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The Essential Checklist for creating a business website that works.

Did you know that 48% of customers will stop considering your business if you don’t have a website? *

*Telstra

A website is a key part of business marketing and should be at the core of your business’ online presence. Social Media is fine up to a point, but online-savvy customers want to know more about the business they are dealing with and how it can help them.

But what are the elements of a good small business website? Below is our checklist of key components that your website needs to be effective and successful:

1. Clearly defined website goals.

Although they aren’t visible in the final design, outlining goals for your website is vitally important to the end results. Without a clear roadmap in place, your direction may be offline with what you want to achieve and what your customers are looking for.

Use the five W’s as a starting point to define your goals:

  • Who are your customers?
  • What are they looking for?
  • When are your services available?
  • Where are your customers based?
  • Why do they need your products and services?
  • How can you help solve your customer’s problems?

2. An easy-to-use site menu.

Clear navigation on your website not only helps your visitors find what they are looking for, but it also helps search engines such as Google to index your site properly.

Plan your site that no page is any further than two mouse clicks away from the front page – else it is in danger of being lost to your visitors. Conversely, all pages on the site must also link back to the home page.

3. Business appropriate design.

When designing the overall look of your business website, make sure it appears as expected to your target audience. For example, the audience for a nightclub website would not expect to find a website design more suitable to an aged-care facility.

In addition, don’t go too far with the visuals of your design – the focus of the website should always be the user experience. Heavy visuals can also be distracting, and they will slow down the load-time for your site.  

4. Mobile-friendly.

In a recent report from https://www2.deloitte.com, it is estimated that 91% of Australians own a smart phone and use it regularly to access the internet. This means a large proportion of any website’s traffic will be coming to you via mobile and your site needs to be developed from the ground up to cater for this.

When looking to be mobile-friendly, there shouldn’t be two versions of your site. It should be the same site that automatically adapts its various components to deliver the same content on any screen size.

5. On-Point Content.

When it comes to selling your products and services, there is no alternative to high-quality content. Engaging your visitors is the key to lengthening the time they spend on your site and reducing its dreaded bounce-rate.

Ensure that any content is clear, concise and relevant to the person who is reading it. Make sure, as your site gets older, you change-up the content on a regular basis to keep it fresh – not just for your site visitors, but for the Google-Bot which will be looking for such changes.

To keep your content on-point, keep referring to the goals of your site established in step #1.

6. Clear & Visible “Call To Actions”

Whatever you want your customers to do on your website – you need to make it stand out. This is known as the “Call To Action” (CTA).

The CTA’s that we use can determine whether people take action and in what numbers. There are two core objectives of a CTA: telling what they should do and giving them the motivation to do it.

Here’s some example CTA’s that can be used on your website:

Get My Offer Redeem My Prize Book My Demo Subscribe Buy Now Call Us Today Reserve Your Place Book an Appointment  

7. Accessible contact details.

Allow your customers to reach out to you quickly with clear contact details that are easy to access and use. At a minimum, your details should include your business address (if applicable), phone number and email address.

Use a professional email address, preferably with your own domain name – addresses provided by free email services can portray the wrong image to prospective customers.

If you would like your customers to contact you directly from your website, include a contact or enquiry form on the site.

8. Site Traffic Analytics

Without tracking the visitors that come through your site and watching where (and if) they are spending their time, there’s no way you can measure if your website is achieving the goals that you have set for it.

Fortunately, tracking is easily done on several levels. Your website server can follow the most basic of movements into your site and you can install a plugin to watch what happens on your site. Obviously, the most well known and best option is to sign-up for Google Analytics.

Briefly, the most important metrics you should track in your website are:

  • Number of Visitors
  • Bounce Rate
  • Page Views
  • Duration of Stay
  • Time on Page
  • Traffic source
  • Device Source
  • Interactions on site
  • Exit Page

Boost your website by checking these five statistics.

Web statistics are often the forgotten element in a business website, yet they are key to whether the site succeeds or fail.

Site Statistics

By paying attention to the smallest of details, you will be able to adjust the operation of your site to ensure that you have the best chance of converting visitors into customers. I

n short, monitoring your site’s statistics could make the world of difference when it comes to the key question – is your website working for you?

Here’s five key statistics that you need to monitor on a regular basis:

Site Traffic

This metric counts the total number of visitors to your site and it’s a great way to quickly gauge the growth or decline of visitor numbers. You can also measure any increase during specific promotions i.e. a sales campaign on Facebook.

It’s important to note there are two type of site traffic measured – unique and repeat visitors. Unique visitors are those coming to your site for the first time and repeat visitors are coming more than once. Both are important to determine if you are receiving new visitors and whether your content is worth come back again in the future.

Traffic Source

This data helps to define where the traffic above comes from. There are generally four sources:

  • Organic: From search engines such as Google and Bing.
  • Referral: Directly from other websites (also known as inbound links).
  • Direct: Visitors physically typing in the site’s address.
  • Social: From social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, etc).

Look to use a variety of traffic sources in your statistics and never rely on one platform only. If, for example, your social media crashes and it is your main source, traffic to your site could be severely impacted.

Bounce Rate

The Bounce Rate (BR) of your website determines how many people leave immediately after arriving. A high BR is not good – it indicates that something is wrong with your content or offerings. Unfortunately, it won’t pinpoint exactly what the problem is, but improvements are definitely needed.

Tip: If your site has a high BR, ask friends and colleagues to “test” the site from the mindset of a visitor – they may see something that you, as the owner, can’t.

Top Pages

This metric allows the site owner to determine which pages are most popular with visitors. The data usually includes how many “hits” the page has had and how long visitors spent perusing the content.

By looking at the popularity of a page, information can be ascertained about the type of content your visitors are looking for and this in turn, can influence the content of other less popular pages.  

Conversion Rate

The most important data in site statistics, the conversion rate determines whether your site is actually doing its job – converting visitors to customers.

The data is determined by looking at the number of unique visitors to a site and dividing that by how many of those visitors take some form of action on the site. This action could be several things:

  • The sale of a product.
  • Subscription to a newsletter.
  • Completion of an enquiry form.
  • A share of your content on social media.

So…. how do I measure these statistics?

Obviously, the “big brother” of website statistics is Google Analytics, the basic version of which is free. Being linked to the world’s most popular search is a huge advantage, but Google Analytics has so many tools that it can be a little daunting to first time site owners.

Another alternative, if you have a WordPress site, is Wp Statistics from Verona Labs. This plugin will give you many of the metrics listed above and is hosted locally so no sharing with Google – some of your site visitors may appreciate this

Whatever system you use, website statistics are vitally important for site owners to ensure that the money in a website is put to good use and acts as a boost to your business’ bottom line.

How to make online sales with your existing website.

In the current crisis, many small businesses have been forced to move online quickly and adapt to a whole new way of operating.

Some, without websites, are trying to utilise their existing social media presence. However, with many other businesses doing the same thing, there is good chance that posts are being “lost” in the continuous feed streaming through on Instagram and Facebook.

Those businesses with existing websites stand a much better chance of being found through search engines, complimented by their social media. Those with online stores are obviously the best positioned to take on the challenge of extra business but what about websites that aren’t designed to be online stores? Is there something they do?

Absolutely. Here’s five simple steps to create an online sales page for your website during the COVID-19 crisis – without breaking the budget.


Step One: Choose 12 of your most popular products.

The page will ideally list your most popular products, so write a list of what those products are. Here’s some questions to get you started: – What do your customers come to you to buy most frequently?

  • Do you sell anything that will be helpful during the current crisis or make it easier?
  • What products are easiest for you to post or deliver in person?

We’ve set 12 products as a “loose” limit as you don’t to overwhelm customers with choices and risk putting them off making a purchase.


Step Two: Set up a dedicated landing page.

With your products selected, create a new page in your website CMS*. This will be the landing page for traffic coming into your site that you want to sell to. It will also act as a gateway to the remainder of your website.

Keep text on the page to a minimum – introduce what you are selling and outline how your business is operating during the crisis – two paragraphs maximum.

Underneath these paragraphs, layout the 12 products you are offering with a photo, name and price. The images can be clickable if you would like to provide more information but ensure that any new page opens in a new tab – this way the main “sales” page will stay open in the background.


Step Three: Contact Form

Your customers will need a way to contact you to place an order. Be sure to include these two options:

  1. Your business phone number – ensuring that it is “clickable” for mobile site users.
  2. A contact form so that customers can supply their contact details and the name of the product they wish to purchase.

By using a contact form plugin on your site, i.e. Contact Form 7 (WordPress), you can also set up an autoresponder to send the customer further information for the sale i.e. delivery information and banking details for direct deposits.

The customer’s phone number on the form will allow you to call them, confirm the order and take credit card payments if you have that capability.


Step Four: Social Media

Once the landing page is ready, start promoting it in your social media feeds. Let your audience know what they can do by visiting your site and include a link that goes directly to your new landing page.

To encourage of your Facebook post, you could include a simple “coupon” code that can be typed into your page’s contact form. For example, the code “SAVE10” could be used for a 10% discount.


Step Five: Pop-Up on Home Page

For those who arrive at your site via regular search engines or direct links, create a popup box that appears on the home page. This can contain a simple message and link button through to the special landing page.

The “Popup Maker” plugin on WordPress is perfect for creating a pop-up that grabs attention.


What if I don’t currently have a website?

For small businesses caught by the current crisis without a website, Tropical Coast Web Design is currently offering full function one-page websites (with email) for only $299 and a very quick turnaround. Head over to our special offer page for more information and get your business online this week!

*Content Management System

Five online actions that may help your local business through Covid-19.

The coronavirus pandemic is affecting Australian small businesses in a multitude of ways.

From a loss of physical traffic into stores right through to numerous people working from home, the situation is changing daily during the COVID-19 outbreak and businesses are adapting to survive.

Below is an action plan of five things your business can do online to improve your chances of riding out this “once in a lifetime” pandemic.

1. Get on social media.

You should already have a social media account for your business and if you haven’t, you’d better set one up! Your customers are all on social media and you need to get two pieces of important information out to them now.

Firstly, you need to let your customers know that you are still operating and secondly, let them HOW you are operating. Have your hours changed? Are you delivering? Are you switching to online trading only? What measures are being taken in your business to mediate the current situation with COVID-19?

Put simply, you need to keep your customers informed about what your business is doing for the next few months.

2. Develop a Social Media Strategy.

A one-off post on your Facebook page is not going to solve anything. With the government guidelines for handling the COVID-19 crisis changing on an almost daily basis, you need to develop a brief strategy to ensure that you are continually visible online. This doesn’t need to be a long-winded document – it could as simple as a weekly calendar:

Monday: Facebook – This week at our business. Tuesday: Instagram – Pic of the team in action. Wednesday: Facebook – Customer of the Week. Thursday: LinkedIn – “Business to Business” offerings. Friday: Facebook – Throwback Friday or Friday Funny

Posting regularly keeps your local customers in the loop and gives them a regular visual reminder that you are still open for business.

3. Use your existing website to make online sales.

With social distancing being recommended by all levels of government, businesses can swiftly adapt their sites to start taking online orders and it doesn’t need to involve a full-blown eCommerce store. A simple online ordering form with your direct deposit information could be set up very quickly to make sales.

Of course, a full online store, with traffic directed from your social media streams, would be the perfect way to do business over the next few months. Your customers could simply select their products, pay for them online and have them shipped directly their door – without any physical contact at all.

4. Update Google my Business.

Check the information displayed by your Google My Business account is current and correct. This information is displayed in search results as people look for you and contains important details such as physical address, phone numbers, website address and opening hours.

Confirming that this information is correct could mean the difference between making a sale or a missed opportunity as more people search online for products and services.

5. Join local Networks and Groups

If you haven’t already, log onto Facebook and seek out your local community online. This might include groups such as local business directories, “buy, swap and sell” groups, your regional council and even the local Chamber of Commerce. Join these groups where relevant and share your business information.

Once you have joined a group – encourage others to start sharing each other’s posts wherever you can. The amount of coverage your business can get through sharing through sharing posts will surprise you.

Conclusion

Despite the gloomy outlook for the next few months in Australia, Covid-19 does not have to be the end of your business. Your business might need to evolve and embrace a different way of doing business, but if we all work together as a local community, we can help one another ride out the storm and emerge intact on the other side.

That’s the true meaning of being a local in a small regional town – we help each other out in times of need.

Tropical Coast Web Design