Ok ok, this may be preaching to the choir… By now most people are aware of the importance of having their own website that represents their business and gives them the ability to showcase their brand. However, a lot of small business owners are willing to sacrifice their overall brand in the name of saving a little bit of money up front. At the end of the day though, it’s worth seeking out the right firm or designer and spending within reason to create an online presence that clearly and professionally represents your business.
1. Analytics & Google Search Console
With Google Analytics & Search Console you have access to incredible analytics and data that you can use to make informed decisions. Google gives these services away for free and part of “best practices” is having them installed on your site and taking advantge of them.
Google analytics tags on your professional website allow you track a myriad of important metrics on your site? What are metrics you ask? Metrics are data points about your users. For example, one metric on your site is the “Time on site” metric. How long are users on your site? How sticky is it? Google analytics not only shows you how long people stay on your site on average, you can break it down page by page and even see user flow through your site. This is incredibly powerful, for it allows you to find points of interest or points of user drop off and optimize your site. If you see that a particular page that a customer should be spending a lot of time on has a low time on site, you can begin to make adjustments to the page to improve this metric. This is just one example of the many different ways Analytics can help you improve your online presence and overall business.
Google Search Console
Formerly known as “Webmaster Tools” Google Search Console shows you what keyword terms are producing impressions and clicks in organic search. For those who are foreign to this world, impressions are “views” or how many times a user searching a particular keyword sees your website. Clicks are pretty self explanatory. Search Console is powerful because it shows you where users are finding you and knowing this can help you to better present yourself and take full advantage of organic and free traffic.
2. Having a Simplified Funnel on a Professional Website
This is something that marketers understand well “KISS” – Keep It Stupid Simple – is the marketers mantra. The easier it is for a customer to get into your site, find what they want and buy it, the more success you will have. Maybe you’re not selling products – if that’s the case you should still consider what your “conversion event” is. Maybe it’s a mailing list subscriber, maybe it’s a Twitter follower, maybe it’s a play on your video. Whatever the case, you want the path to this action to be as simple and uncluttered as possible.
3. Having Detailed Contact Information Readily Available
If you’re a modern business you need to have a phone number, address and email address visible on your site. If you don’t, you look shady. Plain and simple – the people who win the most business are the ones who have a degree of transparency. If you look like you are trying to hide yourself it does not bode well for business. Additionally, Google uses “maps” signals to help rank pages in their search. If you are a listed business seeking walk in customers – it is absolutely mandatory you have a visible address and a map listing. It will help with your overall SEO and make you visible in business directories as well.
4. Mobile Users – Responsive Design
By the most recent estimates I’ve seen – 60% of your website visitors are going to be on mobile devices. That’s just the direction things are going. Everyone is connected and has a sweet pocket computer. If you do not have a website that looks clean and professional on these devices you are losing MORE THAN HALF of your potential customers. Let that sink in – at Apex we actually begin with a mobile design before we even consider desktop. If you want a professional website, that’s just the way things are heading.
5. Showing a Clear Picture of What You Want to Accomplish.
This might be the most important factor of all… and also it ties back to #2. What are you trying to accomplish here? If your goal is to get people to come to your restaurant and buy taco’s make sure everything about your website points to how amazing your taco’s are and how to get to your location! Embed videos of customers describing the deep sense of fulfillment they have after consuming your taco’s. Flash your address and map listing in the sidebar of every page. Link to sites that contain favorable reviews of your taco’s. You get the idea. If you just throw a page up with your logo and address you’re going to reap what you sow. It’s basically like listing your company in a phonebook at that point. But if you build a site that speaks to why what you’re doing is better than your competitors and engage with your prospective customers through social media you will see growth in your customer base.
These are only 5 small things you can do easily through your website but there are a ton of other reasons that small businesses should invest into having a professional, well thought out website that truly speaks to their business goals.