7 top tips for small business websites in 2021
A well-designed and managed website is a crucial tool to help your business thrive as more and more consumers browse and shop online.
As more businesses flock online, having a unique, good quality website is a great way to differentiate your business as well as communicate to customers, promote your brand, build relationships and, importantly, generate online sales.
Here at Positively Online, we offer a complete service from consultation, domain purchase, hosting, website build and making sure your website is fully optimised so it can be found and viewed on mobile devices. We've been helping small businesses launch websites for over 20 years. So whatever your business and whatever your requirements, we have the experience to help you achieve your goals and make it easy every step of the way.
Below are seven tips that will give your small business website the best chances of success.
What makes a successful website?
1 - The best user experience you can provide
Web optimisation is all about improving the user experience (UX) of your site to make it easy for customers to find the information they need and more likely to convert to a sale (if you have a sales-focused site). This might sound a little obvious but so many businesses get this wrong when they choose to use a self-build platform. Here at Positively Online we will hold your hand through the whole process of creating and maintaining the site that will work for your customers AND your business. From the initial ideas to going live we will be with you all the way through the journey.
Your website must display and function correctly on all connected devices. It's not just your customers who will be frustrated if your pages don't load correctly on mobile devices -; search engines will downrank your website if you get this wrong too - a true double-whammy!
You can see how mobile friendly your website is using this Google tool.
There are 5.2 billion mobile device users in the world today
Source: GSMA Intelligence
2 - Good design and UI
Not everyone has an eye for design or enough insight into website functionality. A poorly designed website will give your customers the wrong message. They are sure to judge your business on that first poor experience, and that will cost money in lost business revenue.
The growth in template website services makes them look like a tempting and cost-effective option, but the truth is that while using an off-the-peg build option may save you some money on the setup, the chances are it won't meet all of your business needs. That's because the nature of website templates is they are designed to meet the needs of the many and don't take your specific business requirements into account. Compromising from the start isn't the ideal beginning to a successful business website.
A custom-built website is designed around your business and its requirements. Web designers and developers build a user interface (UI) that makes your business look professional but also makes it easy for customers to navigate and find the information, products and services they need.
3 - AnalyticsIt's important you know how your website is performing as a small business. Some of the key questions you need to know the answers to are:
- How many unique visitors are you getting?
- How many purchasers and browsers?
- What are your most viewed pages?
- How long are customers staying on your site?
- What phrase are customers using to find your website?
As a small business, it can be difficult to get to grips with all of this on top of everything else you're trying to do. That's where a good performance report comes in as it easily provides these answers.
Strong analytics can also tell you how good your reach is, whether paid-for advertising or organic growth due to a great website experience. You need to know if there are technical issues with your website such as broken links, unloading pages or a slow load time. How many times have you clicked out of a site because it's taking ages to load?
With Positively Online, we can offer you insights into your business you've probably never had before and help you drive that important revenue. Learn more about how Positively Online can help create a successful small business website.
4 - SEOMost business owners shy away from this because they don't understand it, and it just seems like another monthly expense they could do without during these challenging times. Is this you?
On the other hand, you may have been badly burnt by SEO companies that make huge promises of a page one listing on Google, ranking you ahead of your competitors, charging significant amounts for a minimum of 6 months, sometimes more than a year, and then delivering nothing!
We do things differently at Positively Online. We work towards building an SEO strategy that works for your business, your targets, your unique situation and improves your rankings in the long term, giving your website more visibility where it matters most. More visibility in the right places online means that you are going to attract more visitors to your website, which generates more online enquiries, leading to more success. Although it does take time and patience, because there are no spammy shortcuts around this, but it will pay you back in the long-run and you’ll be glad you invested in good solid, right-for-you SEO.
If you already have a website, there are some simple and effective things you can do to help with SEO. These include:
- Update content regularly
- Create engaging blog pieces around interesting and relevant subjects
- Think about the keywords (search terms) you want to be associated with
- Check Google Trends to find popular phrases for the products and/or services you offer
You can find out more about our SEO approach here.
5 - Get good technical supportThere's nothing more frustrating than something going wrong with your website and having no idea how to fix it; and as a small business, anything like this is an unwanted distraction from day-to-day tasks.
It's probably unimaginable the effect that your website went down for a week or two would have. So, having the right technical support in place removes all these worries and frustrations while safeguarding you from lots of issues that can affect your website.
Sadly, cyber attacks are becoming more frequent with more people going online and launching small businesses.
In 2020 website security breaches were
45% hacking attack
17% malicious malware
It's not just small businesses that can be targeted. In 2016, Uber reported that hackers stole the information of 57 million riders and drivers from their website. We're not saying you're going to suffer the same fate as Uber, just highlighting how real the threat can be.
Good technical support from reliable professionals will give you peace of mind and has the potential to save you a lot of hassle, money and loss of customer confidence.
Find out more about our tech support here.
6 - Calls to action
Understanding the customer journey on your website is important. What is the action you want them to take - get in touch or purchase a product? Book an appointment or sign up for service?
Contact details, enquiry forms, sign-ups for regular contact and updates, links to useful information, and call-to-action buttons are all massively important as they help you capture relevant, valid, and very valuable, data as well as guiding people through the site.
As a small business, you need to capture that initial interest from a browser and a purchaser for future communications, so make sure your customers can get in touch and keep in touch with you. The same goes for making it easy for customers to navigate your site. Make it as simple and as visible as you possibly can. Don't hide away.
7 - Social mediaOnce your website is live, social media is a great tool to drive customers to it by letting them know about your offering and what you stand for as a brand.
When it comes to social media, our best advice is to get creative - nobody likes boring content. Social media is a great way to build brand awareness and extend its reach without always trying to sell to your audience. That said, it's a smart idea to always include a call to action, even a simple one like encouraging them to leave a comment or sign up to a newsletter.
Look to generate a community feel to what you are doing, so customers want to engage and will read your content. You will see a benefit and an uplift in traffic to your site.
3.6 billion people actively use social media
Projected to rise to 4.41 billion by 2025.
Take the first step to creating a website that will succeed in 2021 todayHopefully this article has given you plenty of food for thought about just how key to your success your website can be. Get it right and it's a great shop window for your business that can drive engagement and revenue. Get it wrong and it can quickly turn customers off.
If you already have a website, we offer a site review service to offer insight about your current site and how to improve it.
Or if you are looking to start a website from scratch, you can get in touch by sending us an email or giving us a call.