Running a company is time consuming and websites are often put on an “I’ll get to that when I am done doing real work for customers” list. We’re going to go over the top 5 small business website essentials that are overlooked by almost every business owner.
#5 Your Website Message VS Design
Business owners, especially new ones, obsess over design. Spending valuable time and resources on making a unique design that allows them to stand out from their competition. They agonize over button color, branding, logo size, font type, and flashy objects. Often this style of “over-designing” leads to fewer sales in the long-run because of page speed and SEO rankings with a site that slides and whistles.
Your Small Business Focus
The focus should be the message of what you are offering and how you are different. Focus on getting your business model and messaging dialed in before working on branding, because in the end, the branding needs to match the message to be effective.
#4 Website Image Optimization
New phones take pictures that are massive in size. What you don’t realize is that when you upload this large photo to social media, the images are automatically resized to be compressed and in the best format for the web. When you have your own website, unless you have a plugin or something similar, your images are going to be too large for the web. This is another instance of “over-designing” being easy, but creating something clean is more difficult.
Consider the image size on your website
Don’t just throw images onto the site because they look good, understand the difference between image size (width and height) vs image size (megabytes) and what is the best optimization practices. If you’ve already uploaded these images and want to know if they’ve affected your site, click here: Website Speed Self Diagnosis. There are plugins available for speed increases and image optimization, especially on WordPress sites.
#3 Call To Action
An essential item for sales is a call to action. Within a brick and mortar setting, it is easy for a customer to understand the action. Walk in, look at products, bring it to the register, pay and leave. Online it is a bit more obscure because there are other actions they can take. Do you want a customer to call, fill out a form, view your portfolio, or buy a product?
Your essential website action item
Create a clear call to action that is easy for customers to understand and include it naturally throughout the site. Make the button large and easy to click on mobile.
#2 Search Engine Optimization
This is similar to #5 in business owners putting design over message. Small business owners get overly concerned about the way the page looks and are not at all concerned about how the page functions. There is a balance between writing for people and writing for search engines. Finding that balance can find you many new customers.
Hire a specialist or spend a lot of time researching
SEO is an ever-changing environment for best-practices. What is constant is that great quality content gets found easier. Keep up to date by taking SEO classes and signing up for SEO software programs to track your website. The common misconception is that SEO is just keywords. In reality, it is a balance of many things on your website from site speed to site structure to page structure.
#1 Consistent Updates
A well-oiled machine needs to stay oiled. Plugins need to be updated and platforms add security updates that need to be added. Too often, small business owners think that a website is a set-it and forget-it expense to their business. Those same business owners lose their websites and potential customers to hackers. In another sense too, not just keeping your website up-to-date, but also your web design and content. Best practices for code update every year and your customers need to see that you are adding new content.
Update your website regularly
Update your platform for security purposes, update your design to have the cleanest code available, and keep your pages/posts/products current by updating content and adding new content. Did a customer ask you a question last week about a product? Add it into an FAQ section to your website. Think of a common topic that comes up often? Create a blog post that helps your customers understand it better. Are you closed for the holiday? Update your website to keep them informed.
In Conclusion: Focus on These Small Business Website Essentials
Focus on your message first, then work towards building a design around it. Then keep your website up to date and follow best practices for SEO to keep those customers coming and engaged.