Websites have never been more important for a small business, but can your customers find you and your website online? Having a website is a good first step, but then you need to optimize it to convert your website visitors into paying customers. Consider these five questions when evaluating if your small business website is doing the most for your bottom line.
Question #1: Is your website valuable to customers?
Just having a website isn’t enough to convert potential customers into payers. Your website content should focus on the information your customers want most. Are you describing the benefits to your product, the process to access your services, your hours of operation, curbside pickup instructions, and other critical pieces of information? Take a few moments to consider your website from the viewpoint of someone who has never shopped with you before. What are the top five things you want to make sure they know so they’re most likely to purchase your good or service?
Additionally, it’s important to keep your website up to date. Hours, location, and additional contact information are key items to keep up to date on your website. If your hours fluctuate because of staffing or other issues, let your customers know! Small updates like changes to hours of operations or your current contact information are easy to do yourself on most website platforms. If you aren’t sure how to make these changes but want to learn, Request Services from Northland SBDC to learn more about how to access website training for your small business at no cost to you!
Question #2: Is your website accessible?
Website accessibility is all about being able to access your content regardless of the device being used or the user’s accessibility needs. Did you know that there are ways to make your website more accessible to people with disabilities? By designing your website for everybody, you’ll increase traffic and sales for your small business. Most website platforms have tools built into them to improve accessibility that you can leverage with your current site! Key things to consider are alternative text and captions for images and video content, using contrasting colors visible for those with color vision deficiency, and making sure your text is large enough using an easy-to-read font.
Question #3: Is your website credible?
A key reason to have a website is to increase trust between your customers and your business. It’s important that the information on your website is accurate and conveys professionalism. Do you have your correct contact information listed on your website, and does it match the information found on Google or in other online directories like Yelp? Having conflicting information on the internet can cause confusion for your customers and a lack of trust in your brand. Another expectation that many customers have is correct grammar and spelling. If writing isn’t your strongest skill, work with a friend, family member, or a professional to make sure your website conveys the professional message you want to describe your small business brand.
Question #4: Can customers find your website?
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the strategy of making sure your website ranks highly on Google and other search engines. There are a lot of items that affect this including the content on your website, some settings behind the scenes for your website, if other credible websites link to yours, and how often your website is updated. SEO is definitely important for your small business website! You can find tutorials on improving your SEO online, or you can Request Services to ask about working one-on-one with a website expert at no cost to you or your small business. Our marketing experts would love to work with you on helping your website be found.
Two other methods for making sure your business can be found online is a Google My Business listing and social media accounts. Google My Business listings are the informational listings with phone number, website, hours of operation, and location that show up when you search for a business on Google. Customers are more frequently using the My Business listing to get information directly from a website, saving time versus visiting your website directly. Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms are also ways that many customers are looking for business information. The great news is that all of these platforms are free to create a business account, so you should take advantage of them today! If you’re looking for a hand in learning more about Google My Business or social media for small businesses, check out the videos on our YouTube channel.
Question 5: Is your website usable?
As broadband internet and smartphone technology has become more common in our society, consumer expectations around their internet experience have also changed. Users expect a fast and easy to navigate website, and studies show that most users will not even wait 3 seconds for your website to load on their smartphone. Optimize your website to load quickly on both smartphones, tablets, and desktop computers by properly sizing photos, limiting the amount of content on each page, and using a reliable website hosting service. Your website also must be easy to navigate so users do not have to visit more than one or two pages to find the information they’re looking for.
How can you take action to help your small business?
All these website tips and tricks will help your customers find the information they need and build trust in your brand. If you’d like to learn more and start fixing up your current website, be sure to check out our latest free webinar on websites and SEO at the Northland Small Business Development Center YouTube channel! Marketing experts Briana Manning and Katelin Shaft from Pearson & Von Elbe Advertising provide specific tips on setting up a Google My Business page, increasing SEO, responding to business reviews online, and more. If your business has been impacted by COVID-19 and you’d like to work one-on-one with a Northland SBDC marketing consultant at no-cost, be sure to Request Services from our team of consultants.
Vicki Hagberg lives in Nashwauk and is a consultant for the Northland Small Business Development Center, helping small businesses on the Iron Range start, grow, and succeed.
Special thanks to Briana Manning and Katelin Shaft from Pearson & Von Elbe Advertising for their recent webinar for Northland SBDC on small business websites and SEO. Click here to watch this free webinar on our YouTube Channel!