In today’s digital landscape, a small business website is one of the most important tools any business owner can have. It’s a place where your audience learns about who you are, what you do, and how you can help them. But what are the essential areas all small business websites should focus on when creating or updating their sites? We asked Katie O’Brien, a website designer and brand strategist, what small business owners should focus on. Here’s what she had to say.
1. A Simple Home Page
You don’t need to do all of the things on your website’s homepage. Focus instead on being clear and concise. O’Brien says, “Visitors should immediately — without scrolling — know exactly what you offer and if it’s for them. This makes the difference between someone landing on your page and immediately clicking the back button to go back to their search results…or sticking around and taking action on your website.”
2. Hours of Operation
When are you open for business? While you might think this is common knowledge, new-to-you customers might not have any clue when you do business. If you own a traditional storefront, this is especially important, but it’s important for remote workers or digital storefronts as well.
If you haven’t collected praise from your previous clients or customers, now’s the time. Your prospects want to read recommendations from people who have worked with you.
“The testimonials not only validate your products and services,” says O’Brien, “but they allow potential clients to imagine what it would be like working with you or purchasing from you.”
So, where should you place this praise? O’Brien suggests using them in two different ways. She says, “Testimonials should be strategically placed throughout your website to support the individual goals of each page on your website. You should also have a dedicated place on your website to list out all testimonials.”
4. A Clear List of Services
“Clarity is key with your services page,” says O’Brien. But what does that mean? If you have multiple offers or products, you may have a lot to say. However, there is a way to keep the main page structured. O’Brien says, “If you have multiple offerings consider having a simpler overview on your services page and an individual page for each service.”
“You’ll want to get clear on the action you want your potential clients to take. Should they book a call? Purchase a product? Once the call to action is identified everything should be built out around that.”
5. An About Page About the Both of You
Don’t think that the about page should be about only you and your business. Since this is one of the most viewed pages on any small business website, use it to remind your audience what problem (of theirs) you can solve. For example, a nutritionist might talk about how diet culture creates self-esteem issues, and then go on to talk about how her mission is to teach people to eat healthy in a way that makes them feel good about themselves.
6. Social Media and Contact Information
You want to keep people on your website until they’re ready to follow your calls-to-action, such as booking a call. However, not everyone who visits your small business website is primed to buy — though they may want to keep following you and reach out when they are ready. Here’s where directing them to your social media accounts and having a clear contact page come in handy.
But, O’Brien says, “Social media information and your contact information serve two completely different purposes. Most of the time if someone wants to contact you they have a very specific reason – for instance, a question before they buy. Those who are connecting with you on various social media outlets just want updates from you… some of the time.”
To help those clients wanting to buy, make your contact page easy to navigate to at all times, and keep the copy simple. As for social media, O’Brien suggests placing them in the footer of the small business website.
The key is keeping viewers on your site, until they’re ready to take the steps to move into the direction you’re leading them via your copy and design, not lose them to social media.
This may seem like a lot to do on one small business website, but don’t stress. O’Brien says, “I think a lot of people feel websites are this super complicated formula, but they’re a lot simpler than most think. Clearly state what it is you do or provide and how they can move forward. That should be the primary focus of every website.”