10 Website Reminders for Small Businesses in 2018
No matter what your line of business, your website should always be included in your marketing plan. Even if you have recently launched a new site, there are plenty of actions that should be tended to on an ongoing basis. And, if your site is out of date, hopefully a new site is on your list of tactics for this year.
While there are many requirements necessary for a website that contributes to your bottom line, here are 10 tips and reminders for 2018.
1. Your Website Drives Sales. A website is crucial to attracting new customers. If you sell products online, this of course, is a given. Even businesses that get most of their customers from referrals must have a website that will help convert leads. Once prospective customers have been referred to your business, they will go to your website to learn more, and a poor website will make lead conversion difficult.
2. A Well-Designed Homepage. Most visitors come to a website with intent. These potential customers already have some type of need and your homepage must quickly tell them who you are and what you do. Make it easy for site visitors to find what they are looking for with a few large and inviting images and primary navigation that is customer-friendly. Your homepage is the front door to the rest of the site.
3. Capture Inbound Leads. No matter what your product or service, you must make it easy for someone to either make a purchase or contact you. Having “contact” visible in the navigation is a must. Your contact page should have an easy-to-complete form that does not require a lot of unnecessary information. Capture what is essential as longer forms will get skipped. Your phone number should be in a visible place on the homepage so that visitors do not have to click to find it. If you have a newsletter, include a signup feature on your site, preferably the homepage.
4. Your Website Must Be Responsive. Websites built over the past few years are typically fully responsive – meaning the site “responds” to the device on which it is being displayed. Older sites were not built for mobile devices (smartphones and tablets). We all know how frustrating it is to visit a site from our mobile device only to find very small type that you cannot read. A site where visitors have to pinch and zoom to navigate is not user-friendly. Google and the other search engines penalize these sites in their search rankings so you cannot afford to have a non-responsive site.
5. SEO-Friendly Content. SEO – or search engine marketing – improves your site’s visibility which translates into improved page rankings. You must use the right keywords throughout your site and to do this you must conduct keyword research. It is best to hire some with experience writing website content. SEO is complicated and it is critical that headlines, subheads and content are well-written and incorporate the right keywords.
6. Design and Development Are Not The Same. Website design refers to the overall look and feel of the site – the visual. Development refers to programming or “development” of the site – the technical. It is rare that a developer will have the graphic design skills and experience necessary to create a website that is on-brand and user-friendly. These are two different skill sets.
7. Your Website Is a Marketing Tool. Many websites today do not perform well because they have been developed without consideration of a business’ overall marketing strategy. Sites developed without oversite by an experienced marketing professional generally lack focus. Developing a great website requires an experienced marketing professional to guide the project, develop messaging and content, and to provide direction to the designer and developer.
8. Page Load Speed Is Important. With the prevalence of mobile devices, it is critical that your site loads quickly – and the faster your site loads, the better your search rankings. People are impatient and rarely will wait more than a few seconds for a website to display. Page speed is now a ranking factor for Google so work with an experienced developer to ensure your site meets today’s requirements.
9. Review Your Site Frequently. Make it a habit to review your site regularly. With numerous plug-ins and technical updates, “things just happen” like content formatting errors and broken links. Add news and other quality content on a regular basis to keep your site fresh.
10. Always Have Your Site Log-in Information. Most business owners are not technical and hand over everything about their website to a third party. No matter who handles your site, you must always know your site’s log-in credentials, where your site is hosted, where your domain is registered and the log-in information for your domain. You never want to be in a position where you have a problem with your site and the person who has your access information is no longer around. Also, make sure stored credit card information is up to date so that you will not experience any site interruptions when a card is no longer valid.