While it may be true that your business is a little on the small side, it doesn't mean that you can get by without having a website. It is no longer optional to have a website in today's day and age. This is true even if you only have local customers and don't intend on selling your products/services online.
So, when it comes to your small business website, here are five key things that it needs to include:
1. A Strong, Commanding Home Page.
The first impression that you are going to give to prospective online customers is with your home page. Therefore, it is imperative that you ensure it clearly and properly communicates your company's brand image with appealing copy and visuals in addition to the following information:
- What exactly your business does
- Who in particular your business serves
- Why your business exists
- Why customers should even care
You can get as creative as you would like when developing your home page, but you want to make sure that you at least include a description of your company, your logo and a basic navigational menu that will direct visitors to important pages of your website.
In addition, since statistics report that roughly 70 percent of Americans own smartphones, it is important that you incorporate responsive design features in your website. These features will make it easier for mobile users to access and navigate your website on their small screens.
Your navigation menu may be in a sidebar or at the top of your website. Regardless of its location, you need to ensure that it is easy to see and access for your visitors and that it includes logical categories -- in other words, it needs to include categories that make it easy for your visitors to locate the information that they may have come to your website looking for. Statistics report that poor navigation is among the top reasons that visitors will leave a website and find another website for information that they are in search of.
So, as you are developing your website (in particular your navigation menu), consider the best way it can be structured by asking yourself the same questions that a customer may ask when visiting your website. For example, here are some questions to give you a jump-start:
- What broad categories of services or products do you primarily sell?
- How much do these services or products cost?
- How are your services or products purchased?
- What types of payment does your business currently accept?
- Where is your business located?
- What hours is your business open?
A clean and logical navigation menu will include proper titles that will help site visitors easily and quickly identify that the appropriate section of your website that they ultimately need to visit to obtain the information that they are seeking.
3. Search Features
In your navigation menu, you need to make sure that you include a search feature. This is important so that visitors that know exactly what they're looking for and come directly to your site and type it in rather than trying to find it. Alternatively, if they can't find what they're looking by browsing your site, they can type it into the search box and hopefully find it that way. The more content that you have on your site, the more helpful this search feature will become for your website visitors.
4. FAQ Page
Customers will always have questions about new products and services. Some of these you will be able to develop on your own at the beginning. Some will arise as you begin to engage with your customers more and they ask questions and seek information from you. The important thing is that you keep a list of questions and develop a FAQ page on your website. This way customers can come to your website and quickly and easily find a list of frequently asked questions and their respective answers.
5. Accessibility to Help
You may be able to put a ton of content on your website and believe that it will be able to answer any and all questions that a customer could have regarding your products and/or services. However, there may come a time when a person wants to talk to a human. Or, for that matter, some people just prefer to speak to a live individual when they need help. Therefore, it is important that your website have the option for live assistance either via e-mail, phone, live chat or even at your physical storefront (if you have one).
Believe it or not, some media reports that more than 90 percent of small businesses fail to publish an e-mail address on their website that can be used by customers to contact them. This can turn some customers away, so it is in your best interest to publish as much contact info as possible on your website for your customers (existing and prospective).
A small business website is an easy, effective and economical way of expanding your online reach and your ability to market to prospective customers. However, it is crucial that you ensure that your website has the aforementioned key elements to guarantee that it makes a good first impression on anyone who visits it.
If you need assistance in building your website and possibly even online marketing advice directed toward small businesses, contact us at WebDetail and we'll be happy to assist you with either or both.