Having a great website is an extremely cost-effective and convenient way to reach customers. A website will act as a digital storefront where you can showcase your products or services 24/7. You’ll even be able to process sales or take registrations over the internet, making it much easier for customers to engage with your business.
Since 85 percent of shoppers use the internet to search for local businesses, developing a strong online presence will help many more people in your area discover what your company has to offer. However, business owners — particularly those working from home who don’t have a physical storefront — risk driving potential customers away by overlooking important website details. Here’s how to avoid mistakes and build the perfect website for your small business.
Hire a Professional
Many people choose to build their own websites using sites like WordPress.com, Squarespace, Weebly, and Wix, and these can be helpful if you’re working with a smaller budget. However, website builders will severely limit the degree to which you can customize and tweak your site to your needs. Many business owners who go this route eventually hire a professional to sort out issues with appearance, performance, and user experience.
So, hire an expert web designer like Geeked Out Media right out of the gate who can create a custom design that is perfectly suited to your business and audience. Whether you want to introduce online sales or simply inform people about your home-based business, a custom website and WordPress theme will cater directly to your target audience and accommodate your marketing objectives.
Focus on User-Friendly Design
You have only seconds to convince a website visitor to remain on your page. And when you’re operating a small business from home, this is often the only impression you make. A user-friendly website design will ensure that the visitor’s experience is effortless and enjoyable. Confusing navigation, frustrating load times, or text that’s difficult to read can scare customers away before they learn what your business is all about. A user should be able to land on your site and immediately find the information they came for.
An important part of user-friendliness is optimizing your website for mobile visitors. Your mobile site should be a specially designed, responsive version of your website that is simple to navigate on mobile devices and compatible across many platforms. Since half of all searches for local businesses are done on mobile devices, this should be a priority.
Optimize for Search Engines
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of increasing the visibility of a website in search results. An optimized website will rank higher on Google, driving more visitors to the website when people search for relevant topics. One of the best ways to improve SEO on your website is to publish original, high-quality content. Take time to research keywords that potential customers might use to find your business online, then incorporate these into the content on your site. Consistently publish informative blog posts, articles, guides, and original graphics to boost your online credibility. In your content, include informative links, use plenty of headers, and insert keywords where they feel natural. Additionally, ask your web developer to help you add alt text and meta descriptions to further boost your website SEO.
Collect Email Addresses
Building an email list will give you a gold mine of interested consumers to market your products or services to. An email list allows business owners to communicate directly with their customers, nurturing new leads and encouraging customers to return. According to Forbes, email marketing has some of the highest ROIs of any marketing strategy. To get an email list, you’ll need to place a sign-up button or opt-in form somewhere on your website. Consider installing a pop-up email capture on your site and putting an opt-in box in the footer for the best conversions. Keep in mind that people are much more likely to sign up if you offer an incentive, such as a free ebook, a discount code, or coupons. You can always hire a freelance email marketer to help you build a targeted email campaign, and you can find these professionals offering their services through online job platforms.
Websites bring tremendous value to small businesses, helping them attract new customers and connect with a larger audience. With an online presence, you’ll show up in local Google searches, improve your business’s reputation, and collect valuable customer information that you can use towards future marketing efforts.
Guest Post by Lindsay Weiss
Lindsey enjoys marketing and promoting one’s brand. She believes that to move your market, you must know your market. She is the co-creator of Outbounding.com, which connects organizations with the publishers and webmasters who care about the vertical.