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 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 his or her needs and starts researching 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 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). SEO informs Google what your site is about so that people looking for what 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 an excellent business website?”

There are books available on how to learn SEO, but if you buy one of those books, it is probably already out of date and probably was when it first was published; that’s how quickly the field is evolving.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 think you are too busy running your business to learn SEO. Most professionals hire SEO and web design experts because they have time to keep abreast of the latest developments in technology and 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 capture all of the searchers using their cell phones or tablets to search. If you do not optimize for mobile, I guarantee 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 loads before the viewer scrolls down. Accordingly, “below the fold” refers to the material you must scroll down to see.

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 above the fold that 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 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 connect to you.
  • Your site looks and behaves professionally (it is 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 represents, and 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 straightforward - 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 who is more technologically savvy so that you get feedback from a consumer's perspective, not a regular or sophisticated tech user.