business website not only tells visitors about your business, but it’s also a critical factor in optimizing your website for search. Choose a domain name that is clear and succinct, like your business name. If your business name is too long, doesn’t quickly communicate what your business does, or does not include any important keywords, you may consider adding a short descriptive word to your domain name. Here are a few other domain name tips to consider:
- Choose a .com domain rather than .net or .org when possible.
- If URL you would like is taken, consider adding your city or state.
- Pick a URL that is short, memorable, and easy to type.
- Try to avoid using hyphens or numbers.
- Make sure the name you choose is not copyrighted.
- Register the domain name with a credible service, for a good length of time.
2. Easy-to-Find Contact Information. Contact information such as your phone number or email address, along with business information like your hours and location, are critical pieces of information for visitors. Giving potential customers at least one way to reach you helps you generate leads and sales, and provides a smooth user experience. Make sure this information is present at the top of every page, so even if a visitor leaves your home page, they don’t have to search for a way to contact you.
3. A Strong Call to Action. If the primary goal of your small business website is to generate leads, make sure to include a relevant call to action that compels visitors to convert. This communicates the action you want a visitor to take, encouraging potential customers to contact you, in turn boosting conversions from your site. Use a clear statement, like “Get a Free Quote” and pair with it with the desired contact method, like a phone number or contact form. Emphasize the importance of your call to action by placing it at the top of the page and using a unique design element, color, or font so that it stands out from the rest of the content on the page.
4. Logo, Images, and Video. An easy way to make your site look professional is by including your business logo, professional images, and even a video that introduces yourself or your business. Your logo is a key part of your brand and should be included at the top of every page. You may also want feature a few high-resolution photos that showcase the life of your business. For instance, images of a completed project or real photos of your staff, such as in their working environment or during community involvement, can add credibility and likeability to your business. You can also use short videos to convey a quick welcome message; plus, they have been shown to increase the amount of time a visitor spends on your site.
5. Relevant Pages. In addition to your home page, there are a few other pages that are essential to your small business website. Two no-brainers are a “product” or “service” page that highlights your key offerings and an “about” page that describes your business and your goals. Also consider incorporating a ”testimonials” page that features customer reviews, a “press” page that highlights important press mentions, and a blog that provides useful tips. These pages can help you build credibility with potential customers and drive them closer to a purchase. Plus, a website that has more pages of descriptive and educational content can index better on search engines than a site without much information.
6. Social & Subscription Links. Social media has become a necessary outlet for small businesses to promote their products and services and to connect with consumers online. So, your website should direct potential customers to follow your social pages so you can continue to engage with them and share content like useful tips, photos and videos, and special offers or promotions. Like your contact information, you should consider featuring buttons that link to your Facebook, Twitter, YouTube channel, blog, or other content or social sites on the footer or header of every page of your website to remind visitors of your presence on those social sites and encourage them to connect with you there. Similarly, if your business has an electronic newsletter or mailing list, you should highlight the opportunity to subscribe in order to continue the conversation with visitors.
7. SEO Structure & Content. Investing in a local search engine optimization (SEO) strategy can help your site rank in organic search results and help more prospects find your site. SEO can take place both in the content of your site as well as in the metadata of each page. Plus, the structure of your site can affect its performance in search, so talk to your Web developer about using a search-engine friendly format for building your site. For your content, it’s important to choose 3-5 primary keywords related to your business that you can include in the copy of your pages. Each page should focus on one core keyword. On each page, position the primary keyword at the beginning of the headline and in the first paragraph of copy to establish its importance to search engines. You can also include links to other pages both on and off your site to increase search relevance. Finally, include your keyword in the meta title, description, and tags for each page, as well as in the meta titles of your images, which search engines will also factor into how they rank your site.
What elements do you think are critical for every small business website to have? What strategies have you implemented to boost traffic and conversions on your website? Let us know in the comments!