The 9 website features your small business can’t afford to ignore
When I did my first website presentation to a client in 2000, I was more fascinated about showing them the fancy designs I had incorporated into the site. I was not thinking at all about how that site would actually tangibly add to their bottom line. I wouldn’t dream of doing that today.
You’ve heard the expression you only get one chance to make a first impression? Well, it applies online too. Except, in this case, your website’s first impression is not solely based on how it looks. It includes how fast it loads, how well it helps solves your visitor’s problems, and how easy to navigate it is.
If it doesn’t deliver on this within the first few seconds of viewing, then they’ll move on to your competitor and you will lose out on what could have been valuable business relationships.
What are the key factors for creating a business website that is optimized to impress visitors and convert as many of them to leads for your company as is possible?
Focus on the following features and you are well on your way to delivering a winning web presence.
1. SEO-optimized content
The days of slapping any old text onto your website are long gone. Not if you want to impress your visitors and search engines. SEO is any activity that you carry out to ensure that your website ranks higher on search engines. This is critical because 93% of all web traffic comes through search engines.
When people are looking for a product or service they start by doing a search and the websites that appear at the top of the results get the most traffic.
SEO-optimized content helps your site rank higher in search engine results, making it more likely that potential customers will find you. Plus, well-written and informative content will keep people coming back to your site, even if they don’t buy anything right away.
According to Poll the People, the number 1 position on Google gets 34% of all the organic traffic. Moving your site from number 2 to number 1 will double your organic traffic. Moving it up at other spots along the rankings has different effects on traffic. For instance, moving it up from number 11 to number 10 results in an average 143% jump in traffic!
So you don’t want to skimp on your SEO efforts.
2. Mobile-friendly design
Mobile website traffic continues to grow around the world. Statista reports that in the second quarter of 2022, mobile devices (excluding tablets) generated 58.99 percent of global website traffic.
It is more important than ever for businesses to have websites that are designed with mobile users in mind. A mobile-friendly design will make it easy for users to navigate your site on their phones and tablets and help you stand out from the competition.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when designing a mobile-friendly website
– Make sure all text is readable and clear on any screen size.
– Make sure that the site resizes to fit the mobile screen so that users don’t have to scroll left to right to read your content or see images.
– Ensure that buttons and links aren’t too small to tap on.
– Avoid having ads take up too much space at the top of the screen.
– Optimize your menu for mobile devices, eg. using a hamburger menu and arranging menu items by most frequently used options.
All the content on your website is by you – so you will obviously say nice things about your business. You want to make sure you add social proof; primarily in the form of reviews and testimonials from clients who have worked with you before.
There are a number of ways of doing this. One is to post the testimonials onto your site, which is not as efficient as you need to go in often and ensure they are updated. Another way is to have a Google reviews widget that automatically pulls in the best testimonials from your Google Business Profile.
A third way is to have a form on your site where people can leave reviews directly on the website. This is not the best way of doing it as those reviews are so much more powerful when they are first posted on a third-party service like Google, Facebook, Better Business Bureau, or Yelp.
Your website’s navigation is key to helping visitors find what they’re looking for quickly and easily. Make sure your navigation is intuitive and easy to understand. Links should be clearly labeled and organized in a logical way.
Along with your menues, features like a search function, breadcrumbs, and a site map are also very useful navigation tools for visitors to your website. If you have a big site, put some thought into how your search delivers results; it doesn’t do much good to have a search box that returns thousands of results with no way of narrowing them down.
5. Social media integration
Include links to your social media profiles and ways for visitors to share your content on social. This makes it easy for visitors to connect with your brand on their preferred platform. By including social media buttons or links on your site, you’re making it easy for people to find and follow you.
6. An online payment option
An online payment option is one of the most important features your business website must have. Customers today expect to be able to pay for goods and services online. Offering this convenience can help increase sales and customer satisfaction – and it speeds up the payment process, helping to improve your cash flow. There are a few things to consider when choosing an online payment option for your website, such as fees, security, and ease of use. For example, if you choose PayPal for your online payment service, it will offer lower rates than Stripe or Square. However, if you want to offer international payments or accept card-not-present transactions (such as over the phone), then Stripe might be a better choice.
7. Email capture / newsletter sign up form
If you’re not regularly capturing email addresses from your website visitors, you’re missing out on a valuable opportunity to build your customer base. A newsletter sign-up form allows you to stay in touch with potential and current customers, and it’s a great way to promote new products or services. Plus, it’s an easy way to generate leads for your sales team. Make sure your form is prominently displayed on your website and that it’s easy for visitors to find.
A common method used to get people to sign up for mailing lists is to offer them something in return. This is known as a lead magnet and it is usually some form of digital product. For instance, you can offer clients an industry case study in exchange for them signing up for your list.
Two things to note well; give people an easy way of unsubscribing at any time from your list (this is a legal requirement) and make sure you let people know how often to expect emails from you.
8. Make it easy to contact you
Make sure your website visitors can get in touch with you easily. An online chat is awesome as they can connect with your business instantly (you can include business hours so people know when to expect responses). Other contact methods include feedback forms, phone numbers, and email addresses. You can also include your street address if you accept walk-in clients. Some websites include all these details at the bottom of every page to make it super easy for clients to contact them.
9. Call to action
Make it very clear what you want people to do at the end of each page on your website. Do you want them to contact you? Sign up for your mailing list? Buy your latest product? Let them know by stating it in plain English – or Swahili, depending on the language you’re communicating in.