10 things that should be on your website
In business, you only get one chance to make a good first impression, and your company’s website is no different. When customers arrive at your site they should instantly have a clear understanding of who you are, what you do, and what you offer. An old-school marketing rule was the “30 second elevator pitch”. If you had a potential client just step into an elevator with you, could you describe your business in the time it takes to get to your floor? Could you close the sale in that amount of time? Your website should do that with the very first page someone lands on.
A recent survey by Chantilly, Va.-based local media and advertising research group BIA/Kelsey indicates that nearly 75 percent of small-business websites don’t have an email link on their homepage. And six out of 10 don’t have a phone number. At a minimum, your website should have a clear link to a “Contact Us” page. If your business has a physical location, the front page should include the full address as well as a map.
Images that represent what you do
If you sell widgets, the first page should have a picture of one of your widgets. As basic as this sounds, many business sites use irrelevant graphics and generic stock images, or worse, none at all. Don’t make them spin or shake or do anything else that can be distracting or irritating! If you have multimedia, sound or video, don’t automatically start playing it when the page loads, let the visitor decide!
Clear, simple navigation
The front page, and really all, of your site, should have an easy navigation system. Usually this is across the top, or along one side of the page or the other. Make your navigation identical on all pages so that visitors don’t get lost. The links should be clear wording that corresponds to the content on your site and helps visitors quickly find what they’re looking for, ideally within 3 clicks.
About Us page
Part of your navigation system should include an “About / About Us” page. Describe yourself and/or your business. Personalize it, explain WHY you own or started the business, show your passion, tell your visitors what it is that makes you different than others in your particular business category. You’re probably not in a business that you hate, or doing something you don’t love, tell your visitors why it is you love it so much, and why you do what you do!
Unify your look
If you have one logo on your business cards, another for your invoices, and a completely different “look & feel” on your website, visitors are not going to look favorably on you and your business. Make sure you have a unified look so you can begin building “brand recognition” in whatever form someone sees your business. Think how many logos companies like Nike or Chevy have! Insist your website using the same logo, fonts, and colors as your business cards and other forms of advertising.
An email signup box
One effective way to encourage customer loyalty is with a regular newsletter. Put a signup box on the front page of your website and offer rewards, such as a discount on a future order to anyone who submits his or her email address. Services such as AWebber or ConstantContact offer cost effective ways of doing this.
Social media links
Everyone knows social media is crucial to small businesses right? Make sure your front page has links to the social media sites that you actually use. Don’t put a link to Twitter if you never Tweet. Likewise, if you link to a social media account, take the time, DAILY, to put something there for your customers to read. Don’t just re-broadcast links and Memes, actually TALK to your customers, converse with them, don’t bombard them with more useless information, talk about current trends, techniques, or even tech in your business. Teach your customers!
Update your copyright notice
Nothing says lazy & careless more than a website that has a copyright notice that is four years old! Make sure YOU visit your site regularly, checking for outdated material and copyrights.
Your website’s front page should be refreshed once a year. Make sure you have a clear and concise navigation structure that allows a returning visitor to see what’s new. New visitors should be able to see you’ve added something new within the last year, even if your product or service doesn’t change, re-write your content to freshen things up. If your small business website is blog based, they should be able to see if you’ve posted something recently, if you haven’t posted anything new in the last year or more, they will probably turn away!
Have a clear, simple link to your pricing page. For some small businesses pricing may not be the competitive advantage over their competition, however most consumers today know that you often get what you pay for. If you sell widgets slightly higher than your competitor, tell your visitors why they should pay your price (better service, better quality, etc.). Even if your business is quotation based, give your visitors a starting point for pricing. If they’ve found your site, it’s because they want to know more information, what you offer, what you can do for them to solve a problem, and how much it’s going to cost. Even if it’s only a rough estimation of costs as examples, give your visitor a starting point. It will also help weed out those that are shopping purely on price alone which you may not want to deal with anyways!
Testimonials / referrals / reviews
Make sure your front page links to, or has testimonials or referrals. Today’s consumer is much more inclined to purchase from a business that has good, honest, reviews and testimonials than one that doesn’t. Even if your business is “brick and mortal” based, take the results from your customer feedback surveys and get them on your site (you DO survey your customers don’t you?!?). Prospective customers want to know what kind of service and/or product they can expect when they purchase from you!
Yes, that was 11 things wasn’t it? Good for you for paying attention. We did it on purpose, it’s just one more way we exceed your expectations!