Creating a small business website is a daunting task for anyone who has very little or no online experience. Even the smallest bit of research will unleash a whole range of techno-jargon and online marketing advice from all angles – enough to make anyone’s head spin.
To avoid this overload of information, a new site should be treated like a V8 Supercar heading out to the track for the first time. It must be built on a solid framework but will be constantly tweaked throughout its life span into an efficient, customer-converting machine.
To provide this solid framework, there are five essential items that must be taken into consideration from day one:
#1 An Easy-to-Use Navigation Menu
The menu system of the site must be easy to find on the page, simple to understand and uncluttered in appearance. Refine the main options (those visible straight away) down to the bare necessities and “drop-down” menus should be used to display any extras that need to be accessed during a visitor’s time on the website.
#2 An “About Us” Page
It’s been found that today’s online consumer likes to “connect” with businesses before they purchase products or engage services. A good “About Us” page should be jargon-free and clearly display who you are, where your business has evolved from and why it exists now. Once again, keep to the essentials but at the same time, don’t leave any important information out.
Be sure to also include a “Contact Us” page on the site with a contact form that sends directly to the site manager’s email.
#3 Helpful, free content
Another way to create a connection with your customers to provide helpful content that will improve the way they interact with your products and services. This can be achieved through a variety of ways including FAQ pages, videos, customer forums and downloadable PDFs. By adding high-quality free content to your site, visitors are more likely to return in the future to what else you have to offer them.
#4 Customer Testimonial Page
Whilst writing your own content will go a long way towards selling your products and services to site visitors, nothing works better than testimonials from your current customers.
Select a few satisfied clients that you have worked with and send them a friendly email requesting a short description of their experiences with your business. You may be surprised how quickly you will receive a response from them – most people love to reward good service.
#5 A Clear Call-To-Action
Everything above counts for nothing if you don’t provide a quick, easy to find Call-To-Action (CTA) somewhere prominent on your site. The CTA is the method by which a site visitor chooses to become a customer. For example, on a motel’s website, a “Make a Booking” button provides as the Call-To-Action. On an eCommerce site, you’ll find a shopping trolley icon marked “Checkout”.
The CTA may be different for each business but the rules for displaying them are the same – it must be eye-catching, clearly defined and be designed in such a way to encourage interaction.
Without a Call-To-Action, a website quickly becomes an online brochure.
There are loads of other elements that help make a successful website that converts visitors to customers. These five items will allow you to create a solid framework from which to build the remainder of your site.
In future blog posts, we will cover some of the extras that will add even further value to your site and help to build your business in both brand and bottom line.
For help getting your small business website off the ground, get in touch with Rusty Mango Design. We’ve been working with small business since 2007.