Almost all of the people that have heard about you, or look for you, will first head online. If you are a small business, of any type, a great website isn’t somewhere that you can skimp. They need to have the user experiences as their full focus. If you don’t have a website yet, or you do have one, but it’s just not what you want it to be, then these practical tips are for you.
“A successful website does three things:
It attracts the right kinds of visitors.
Guides them to the main services or product you offer.
Collect Contact details for future ongoing relation.”
― Mohamed Saad
Without looking at your current website, start to think about what it is you want. How do you want your customers to feel when they arrive on your site? A realtor or real estate agent, the chances are you’re going to want to check out Copper, to give you some fantastic functionalities. If you are a graphic designer, you’ll need a clean and easy to use portfolio. Begin to think about what it is your customer will want.
- What information do they want first?
- Why are they coming to this website?
By answering those two questions, you can then lay the foundations of what your website should look like. If you have some current customers, now is the time to do some research. Ask them a few questions, how do they find the site to use? What information are they looking for? What do they like about the website? And, perhaps most importantly – what don’t they like?
Your website should aim to fill the ‘needs’ of the people visiting.
Mobile and tablet use is more common for almost all websites now. Generally, if your website isn’t mobile responsive, you’re going to lose sales or leads. Mobile sites need to load quickly, so shouldn’t have large images or too much ‘fuss.’ Buttons need to be well spaced so that you only click what you need. This goes double for your call to action button. It is worth remembering that the user will still be looking for the same content and information, but the device is smaller and usually with less a less powerful internet connection. Adobe did a study that showed that 39% of people will leave a website if it doesn’t load quick enough or if the images don’t show up. From a business perspective, that is a significant loss of possible sales.
If you currently have a website, then you should use it for a while out of your office or home, to see how long it takes to load, are the images missing? Can you easily click the buttons? Is that call to action clear? What about the positioning?
Make notes about what you need to improve, and get to work on it.
Call To Action
Your call to action button has been mentioned a few times in this article. But it might not necessarily be a button. Imagine your website was an automated salesman. He will be generating leads, pushing sales, gathering information – a hard worker. How does he do it? With a call to action. A CTA is a powerful tool that prompt people to give you information, or make a purchase. The best CTAs will provide people with an incentive.
- ‘Buy Today Get 15% Off.’
- ‘Free Shipping’
- ‘Enter Your Email Address for a Discount’
- ‘Free Consultation’
Do you see the theme here? You are creating a reason for people to want to give you their details or make a purchase. If you run a business that simply cannot accommodate incentivized CTAa, then you’ll need to be even smarter.
You CTA will need to be front and center. Clearly visible, and still provides a space for people to leave details. Contact forms, a quick put ‘chat live’ button, email address input, or even a phone number option. Many big brands have started to use Whatsapp to keep people updated with deals and information. In order to truly maximize your CTA, it will need to be placed at the top of your website, easy to click and be one of the first things that load. A floating sidebar works well for tablets and the top of the page in a floating bar for mobile devices.
A final note on the CTA is that the whole purpose is to generate those lovely leads that will, in turn, generate your income.
Have you ever been looking through eBay or maybe Etsy and the description and the picture don’t really add up? Well, you need to avoid that. Your images should be clear, and show the product as it is. Of course, you’re going to edit them a little bit, but try only to stick to lightening the background, rather than changing the color of the product – which is easily done. You can opt to take product photos yourself, for this it is best to get a small pop-up lightbox, to make sure they are relatively professional.
Aside from your product photos, if you need them, you’ll have other images too. Using a combination of media, in this case, text and pictures, you’re going to get the best results and a more beautiful looking website. You can even use videos if it makes sense to do that. Embedding links from YouTube is a smart move if you are producing content regularly. Here are a few examples of where and when you might use images to ‘sell’ your products a bit more.
- Law firms or copywriting companies will have headshots of their employees, this will give people an idea of who they are talking to, and who they are working with. Personalizing the experience.
- Clothing and accessories will need to have great images of their goods, pictures of what is in stock, preferably on real people will make consumers envision how that pieces will look on themselves.
- Restaurants would need an image of how it looks on the inside, and a range of their best dishes. People eat with their eyes, so your food images need to be clean and bright. As well as having the menu easily accessible.
One person business? You own professional headshot will need to be front and center. Typically they are smiling and friendly, with a light background. Of course, this will depend on what your business is and who your customers are.
It is tempting to cram as much information into your website as you can. Pop-ups every few seconds, a million (exaggeration here) pictures, and your whole backstory. But do you need all of that? Most of the time, small business owners want all of the bells and whistles possible. Sliders, galleries, pop-ups, music, videos… all of these are pretty heavy and to get your mobile site loading quickly, and even your main site they will need to be slightly lower quality.
Quality over quantity matters.
Start with the bones of what you really need. How many pages?
Those may change depending on what you need. Then, build on that. Starting small in general will save you time and/or money – which is what you need really.
Think about these points when you are building:
- Loading quickly, within about 3 seconds – people are quick to leave a website
- Mobile optimized
- Smooth user experience
If you want to be on the front page of Google, you’re going to have to earn that spot with some extensive SEO work. Learning who is placing in the top spot will give you some insight. Using tools like Google Keywords, and your own analytics to streamline that search process will bump you up too.
“SEO is an investment just like a tree that needs effort, patience, and time to grow before you can see the result.”
― Dr. Chris Dayagdag
Do your research. Before you start building yourself, or you head to a website design agency begin to check out other websites that do the same thing as you. Get a feel for how they lay out their website, what do you like about it. You aren’t aiming to make a complete replica, but you will be looking to see what the best features are and what you like about it.
Take note on the photos, clean? Large? Easy to see?
Where have they placed their social media buttons? Where they easy to find? When you click them, what happens?
It is imperative to know what you don’t like when you are using a website too. Is it slow to load? Are there a lot of mistakes in the copy? Are the prices easy to find also?
The contact form is important too. Try theirs out, is it easy to click and type in the boxes? Small things make a big difference.
You are, always, trying to present your goods and products in a good light, part of that is going to be making it easy to use. Having a good website instantly puts you in an excellent light for your potential customers.