In today’s digital age, your small business website should be at the center of your marketing strategy. What does this mean? A successful small business website that is, in fact, at the center of your marketing strategy, needs to be optimized in three major areas: It needs to provide the necessary information your visitors are looking for, it needs to be optimized for search engines so that it can show up on the first page of search results for the right audience, and it needs to be mobile-friendly. In this post, we provide a checklist in each of these three areas so you can make sure your website is facilitating your marketing goals.
Include the Following on Your Website for Visitors
Your business website should be the most reliable source of information for consumers. If in doubt or looking to find more information, consumers will check your website. Use this handy checklist to ensure your website has everything local consumers expect to find. For more details on website content, download our eBook below:
Related eBook: 5-Step Guide to Creating Killer Website Content
Address and Directions
Make it easy for your website visitors to find your address and directions. Add or link to a map with directions and include parking information or tips.
Hours of Operation
Don’t hide your hours of operation. It’s best not to risk customers coming to your business to find closed doors. 42% of consumers say not finding hours leaves a negative impression.
Your phone number must be front and center on your website. More than 50% of consumers will view your site right from their phone! If you accept text messaging, be sure to mention this. Younger consumers prefer text messaging over a phone call.
Email Address or Contact Form
Provide your email address for the folks who prefer sending emails over making phone calls or writing public posts. Consider adding a contact form to prevent getting spam emails – they are easy to set up.
Product or Service Info
42% of consumers say they visit the website of a small business to find product and service info. Describe your business, what you’re offering, and how your business is unique. Think of your website as your online storefront. Make it easy for visitors to understand what your business is all about.
If you run a restaurant or eatery, post a menu on your website. Consumers don’t want to go to any extra effort to find the content they’re used to seeing on your competitors’ websites. And today it’s easier than ever to add your menu to your website, or to simply add a link to a third-party site that hosts your menu.
Since pictures speak louder than words, photos of your business are crucial to winning customers. Photos convey the atmosphere of your business and give browsing consumers an idea of what to expect. In fact, 27% of consumers say they will not consider a business if they cannot find photos or a video on the website. Add 4-5 key images showing your place of business, products and services, happy and satisfied customers, and staff working with customers.
About Us Page
Tell your story! An “About Us” page is your chance to tell consumers why you went into business, and why you love what you do. Your story and personal connection to your business sets you apart from big box stores and chains.
Links to Social Pages
Most of the activity for your business probably lives on your social pages. Adding links to your social pages lets your website visitors dig even deeper and get the level of comfort necessary to becoming new customers.
Qualifications and Awards
Important qualifications, accreditations, certifications, memberships or awards help build confidence and trust in your business. Don’t be shy, and include these on your website to turn visitors into customers. You have worked hard to earn them! These are unbiased and help build confidence and trust in your business.
If you run a service-based business, be sure to add testimonials to your site. Consumers love to read stories from other people. Plus, testimonials confirm whether the business or service will meet their needs.
Booking and Ordering
Provide consumers the convenience of booking or ordering online! Let consumers book appointments or make reservations whenever it’s best for them. In fact, over a third of consumers prefer to book appointments in off-hours. If you run a restaurant, consider adding online ordering to let customers place orders without being put on hold.
Positive Customer Reviews
Finally, remember to keep your site updated. Consumers lose confidence and interest when visiting a site with outdated information.
What You Need to Optimize Your Website for Search Engines
If a consumer searches for a business like yours in your city, you want your website to come up in the results. Here is how you can let the search engines know where your business is located, so they can match your website to a location. These SEO basics are often overlooked and give you a leg up on the local competition.
Related eBook: SEO Pocket Guide
Make your Business Info Readable
Double check that your business name, address, and phone on your website are readable by search engines – and not just embedded in an image. To check this, select your business name and address with your cursor. If the characters highlight one at a time, your listing is readable by Google. If you can only select all at once, it’s likely to be an image. If it’s an image, replace the image with text.
Utilize Local Keywords
One way to get more exposure in local searches is to add your city and state to your site. You can do this yourself or ask your web developer to make the changes.
Here’s where to put your local keywords:
- Title tag
Example: Chinese Restaurant in Denver, CO | The Golden Dragon |
- H1 Heading:
Example: Authentic Chinese Cuisine in Denver, CO
- Alt Text on Images:
Example: Menu for The Golden Dragon in Denver, CO
- Your URL
Consider changing your URL if possible. You would not do this on your homepage but rather on other pages that are part of your website.
Include Keywords in Content
Incorporate some city or regional keywords in your website copy.
For example: We have been serving the Denver market for over 50 years, with two locations in Park Hill and Washington Park.
Link from Social Media Sites to Your Website
Create social media posts that link to your website. Clicks from the posts to your page indicate the importance of your website to search engines.
Checklist for Making Your Website Mobile-Ready
Mobile devices and tablets are now being used more than PCs for local search and product purchases. When your website is mobile-optimized, it’s easily read on mobile devices. Plus, Google recently made an important change to its local search algorithm that demotes non-responsive sites from local and mobile searches.
Check for Mobile-Friendliness
The results should show that:
☐ Your website can be read without zooming in.
☐ Links are far enough apart to be clickable.
☐ All of the important/immediate content can be seen on the screen without having to scroll.
If your website passes, you are done! If there are issues, you need to make changes. Either make the recommended changes yourself or send the results to your web developer with a request to make the changes. For a quick fix, you can also add a mobile site to your existing website. The mobile site is automatically shown when accessed by mobile users.
These guidelines will help you to optmize your website for consumers, search engines, and mobile usage—which are all crucial to getting found and attracting customers. For more help with getting found online, download our free eBook below: