14 Tips For a Successful New Small Business Website
- Develop priorities for your small business website
You’re certainly not alone if you’re getting a new small business website built because you simply have to have one these days. However, having specific prioritised goals in mind will really help focus your website to achieve these goals. Do you want to: educate prospects, generate phone inquiries, generate sales through e-commerce, capture leads for email marketing, etc.
- First steps to get traffic to your small business website
Unless your website is just there to provide information to you existing customers, you must know how you will get visitors. Website traffic does not just appear by itself. Some options to consider are: online or traditional display advertising, business directories, Social Media, PPC (Pay-Per-Click e.g. Google AdWords) advertising, SEO (Search-Engine-Optimisation) etc.
- Ask what your web designer needs from you early on
To avoid delays, give your website designer everything they ask for accurately and early on. Delays building your website will cost you in lost opportunities.
- Use a common website platform
Choosing a common platform means you have many more options to get help if you need to. One danger with a proprietary website platform is if the company that built it closes its doors. Getting support, upgrades or changes made for your small business website may become very difficult. Common Content Management Systems (CMS) that are easy to update yourself include: WordPress, Joomla and Drupal.
- Ensure your small business website is fast
Many tests have shown websites which load slowly really turn people off. Too slow and visitors just leave. Google doesn’t like it either. Don’t give people another excuse to leave your website and try the competition. Make it clear to your website designer that speed is important to you.
- Ensure your small business website is easy for Google to index
Search engines like certain elements in websites. Things like: A clear structure, sitemaps, meaningful URLs,relevant keywords in titles, etc. Your website should be built with at least basic Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) in mind. Choosing an SEO friendly CMS like WordPress is a great place to start.
- Use a reliable website host with good customer service
You should satisfy yourself that your hosting company is reliable, and your data is safe. Performance (speed) should also be a consideration. Even if your Web Designer is suggesting a host for your small business website it’s worthwhile finding out about them.
- Keep your small business website design clean and simple
A cluttered website design with poor navigation is a great way to get people to leave your website as quickly as possible. Your small business will best be served by a simple, easy to navigate and clean website design.
- Make your website mobile responsive
This means that your site will rearrange itself when read on small screens. It makes your website more readable and usable on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. A huge amount of people use mobile devices now, so don’t ignore this.
- Avoid Flash technology on your website
Flash in not compatible with most smartphones and tablets. Visitors to your website may be met by an error message or blank screen if you use Flash. This doers not leave a good first impression.
- Capture your visitors’ email addresses
Every small business should be capturing visitors’ email addresses for email marketing. Many visitors to your website will be doing research; they may not be ready to purchase immediately. Capturing their email addresses allows you to keep in touch for when they are ready
- Maintain brand consistency on your website
Assuming you already have branding design elements like: Logo, colours, fonts etc. these should be maintained on your new small business website. The design of your website should complement any existing marketing material you have.
- Give visitors what they want
Most of your visitors will have some expectations about what information they will find on your website. Certain pages like an about page and contact page are more or less mandatory. It’s important your visitors find what they expect to find; quickly and easily.
- Keep your website current and relevant
A stale and out of date website won’t win you any fans. Ensure you website uses a modern design and is kept up to date with useful and current information. At a minimum, you should check your website periodically to make sure all information is still current. Things like offers that have expired need to be removed when they expire. A regularly updated blog is a great reason for people to keep coming back.