In a post-COVID era, small business websites are more important than ever. Have you ever wondered if you could be doing the little things better with your small business website that could make a huge impact on your leads and sales from the website? A significantly high percentage of your potential customers (over 95%!!) will visit your website before ever darkening the door of your small business. Below are several specific ways that you can enhance a potential customer’s experience with your “new front door.” We call it the small business website checklist. Here goes!
Use Clear and Concise Brand Messaging
The first thing visitors notice when they land on your website should be a clear, concise statement about who you are and what you offer. Keep your message short, compelling, and easily digestible. We often tell clients that the goal of this headline is that it should be “benefit focused.” The key question you want to answer with your main home page headline is “what does my potential customer’s life look like AFTER working with me?” Avoid statements such as “we do X for you,” or “we are the best at X.” This statement should be all about your customer, not you!
BAD EXAMPLE: We build intake software for attorneys.
GOOD EXAMPLE: Capture 5x additional cases per day with optimized lead capture tools.
Optimize for Mobile
Next on our small business website checklist – don’t forget mobile! In many industries (but not all!) mobile web browsing has surpassed desktop browsing. Your website must be mobile-friendly, meaning it adjusts and looks good on any screen size. Websites that aren’t optimized for mobile can suffer in search engine rankings, so make this a top priority. Google knows whether your site is mobile optimized or not! Users will punish your lack of attention to details here by leaving your site for a competitor.
Implement SEO Best Practices
Although the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) experience is rapidly changing in the face of Google’s recent SGE (Search Generative Experience) announcements, search engine optimization (SEO) is still essential to increase your website’s visibility in search engine results. SEO involves writing quality, helpful content on your website, optimizing your on-page structure, and ensuring your site has a clear, easy-to-follow structure. Remember, SEO isn’t a one-time task but an ongoing process, so keep up to date with SEO best practices and Google’s latest algorithm updates. This is often better left to the professionals, so it makes sense here to hire an SEO professional who is keeping up with the ever-changing SEO landscape.
Optimize Your Website’s Speed
Next on our small business website checklist: site speed! Users expect websites to load within two seconds or less. Slow-loading websites frustrate users and may lower your search engine ranking. Regularly check your website’s loading speed and optimize it by compressing images, enabling browser caching, and minimizing HTTP requests. If you are using WordPress, there are many different plugins available to help increase your website’s speed and lower your loading times. A few great tools are WP Rocket and NitroPack.
SMALL BUSINESS WEBSITE CHECKLIST TIP: Use GT Metrix to check your website speed and see free improvements!
Choose User-Friendly Navigation
Gone are the days of multi-layer dropdown menus from the home page! Your navigation should be as clear as possible to help the user quickly and easily find exactly what they are looking for on your website. You don’t have all day for users to click around any more. And they will leave your site if they have to stumble though your menu looking for content.
Write High-Quality Content
Regularly update your website with high-quality, relevant content that provides value to your visitors. This could be blog posts, tutorials, case studies, or news about your products or services. Regularly-updated content shows relevancy (which potential customers love!), recency, and thought leadership. It also provides helpful information to your potential customers. If the content is high quality and is very helpful to your potential customers, they will often reciprocate by asking for your help with whatever service or product you are selling.
Use Strong Calls to Action (CTAs)
If our team was going to pick one of these small business website checklist items as potentially the most important…this is it! Every page on your website should guide users towards a desired action. Popular CTA’s are things like asking a potential customer to fill out your “Getting Started” or “Next Steps” form, calling you, or starting a chat with your team. The key here is “every page.” You don’t want your potential customers wandering anywhere on the site where they are not once again reminded that you want them to engage. The final key here is “strong CTA.” We often see clients use things like “Contact Us” as their main CTA and that’s just so boring! Instead, use something stronger and more specific like “Schedule a Consultation Now” or “Join Our Free Webinar.”
PRO TIP: We put together a whole guide on how to build great CTA’s!
Use Engaging Visual Design
Ok, this one is a soap box for us, and one of the more important small business website checklist items! We all make judgments about businesses we are considering on the BUYING side, but when it comes to our own website – we don’t think people judge. They DO! If you are a small business owner and you still somehow think that people don’t judge you by your website, you’re losing potential customers! Your website’s design needs to be fresh, clean and look like it was designed in this decade.
PRO TIP: We recommend that our clients redesign their website NO LATER than every 30 months. Technology changes fast. Your website should to.
Build Trust with Testimonials and Reviews
Potential customers often look for reviews and testimonials before making a purchase decision. Include positive reviews from satisfied customers on your website. If you have industry accreditations, awards, or certifications, display those prominently as well, because they also build trust and credibility.
PRO TIP: Potential customers can sniff out fake testimonials in about 3 seconds flat. Use real customers (who can be Googled) for your testimonials and use their faces if you can!
Get To The Point
We tell our website design clients that they have 10-15 seconds MAX to convince a potential customer to take the next step. And that’s MAX! Websites are not magazines any more. People don’t read most paragraph body content on your website (unless it’s in a blog post like this, in which case they read more, but you still probably mostly read headlines on this article!). So your headlines and major, big lines of text are important!
In Conclusion: The Small Business Website Checklist
As mentioned above, your website is your new front door, and almost all of your potential customers will start with it as their first impression of your company! Implementing the above 10 strategies from this small business website checklist will help to make your website stand out amongst competitors. Consumers these days always have choices. Don’t lose them in the first 10 seconds because your website is behind the times!