Research shows that up to 97% of your potential customers will be actively searching online for your products and services, and over 50% of online searches are now carried out on a mobile device.
As a small businesses in a competitive industry you can’t afford to lose out on new or repeat business simply because your website lets you down.
Sometimes it’s hard to sift through the myriad of information out there, so we’ve pulled together the 11 most essential components we think you need to include on your website. If you implement our recommendations you’re guaranteed to improve your site instantly, generating more visits and ultimately enquiries and sales.
Source: SCORE infographic, Customer-friendly websites https://www.score.org/resource/infographic-customer-friendly-websites
1. Information about you you are
As soon as a visitor lands on your website you want them to know who you are and what you do, this avoids confusion and the chance of them abandoning your site because the information they were looking for was too difficult to find. Research shows that over 50% of online sales are lost because visitors couldn’t find the content they were looking for. Ensure you clearly state what your business does near the top of your homepage, and make sure this is written in a simple and easy to understand language (no jargon!).
2. Make your contact details easy to find
It’s important that your contact details are easy to find and displayed clearly so that customers can get in touch quickly. Consider having your phone number at the top of your homepage, and your full address and contact details in the footer of each page. This will also help with your local search optimisation as Google will check your location for local searches.
3. Make your Calls To Action (CTAs) obvious
A Call To Action is a piece of information inviting customers to carry out an action i.e. what you want them to do next. Once they’ve found the service, product or information they were looking for, how do they for example, get in touch, make a purchase or download content. Always provide a clear Call To Action, whether this is a Buy Now button, a link to your Contact Us page or Enquiry Form – this ensures visitors don’t just click away from your site because they couldn’t figure out the next step.
4. Optimise each of your key pages for the Search Engines (SEO)
It’s essential to at least carry out a basic level of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for each key page on your website. Search Engines like Google need to know what your page is about, and you can provide this information by optimising your Page Titles and the content on each of your pages with your main keyword phrases.
If you’re using WordPress as your website Content Management System (CMS) we’d recommend you use the free Yoast SEO plugin enabling you to optimise the pages within your site to ensure it gets found by search engines. This step is imperative if you want to increase traffic to your site as 86% of consumers stated that using a search engine helped him/her find what they were looking for.
5. Keep your content fresh and up-to-date
If you want your customers to keep coming back to your site, it’s important to keep your content fresh and up to date. The biggest turn-off for website visitors is when they visit your site to find out of date news, offers and promotions, or they can’t find your latest products or services. By keeping your content up to date, interesting and helpful, your visitors will gain more trust in your business, and it’s a clear signal that you’re still around and open for business.
6. Keep your content easy to read
A lot of small businesses make the mistake of simply transferring their brochure content to the web. Unfortunately online visitors want information that’s quick and easy to read and digest.
Use Headings and subheadings, bullet points and highlight important words/phrases to make your important information stand out. By giving your customers easy to read information instead of a huge paragraphs loaded with technological jargon, it will keep them engaged for much longer.
7. Tell your story
It’s a great idea to provide details about your background, company history, and why you exist on your website, telling your company story and providing an insight into you and your business. This can help you strike up a rapport with your online visitor, enabling them to feel that they know you better. This personal touch can help build trust in your company and encourage visitors to want to engage with you.
8. Showcase your past work
We all like to have evidence that businesses can do what they say they can do. By providing images and proof of successful work you’ve carried out in the past is really important. Consider asking customers for Testimonials, or create a Recent Projects or Case Studies section on your site. Showing potential clients your past work, and happy customers, helps them build up confidence and trust in your products or services, and encourages them to get in touch.
9. Show them you’re the expert(s)
A blog is a great way to provide helpful, interesting and fun information about your area of expertise for both your current and potential customers. It’s an informal area on your website that can highlight things like company news, industry news, helpful tips and tricks, video content etc. Having a blog is great if you’re developing your social media strategy, providing you with content to link to and from your social media platforms.
Research shows that over 46% of people read blogs more than once a day so they could be a crucial part of your site, and a great way for you to attract new customers.
10. Make your content visual and interactive
Using images and video on your site simply makes your site more interesting and appealing to visitors. Research shows that 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual which is why photos and videos are so important, as these are the first pieces of content your audience will look at on your site. Customers connect more with imagery and it can help them understand more quickly what you’re selling/promoting immediately.
11. Make your site mobile-friendly
We’re all using mobile phones and iPads to browse the web almost every day. Current research shows that 27% of consumers will leave a site if it is not mobile-optimised.
It’s essential to have a site that is designed to display properly on a mobile device, making it easy to read and interact with, ensuring you don’t miss out on new enquiries and sales.