It’s tough to get noticed online these days. After all, you compete with huge, established websites and other small business websites.
Don’t give up, though. Contemporary shoppers, millennials in particular, are savvier shoppers. They’ll often pick boutique options over mass retailers.
That good news for small businesses offering specialized services or products.
Fortunately, you can take a lot of steps to improve your website.
So, let’s jump in and look at some site improvement tips.
Search engines wield vast power over whether your site succeeds or fails. Make a search engine unhappy and your site gets pushed down out of the first and second-page results. Make them happy and your site climbs up the ranks.
SEO does a lot of the work in deciding where your site shows up in those ranks, but search engines also offer guidance. A few things they look for include:
- image tags
- social sharing options
- schema markup
- voice search compatible
- relevant, quality content
- clear site navigation
If you want a good example of clear site navigation, go check out Mojo Media web design and SEO.
Of course, a lot of good SEO practices happen under the hood at the level of site design and web programming. If you don’t feel confident about the technical side of SEO, considering hiring an SEO pro.
The last section mentioned relevant, quality content. What does that actually mean in practice?
Let’s start with quality. Quality means the content lacks obvious errors and the ideas flow naturally from beginning to end.
A blog post about raising tomatoes in Texas, for example, must start with why growing tomato plants in Texas is different or difficult. Then, it must offer specific solutions to those challenges.
Relevant means relevant for your own customers.
Let’s say you run a garage. Your customers will care about a blog post on mastering home oil changes. If you write a post about comic books, no matter how good, your customers won’t care.
3. Mobile Ready
People visit websites on their phones more often than on desktop computers. In other words, your site must work flawlessly on mobile devices.
Of the available approaches, responsive design is probably the most popular method of making a website mobile ready.
A responsive design website uses a grid pattern to arrange the content. It also uses proportional measurements for sizing. This lets the site reorganize the content so it displays well on any size screen.
4. Consistent Branding
Whether you know it or not, your business has a brand. One way you can think of your brand is that it’s the promise your business makes. You need to consider this promise during every phase of the creative process. When you create a brand name you are forming the first impression of the promise you make to your future customers.
In essence, your brand expresses what your customers get when they visit your site or store. A consistent brand makes the same promise everywhere on your website.
Your blog posts reflect the same priorities and attitudes as your homepage. Your images back up the same attitude.
For example, let’s say you want a funny brand.
If the images on your site show a bunch of dour-faced employees, the funny branding fails. If your blog posts take a clinical attitude toward their subject matter, the funny branding fails. If you use subdued colors on your website, it undermines the funny brand.
Consistent branding at every level reassures visitors that they’ll get what they expect from you. Inconsistent brands create a sense of psychological unease. Uneasy visitors don’t buy things.
5. Solid Hosting
Website visitors don’t show much patience. Your site must load in about 2-3 seconds before visitors leave.
While on-page factors can slow download times, so can a mediocre hosting service. Make sure you pick a reputable host and a plan with enough bandwidth.
Make a point of testing the load time on your website on a regular basis.
6. Contact Information
You go to a website and think, “Yes, I definitely need this thing.” Then, you can’t find so much as a phone number or email address to give those people your money. After endless searching, you give up and move on.
Feel familiar? If so, it’s because too many small business websites bury their contact information.
Granted, it’s probably an innocent oversight. They’re so focused on showcasing their product or service that contact info gets lost in the shuffle. It’s a costly mistake.
Minimally, you need a dedicated Contact Us page. You also need an obvious link to it on every other page on your website.
Some businesses take it a step further. They put basic contact information and a small map for their location at the bottom of every page. The important part is that you make it easy for visitors to reach you.
7. Use Calls to Action
Putting up a business website is an implicit sign that you sell something, but it’s not enough. Many people visit a website and review the information passively. You must encourage them with calls to action.
A good call to action must accomplish several things, including being:
Let’s look a couple of not so great calls to action:
“This product is available for order.”
“We provide additional information on request.”
Both of those calls to action fail spectacularly. They lack any sense of urgency. They don’t compel attention.
You might make them obvious with bright colors, but their other failings make it pointless.
Now let’s look at a couple of better calls to action:
“Start Saving Today”
These CTAs are basic but solid. They achieve urgency and obviousness. Both phrases are compelling and specific.
Simply prompting a visitor can spur them into a decision.
Parting Thoughts on Improving Small Business Websites
Tactics for improving small business websites range from the technical to the mundane.
On the technical side, you can work on your site’s SEO. You can also redesign your site with responsive design.
On the mundane side, you can polish up your branding and insert calls to action. Don’t forget about making your contact info easy to find. Support your website’s loading speed with solid hosting.
Focus on delivering relevant, quality content. Make sure your site shows consistent branding.
Also, you can take this process in stages. Trying to do it all at once will give you a headache.
Full Scale SEO offers SEO, web design, and online marketing services. To learn more about our services, contact us today.