Business Website

If you are a small business owner, you know by now that you need an online presence. But why? And what is the website supposed to do? Here are five essential things that your site should have and should do for your business.

First, building an effective website is as much art as science, but employing basic marketing principles goes a long way to attracting and converting viewers of your business site into clients and customers. In the first step of the Buyer’s Journey, the viewer becomes aware they have a problem that they need to solve. In the second step, the viewer defines what he or she needs and starts to research available options. In the third step, the viewer chooses a solution.

Your Website Should be Able to be Found By People Searching for Your Service or Product.

This is mentioned first for a reason. You could have the best website out there, perfect user experience, optimized beautifully for mobile, great representative hero section above the fold perfectly conventional construct…

You don’t know what any of that means and that’s okay - none of it matters if no one can find your site.

To get eyes on your site, it must be “search engine optimized” (SEO). What SEO does is inform Google what your site is about, so that people looking for the thing you do or provide can find you. It involved strategic placement of keywords and “long-tail keywords” which are Google queries like, “How do I build a really good business website?”

There are books available on how to learn SEO, but frankly, if you buy one of those books it is probably already out of date and probably was when it first was published, that’s how quickly the field is evolving.

That being said, there are some great SEO tutorials on YouTube. But I’m thinking you are too busy running your business to learn SEO too. Most professionals hire an expert to take care of SEO and web design for them because experts have time to keep abreast of the latest developments in technology and in the Google ranking methods.

Your Website Should Be Optimized for Mobile.

This is mentioned next because it is almost as important. When your web designer optimizes your site for mobile, you are capturing all of the searchers who are using their cell phone or pad to search. If you do not optimize for mobile, I guarantee that people will get annoyed and leave your site quickly.

Your Website Should Show What Your Business Offers Above the Fold.

What is “the fold”? According to Frank Olivo, owner of Philadelphia web development and SEO firm Sagapixel, “above the fold” is all the material visible when a webpage first loads, before the viewer scrolls down. Accordingly, “below the fold” refers to the material you have to scroll down to see.

In order to capture the attention and interest of someone who has landed on your homepage, you need an effective “hero section,” which is an image, slider, or text that is above the fold and shows the viewer exactly what you do and what you can do for the viewer.

Typically the hero section will be an arresting image and may include a logo in the upper left, navigation across the top, and a call to action button clearly visible. Sometimes that is all it takes to convert a viewer into a customer or client - they just click on that button.

Your Website Should Show That You Are An Authority

This is done in a variety of ways:

  • Your “About” section lists your credentials
  • Your site contains positive client or customer referrals or reviews
  • Your blog contains accurate, informative posts on topics relevant to your business, that employ SEO to capture those searchers looking for your product or service
  • The images on your site convey and support your authority in your field.
  • You link to authoritative sites and authoritative sites link to you.
  • Your site looks professional and behaves professionally (easy to navigate, with no slow-loading pages).

Your Website Should Provide a High-Quality User Experience

This is related to having your business site be mobile-friendly - if the viewer/user is annoyed while trying to view your site on his or her device, he or she will click away and go elsewhere. That is a poor user experience (UX).

What else is UX besides not annoying the user? A user has a good experience when he or she visits your site, scrolls/clicks through different pages, understands what the website is representing, and then gets what they want from the site.

Aspects of web design that ensure a good user experience (UX) are:

  • Having a prominent and easy-to-use contact page or number or email address;
  • No slow-loading pages;
  • Clearly define the purpose of the site above the fold with text, logo, and image;
  • Navigation must be clear - buttons look like buttons, etc.
  • Conventional placement of things like the logo (upper left), main navigation menu (top), call to action button (top), search feature (header), social media links (footer);
  • Use Headings, short paragraphs, and bulleted lists in the content;
  • Appropriate use of Title and H2, H3 headings, and text in the content;
  • Use images to break up the text in the content;
  • Use a font that is easy to read on digital screens, like Arial or Helvetica sans-serif;
  • No shouting (CAPS);
  • Use very few pop-ups - too many annoy the user;
  • Use white space and avoid cluttering up your pages.

The best way to test UX is to have someone surf your site and give you an opinion. It should be someone not overly technologically-savvy so that you get feedback from the perspective of a consumer, not a regular or sophisticated tech user.

About the Author

Veronica Baxter is a legal assistant and blogger living and working in the great city of Philadelphia. She frequently works with David M. Offen, Esq., a busy bankruptcy attorney in Philadelphia.