First of all, let’s keep it simple, I want to tell you a few things every small business website must have. I don’t know why, but for some reason, people seem to overcomplicate a web business, sometimes people want so much functionality, or want it to look really pretty, but to start with, a pretty website won’t make you money!
The most important thing we can do is to get our website up and running. One of the most important things we can do is to add content to our website as soon as possible, don’t worry too much about how it looks, just add content and get your website indexed in Google.
Fortunately, today it is very simple too put a straightforward website up, you may like to look at my article on building a website in 30 seconds! That’s really how easy it can be, admittedly we have to add content, but this can be done over a period of time. So let’s get to the basics.
You’re About Me Page
You’re about me page is probably the most important page on your website. I think we all like to know who we are dealing with, so it is good to have a good clear picture of yourself and to write about your relevant experience based on the niche of your website. I don’t know about you, but if someone invites me to connect on LinkedIn for example if I don’t see a photograph of the particular person, I don’t connect!
This is exactly the same for your website, write a very clear description of yourself, how you came to be in the niche you are in and what services you can offer. If you are able to make a video introduction of yourself this is a great thing to be able to do, people really start to get a better picture of you and can decide whether they would like to do business with you.
Your Domain Name
Your domain name is also very important, although the domain name is not quite so important as it was a few years ago. However, keep your domain name simple and straight to the point, I believe that the more your domain name explains your niche the more likely people are going to come to your website.
A definite no-no in a domain name is to make sure you do not have any dashes or symbols, people will never remember when symbols are and they will probably end up going to your competitor’s website. If a domain name is already taken, choose something different, when I start a new website, I often think about the domain name that I’m going to purchase, a long time before I set up the website, in this way it gives us time to find a decent domain name. You can find a domain name for your business at competitive rates and also competitive hosting packages here.
Most people would recommend a.com for your business unless you’re a charity or something similar, then .org is a good choice. I actually have a service business in the UK, so I use a.co.uk address as this particular business is a local business and I don’t need people searching for it from the rest of the world. I will often buy a.com and a.co.uk as if someone types in.com instead of.co.uk I can forward them to the correct address.
It is so important to have clear navigation on your website, the quickest way to drive people away from your website is to make it overcomplicated and difficult to navigate, this is so unnecessary. Make sure you have clear tabs that make it obvious where the customer is going, WordPress makes it very easy to do this, you can also have a drop-down menu in each category. If I go to a website and can’t find what I want quickly, I would normally go onto the next website which is hopefully simpler, once again, don’t overcomplicate!
Can Your Contact Page Be Found?
I go to so many websites where I can’t find the contact page, I normally start looking at the top of the page and then at the footer and sometimes actually have to go to the site map to find the contact page, I have no idea why web designers do this. It is so important that a contact page shows up clearly, ideally, with a contact form, their email address and telephone number. It’s also good to have your Skype details and your social media pages altogether.
Many websites today do not have a telephone number, personally, I think it’s good to have a telephone number where people can speak to you and ask questions, I know this does depend on what type of business you are running.
Google My Business
Having a Google my business page is a great idea as you can write a bit about yourself, add photographs, put in your opening hours, directions to your business, photographs and more! I regularly upload fresh content to my Google my business page, these are all things that help to get us found on the web and I believe that this is one of the most powerful ways that we can be found.
Something else that Google my business page offers is reviews, this can really be a huge boost to our business, when people see genuine Google reviews it can be a huge plus point, it certainly is good for me when I’m looking for a particular business, good reviews can make a difference between someone calling you and not calling you. Reviews also act as a type of accountability, no cutting corners, just offering a genuine service!
I often buy products online as I am one of these people who isn’t very keen on going out shopping! When I’m purchasing a product it’s always important that I know that the product is good, I must admit I do use Amazon quite a lot as I find the reviews very helpful, I normally look at the worst reviews first and then see the top reviews and the overall average. Having said this, I will often carry out a search for high review products only.
So it’s very important to have testimonials on your website as this gives people a great deal of confidence in buying your product or using your services, obviously this takes time to build testimonials, but over a period of time these testimonials build up and it gives people much more confidence and they could see that they are not the first person to use your services.
Call To Action
It’s important to have a call to action page or pages that make it very clear that you are here to help your customer and to give them the benefits of why they should use your services or product. Often buttons or a different colour text can be used to highlight the call to action or an autoresponder can be used to get people to sign up to your email list or to promote a special offer.
An autoresponder is a piece of software that automatically sends out emails. For example, you may want customers or potential customers to sign up for your monthly newsletter, you can get them to sign up and then your monthly newsletter is automatically sent out to them every month. Maybe you want to send your customers a short course or a promotion, so this can also be sent out through your autoresponder, if you are creating a course this can be sent out in a series of for example 10 different emails over a period of time. Autoresponders are a great way to communicate with your customers, it takes time to build a list, but once you have your email list you can potentially sell to that person on a regular basis.
Every website needs a decent hosting package, for many small businesses shared hosting is probably fine, however, if your website is going to receive a lot of traffic you may need to upgrade your hosting to a more powerful non-shared host. Make sure you use a genuine company for your hosting as secure reliable hosting is very important, there’s nothing much worse than having your website hacked. Also, it is important to use a hosting company where contact is straightforward. You can see the hosting package that I use here, they have a 24-hour local number should you need to contact them, to me this gives huge peace of mind.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
I think search engine optimisation is something that if we’re not careful we can overcomplicate, maybe going back a few years this was more important. Some people would not agree with me, but I feel the best thing you can do is to write quality, accurate and informative content, this way Google will find you. Don’t just right for the sake of writing, just right good valuable content that helps solve people’s problems or gives them the answer that they need to know.
Fresh Content And Blogging
Every website needs fresh and regular content, I know many business owners do not want to write fresh content, but it is very important to write content regularly, I appreciate this is more difficult for some businesses depending on your niche. I always think of a website being like a shopfront, if a shopfront stays the same people tend to ignore it, but if they see it with new products, a different background or something stands out, they will properly stop and take a look.
I believe that this is the same for our website, we need fresh content with fresh information, whether it be about the product you’re selling or the services that you are providing, fresh content helps to get you found in Google.
I have an off-line business which provides a service and the service isn’t particularly exciting and yet I can be found on Google all over the place. This is because I take photographs of jobs and write a short blog post about what I am doing, this really pushes me up in the search engines, it takes effort, but it’s well worth doing.
A People Friendly Website!
Make your website clear and friendly and welcoming, break up the text into small bite-sized paragraphs with H2 headings above every different paragraph subject, there’s nothing worse than looking at a whole block of text with no breaks in. At the same time you want to keep our website simple and straight to the point, bullet point so good and coloured text help your website stand out. Avoid flashing pictures, moving text and music as these can be annoying and put your customers off.
Please feel free to comment below.
The Christian Internet Marketer