6 Tips to Build a Successful Small Business Website

Posted by on February 18, 2014 in Business Start Up Advice [ 0 Comments ]

Feb14_Post 2The Internet is full of websites that are not up to par – and this extends far beyond a poor design. A recent survey tells us that 46 percent of small businesses still don’t have a website at all (Tweet This!) Of those that do have a site, many have poor user interface and terrible conversion rates.

It doesn’t have to be that way though. Here are six essentials that your small business website needs to effectively do business with your customers:

Clearly Describe Who You Are and What You Do

When prospective customers land on your website, they should immediately be able to tell what exactly you do. Your website should include your name and the products and services you offer on your homepage so the moment visitors land on your page, they know what you offer.

Related: Make a good impression with your web design. 

Make Sure You Have an Easy-to-Navigate Site

Make it simple for visitors to find what they are searching for with clear links to the most important pages.  Navigation, such as drop boxes in the menu, help the visitor see the content available from virtually any page on your website. There are several easy ways to improve your site’s navigation – just keep in mind what you want your visitors to see.  According to Usability.gov, a survey by User Interface Engineering Inc. found that users are unable to locate the information they need on a Website around 60 percent of the time.

Prominently Display Contact Information

A study by Forrester Research noted that roughly 50 percent of potential sales are lost because customers are unable to locate needed information – and if the experience on your website is negative, 40 percent won’t return.  You can’t let your business lose customers because they can’t figure out how to contact you.  Visitors don’t want to look at every page of your website to find your contact information.  Place your phone number and email address in a prime real estate location like the top corner of the home page – or even on every page.  Make it easy for users to communicate with you on their terms by providing different options for them to choose from in order to reach you.

Share Customer Testimonials

Sincere words from happy customers help build trust in your business. Hearing honest recollections help make products or services seem more tangible and if other customers’ needs were met, your prospects have added faith that your business can meet his needs too.  People love to hear stories from real people – a survey conducted by Dimensional Research found that 90 percent of respondents who read online reviews claimed that the positive reviews influenced their buying decisions.  Don’t forget that people are writing about you in the social media world– 71 percent are more likely to purchase based on social media referrals.

Related: Mobile Website vs. Mobile App: Do You Need Both?

Write Fresh, Relevant Content

Be unique in your actions– go above and beyond what your competitors do.  View your website as a way to make a memorable first impression on a customer.  You need to give them what they are looking for and even a reason to make them come back time and again.  Add content that’s original, valuable, and well written – it’s also a goldmine for SEO.

Use a Style that’s Friendly to Your Virtual Readers

Web surfers jump from page to page in just a few seconds – 17 percent of page views last less than four seconds – so if your website doesn’t have a strong layout, your visitors won’t become customers.  To enhance users experience on your website, keep your content organized.  Most visitors initially scan the page before deciding if they want to actually read all of the information in its entirety.  So make sure to break things down into short paragraphs with headers, use bullet points, and highlight important words.  Use a font that is simple and clear and stick with basic colors – content is the focus.

Whether you’ve had a website for years or you recently built one, a powerful presence on the Internet is a crucial piece of the puzzle when it comes to running a thriving business.  Your website is your opportunity to introduce yourself and your business – so make sure your website gives a good first impression and showcases your business in the best way.

Does your website help lead you to added business success?  What tips can you add?

Photo via Flickr

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.

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