What makes a website effective?
Businesses across the nation rely on websites to attract customers into their stores or for e-commerce. TJ McCue, a contributor for the Small Business Administration, says: “Sales today often hinges on a website. You need some sort of presence online to participate in the many marketing channels available.”
If you want your website to be useful, it should look professional and be easy to navigate. Here are 11 things to include on a website.
1. Business name
Make sure your business’s name is clear. It should be on the first page of your website and should stand out. Potential customers won’t remember the name of your business if they can’t easily find it on your website.
2. Information about your products or services
Be upfront about what you do. Users don’t want to be searching around your website trying to figure out the purpose of your business. List information about your products or services.
You might want to include the cost of your products or services. If prices fluctuate, it might be a good idea to give a range for the price of your products. For example, if you sell knitted blankets, you can say $20-$30.
Include photos of what you offer. Even if you provide a service, use photos. For example, if you have a stump removal service, show before and after pictures.
3. Business address and map
Make it easy for users to find your business’s location. A lot of people use websites to look for addresses so they can find small businesses. Clearly label the street number, city, state, and zipcode. If you are in a building with multiple offices, don’t forget to include your office number.
Another nice touch for your website is to include a map of your business and the surrounding area. And, you can offer directions for people coming from the highway. Including directions could be especially useful if you have a second business location.
4. Store hours
Store hours are also important to include on your website. A potential customer might not know when your business is open. Try to include a list of days or holidays when you will be closed.
5. Phone number and email address
Make sure people know how to get a hold of your business if they have any questions or concerns. Contact information should be readily available as soon as someone goes on your business’s website.
Include your business’s telephone number and email address so users have multiple ways to reach out to you.
6. Mission statement
Who are you? What does your business aim to do? A mission statement describes your business’s values and what you want to accomplish.
If you don’t have one already, spend some time making your mission statement the best it can be. A mission statement should be proudly displayed on your website.
7. Social media links
It is a good idea for small businesses to be active on social media. If you don’t already, make sure you have at least one social media account.
Different social media websites let you post upcoming specials. And, customers can share your posts, which gives you the opportunity to reach new people.
Put the social media link(s) on your website and connect with others. Some social media sites that are helpful to your business include:
8. Customer testimonials
When you are picking a movie to watch, you might want to read the critic reviews first. Likewise, people want to read what others have to say about your business.
Include a section of customer testimonials, or reviews, on your website. If you have a strong relationship with your customers, proclaim it to the world. Show people proof of why your business is the best at what it does. This will work particularly well for services that offer intangibles like consulting or recruiting solutions. For example, a recruiting website would be better off displaying testimonials or case studies from their happy clients instead of a picture of a candidate being placed.
To get reviews, include a section on your website for feedback. Or, when people come into your store, you could give out a survey with a comment section and offer a coupon for those who complete it.
If you have the time and resources, include a section for blogs on your website. Someone could wind up on your website because of the information your small business blog offers. If they trust your blog, they might become customers.
You might offer small business guest post opportunities to engage and get insight from influencers in your industry as well. This is a great way to add value for your readers, and improve the overall user experience for your audience.
10. Strong domain name
Don’t forget about the importance of a domain name. A domain name is the address you type in the search bar to get to a website. For a strong domain name, keep it simple and close to your business’s name.
For example, Patriot Software’s domain name is PatriotSoftware.com. The domain name and business name are easy to remember because they are the same.
You work tirelessly to make your business stand out from the competition, connect with your customers, and promote what you’re passionate about. Small businesses are unique and personal. Shouldn’t your website be the same?
Personalize your website. Add information like how your business got started. You can even include a blurb about yourself and how you aim to address consumer needs while maintaining the originality of your business.
Don’t forget to have fun with designing your website and adding a touch of what makes your business unique. After all, your website is your creation, much like your business.