A couple of weeks back, I happened upon a website that probably defined what you “don’t” want in your website. I honestly don’t know where to begin. The website had no proper home page and opens directly to the ‘About’ page, which is practically blank. In fact, when you click on the home page link, it redirects to the pricing page. There was no call to action, the content was far from engaging and there were so many broken links.
A mere glance at it and you could understand how unprofessional the website was. There are so many horrendous sites on the Web that it goes beyond bad web design. In fact, the success of a website depends on numerous things and its aesthetic appeal is just one of them. What is more important is to have a user-friendly website that your customers/potential customers not just love to browse, but actually do business with.
The following are 5 essential elements your small business website must have to boost your business.
1. Have a Simple Web Address
Why make things unnecessarily complicated ?
Your domain name should be simple and easy to remember. Remember that it’s like your brand and therefore must be easy enough for users to remember and type into a Web browser. A “.com” domain is recommended by most marketers. In fact, almost 52 percent of all websites are .com domains. You should therefore try to by a .com site unless it is a government, non-profit or organization website. Even in case of latter, it is recommended to have a .com version as well so that you don’t lose traffic, should a user type the .com address accidently.
It is easy to recall a .com site, which also makes it a default domain extension. Many use dash, hyphen or an underscore if a .com name is not available for their business. While you may choose do so, it is recommended to avoid such practices as they often look spammy apart from causing SEO headaches. The same goes for using numbers in your website address as it usually causes confusion for customers.
2. Say More about You
Take the guessing game out of your business website. When a visitor comes across your website, it should take no time for him/her to understand what you do/offer. In other words, you should clearly state your name along with a brief introduction of your products or services right on the homepage.
This is why experts often advice against using homepage carousels, especially for B2B websites. If possible, avoid them for any kind of websites as they are frustrating for users and bad for both SEO and usability.
As an entrepreneur, your goal is tell people who you are, what you do and how you can help them through your website. A clear description is what you need to tell your visitors that they have come in the right place. In fact, a proper description of who you are and what you do can help you attract visitor’s attention within 2-3 seconds and also encourage them to stay longer and browse through your website.
3. Easy Navigation
Your visitors are no explorers; so stop expecting them to browse through the website to find what they are looking for. Instead, you need to guide them through your website. Clear links and a site map to take your visitors to the important pages of your website is crucial here.
In other words, your navigation should be clearly laid out. Using dropdowns in your navigation menu is one of the best ways to ensure that your visitors can easily see the content you offer throughout the site under every heading.
4. Incorporate a Proper ‘Call to Action’
Just like you need to show your visitors where to go, you would also want to tell them what to do. And while you are at it, make sure you use clear tones of commend to do it. Also use the special call to action (CTA) buttons or at least highlighting the text to make your message stand out again the background and other content.
There are several types of call to action buttons and each serve a different purpose. So the first thing you need to understand is what the purpose of your call to action is – do you want your visitors to sign up or call for free quote, or to download what you have to offer.
It is the most significant part of your landing page. And if you don’t want to join the list of pathetic CTAs avoid using term like “submit,” “buy now” and “click here” etc. Your web designer should also avoid these CTA mistakes that cost you a lot in the long run.
5. Add Fresh, Quality Content
Your website is an opportunity to make a great first impression on your customers. Content is your secret weapon to do it. When you provide your customers with exactly what they’re looking for, they are more likely to come back for more and perhaps also do business with you.
The content therefore should be valuable, original and well written. Besides, Google’s obsession with fresh, quality content is another reason why you need to start adding valuable content to your website on a regular basis. It is a goldmine for SEO.
Incorporating a blog into your business website and updating the same with insightful posts related to your domain, is a great way keep your content fresh. This also ensures that Google and other search engines crawl your website on a regular basis, which again is key to improve your ranking on the search engine result pages.
For example, a web design firm based in Charlotte that keep its blog updated with regular and high-quality content has better chances of ranking on the search result pages when someone searches for a “Web Design Charlotte” company.
Additionally, you can connect your social media feeds to your website for the same purpose.
When developing your business website, remember that it’s not about you but your customers. This is applicable to all aspects of your website, from design and usability to content. Consider what your target audience needs. For every decision you make, ask yourself: “Will my target audience find it useful?” If not, think what you could do differently to increase its value to your target audience. Finally, remember that your focus should be on “user experience” and you goal is to make it as “seamless” as possible.