As a small business owner, you’re focused on trying to reach more people who might be interested in your offering -- whether that’s a restaurant, a storefront, or a service.
It can be challenging to stay informed in areas that aren’t your specialty, such as setting up a website to help you meet your goals. However, you should familiarize yourself with some key points because most customers now are researching on the web before they buy.
You can actually turn customers off if your site isn’t properly set up to inform and transact -- whether it’s providing a menu, selling a product, or booking an appointment. Here we’ll look at five ways you can ensure an excellent experience on the web.
First, you’ll want to determine your needs (and capabilities). Depending on your technical prowess, you may prefer to opt for a website builder to decrease your dev costs. Probably the biggest factor for most small businesses is cost, but many website hosting plans start at or below the $5 price point. Just be aware that, as with most things, you get what you pay for.
Other aspects to consider are your domain name, your design and marketing needs, and whether you’ll need the added security required for e-commerce. Be sure to check out what each plan offers, including technical support and customer service, so you’re comparing apples to apples.
Small business owners are bombarded with tips for a better website, including that images sell. However, if you don’t properly size images for the web, your site could face loading time delays.
On the web, users prefer simple design, and users will generally better relate to your site if it fits the expectation of sites in the same category. For example, if you’re selling clothing online, you’ll want large images that load fast with easy navigation and sorting options so users can find exactly what they’re looking for.
For emerging brands, coming across as genuine and trustworthy translates into more sales. There are several ways to incorporate trust-building elements into your site, namely putting your face to your name, including reviews, and showcasing recognizable logos of payments you accept, news organizations you’ve been featured in, and customers you’ve helped.
In the U.S., Internet usage on mobile has now surpassed desktop by nearly 10%. With consumers reaching for mobile devices, in most cases as their primary method for accessing the web, you need your site to serve a great mobile experience.
Google has even made a push for improved mobile experiences by ranking mobile-friendly sites higher in search than non-mobile-friendly competitors.
Every page on your site should have a purpose, so every page should offer some path to conversion. Landing and product pages have the most to gain from an effective call-to-action, or CTA, while your about page will likely be less transactional.
One of the biggest takeaways for improving your click-through rate is to make the CTA a bold, simple button and request only what’s absolutely necessary of your visitor. Making it too difficult to buy, book, or download by asking too much of your visitor -- first and last name, email address, phone number, create an account -- can lead to abandonment.
Every small business owner wants to be successful, and while the picture of success varies from company to company, the path to get there can be strikingly similar when it comes to best practices on the web.
Just keep your site genuinely human, simple to navigate with a clean design for any device, and make it clear what you want your visitors to do with a bold CTA.
By building and optimizing your site to increase brand trust and click-through rate, you stand to grow your audience -- and your bottom line.
Lauren Keys is editor-in-chief at DealCrunch.com, an online publication that highlights the retail industry’s movers and shakers, up-and-coming startups, influencers, business solutions, and more. With deep dives into brands and trends, DealCrunch keeps retail executives — from marketing and logistics leads to administrative and business development heads — informed of relevant industry news.