When was the last time you took a critical look at your website? For most businesses I work with, it’s been years. It’s time to dive in!
Having a website just isn’t enough these days. Your website’s visitors expect a lot out of it, so that means that you’ve got to deliver or risk losing them to the competition.
Let’s cover nine must-haves to make sure your website is current, engaging, and effective.
#1 Domain Registration Info
Before we get down to some of the specifics that your website must contain to engage your visitors, let’s make sure you’ve got some basic info covered… specifically, your domain registration info.
If the information that you’ve inputted doesn’t follow some specific parameters, it can negatively affect your search engine rankings.
First, make sure that your domain contact info is the exact same as the contact info listed on your website.
Second, check out your domain expiration date, and if it’s within three years of expiring, renew it so that Google doesn’t think you’ve fallen off the face of the earth.
Third, stick with your domain. The longer you stay with your current domain, the more credibility you’ll have with Google.
#2 Contact Info
Speaking of contact information, this is a critical aspect of your website because you want to make it as easy and fast as possible for customers to get in touch with you.
Make sure that your contact information is available on every page of your website, and provide your customers with multiple options for how to get in touch.
Also, if you have a physical storefront, be sure to include your address and a map link so that they can find you quickly.
#3 Products or Services
On your homepage, clearly outline the products or services that your business provides and how they solve problems for your visitors. If people can see what you’re all about, how you offer something valuable, and learn a little bit about the products or services all at once, you’re covering all of your bases.
A call to action, or CTA, prompts your visitors to do just that: take action. Make sure you include CTAs at the top and bottom of your homepage (like “Learn More” or “Sign Up Now” or “Buy” buttons) and in any spot where visitors would want to find out more, purchase a product or service, or contact your business.
#5 Mobile-Responsive Design
It’s not enough to have a stunning website that only functions well on a computer screen.
Today, many (most?!) of your website’s visitors will arrive at your site via their cell phones or IPads, so it’s important that it look good and function well on all types of mobile devices. Not only does it matter from a usability standpoint, but it also affects your online search rankings.
To make sure that your website looks and functions well on any device, you’ll want to choose “responsive design” so that your website’s appearance (fonts, images, layout) adjusts to the user, and test it on a variety of browsers and devices.
#6 Testimonials, Reviews, or Case Studies
This tip doesn’t require much explanation. After all, aren’t you more willing to do business with a company that has great testimonials and reviews? Or one that has been recommended to you by someone you trust?
Of course you are, and so is everyone else!
Create a testimonials page or provide a link to online reviews for your visitors to read. You can even draw up a case study that outlines how you’ve helped another business.
#7 Consistent Branding
You probably understand that professional branding is critical to not only your credibility but also to the impression you make on your audience. But it’s not just about professionalism… it's also about making sales.
It’s proven that visitors get confidence when they see branding that is consistent across all avenues, from social media to your website.
From color choices to logos to taglines, you need to make sure you present yourself consistently on all platforms so your prospects and customers know who they’re doing business with.
#8 Fresh Content
Keep your website fresh by updating your blog, social feed, or even images and testimonials. When your visitors don’t see the same-old, same-old when they come across your site, they can assume that you’re very much active and ready to serve them when they reach out.
That doesn’t mean that you have to create a new blog post every day. Share pictures, shoot quick videos on your phone, and link to other people’s content with a little commentary added for context, and you’ll show visitors that you’re alive!
#9 SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
My first piece of advice when it comes to SEO: don’t be intimidated by it. Although it’s important to your Google search rankings (critical, I would say), and although it’s an ever-changing art, there are people who can help you optimize your site.
This will involve finding competitive keywords to incorporate into your site’s content, URLs, metadata, titles, and subheadings (so that the search engines can pull up your site when users are looking for your product or service or something similar).
If this sounds out of your league, simply start with the basics, like researching and identifying keywords, or reaching out to an SEO expert to help you with this aspect of your website.
You’re Ready to Step Up Your Game!
Now you’re ready to enhance your small business website. By incorporating the website must-haves mentioned in this article, you’ll engage visitors like never before. Go ahead and get started, and watch your traffic increase!
Sean M. Fitzgerald - Local Marketing Strategist
Gung Ho Local, LLC
PS. I help launch a new small businesses almost every month. Contact Gung Ho Local for help with your Website, Branding, Printing and Apparel.