It’s easy to get caught up in all the details, information and planning that goes into your small business website. What starts out as new and exciting often turns into “ugh, let’s just get it done.” There’s usability to plan around, content to create and share, code to write and a whole host of pages to consider. But in the midst of all the elements that make up a website, it’s important to not lose focus on some of the most important things that can get overlooked.
Don’t become like others who settle for less. We’ve all visited those websites where information is hard to find, navigation is lacking, and design has gone out the window. It still amazes us that those websites can still function, to be honest.
It’s time for you to take advantage of others shortcomings and provide your end-users with a functional and enjoyable experience.
Imagine you’re in the car, running down the street to check out the local coffee shop your friend recommended. You hop online to read more about what they offer, where they’re located, and how you can order ahead of time. Instead of a quick and seamless experience, you find outdated blogs from 2009, old references to outdated events, and an old address from their previous location.
Not only do you find this frustrating, it gives you a bad impression of the business (and of your friend’s recommendation value, but that’s neither here nor there).
If a business can’t get basic facts updated on a public website, where else might they be dropping the ball? If you’re a small business that has outdated info on your website, be sure to update it so visitors see an accurate reflection of business information.
A homepage should be laid out in a way that makes it obvious what you do. Menus should be easy to find and organized well with submenus and pages that are clear and concise.
Don’t make your visitors poke around in sub-menu after sub-menu looking for the information they need. Lay out your site navigation in a logical way that presents the most important information first.
Believe it or not, Google takes into account site speed when ranking sites for search. You might’ve just gulped a little bit knowing your homepage gives the spinning wheel of wait for 2-3 minutes before things load.
Take the opportunity to upgrade load times, reduce data loading to your homepage, and increase site speed with your provider so that visitors aren’t navigating elsewhere.
There’s power in content — good content, that is.
Filling your site with pages and pages of poorly written content that doesn’t offer anything to visitors is, frankly, a waste of time. Instead, think about what visitors will really want to see on your site and tailor to their needs.
When you want to expand your content — perhaps with blog posts — think about what would be helpful to a person outside of your organization. This kind of persona-based model helps build authority with Google and shows customers that you care. While we’re at it, be sure the content is linked to social posts and has clear call-to-actions so visitors know how to reach out and engage.
When you take the time to truly provide value to customers, they’re more likely to trust you, keep coming back, and even send others your way.
If you don’t have a responsive, mobile-friendly website, you’re missing out on customers and their business. Over half of website visits are through mobile devices, like phones or tablets. If your website was built to only be viewed on a large desktop monitor with super tiny text and navigation, visitors are going to get annoyed and bounce.
Be sure to test your website on your own phone and perform Google’s mobile-friendly test to ensure that everything is okay on the mobile front.
Dealing with slow load times? Have an abundance of features that aren’t performing well based on analytics? Visitors not using your site? Here are some important considerations and things to remove as you optimize.
We understand not everyone can afford to take and upload beautiful photos, but you need to start using images that aren’t the basic, boring, stock photography of models in front of white background.
It’s ok if you take updated, well-lit photos on your camera or your business and employees to show people at work. Authenticity is better than fake and visitors will appreciate the time taken to capture company culture.
If you can afford a small budget for photos, hire a local photographer to come in and grab nice headshots of employees and action shots of everyone working and interacting. It will make a big difference for your site.
Not everything has to be in your top navigation, but when you want to link to smaller pages, make sure you’ve got the links right.
There’s nothing more frustrating on a site than wanting to read something, but being unable to and getting 404 errors or redirects to sites that no longer host relevant content.
Go through your site on a regular basis and check every single link. If all your links work, that’s great! You’ve just gotten the chance to use your site like a potential customer might. If they don’t, it’s time to do some editing.
A while back, small businesses made pages and pages of useless, static content for their sites. From poorly designed location pages to repetitive explanations of services with one keyword listed over and over again, these pages somehow helped in their search rankings.
Thankfully, that was a while back. For several years now, Google has looked down upon repeated content. To help with your site’s search rankings, get rid of the pages that basically say the same thing as others that perform better, and redirect them properly to a well-crafted page that adds value.
Remember back when background music and auto-playing videos were the hot, new thing? For the record, that was about 15 years ago.
Now, it’s safe to assume that people are busy at work and often time around others who don’t need to hear what websites you’re navigating to and from. Visitors want to get what they need out of your website without being bothered (and bothering others).
Ditch the autoplay content. Not only can it scare the living daylights out of someone who accidentally has their volume up too high, it can slow your site down.
Always keep in mind that these days people are on their phones and reading and scrolling on the go. When you write, write with purpose and write with the on-the-go users in mind.
Long paragraphs that aren’t broken up with subheaders and line breaks will bore readers. Visitors nowadays have short attention spans. To help out your longer blogs, use header tags, keep paragraphs shorter, and use line breaks liberally. This helps to keep content readable and visually appealing.
There are myriad strategic ways to improve your small business website so that it regularly performs and touches your local community in a meaningful way. Start with the above suggestions and you’ll be well on your way to improvement. Wondering how else you can improve your site? We can help.
Contact us today to get tips and feedback on creating and maintaining a valuable website that brings clients in the door!