Having a website is essential if you’re a business owner. Not only will it make your business appear credible and professional, but it will also increase your chances of attracting online customers and making more sales. But when there are so many competitors on the market, how do you come out on top and win over the customers? If you’ve been wondering, you’re in the right place.
In this article, we’ll share nine tips to build a small business website to help you triumph over the competition. We’ll cover how to choose a good domain name and keep your customers satisfied. We’ll also explain the advantages of having a website and the essential elements to include on it. Let’s get started.
Advantages of a small business website
The number of digital buyers continues to rise. In 2020 alone, over two billion people purchased goods and services online.
That only highlights the fact that having an online presence is critical for your business. Let’s take a look at the advantages of going online:
- Available 24/7 – A website lets visitors shop and make orders at any hour on any day. They can also browse through your catalogue without time restrictions;
- Lower costs, higher margins – Compared to building a physical store, an online shop is way more efficient. On average, it takes $50,000 to start a brick-and-mortar business. Meanwhile, an online store costs only around $500 for a domain name, platform subscription, and other essential bits;
- Access to a global audience – Technologies such as geotargeting have made it easy to target international audiences. You can tailor ads to specific regions and increase relevance to the locals;
- Multiple sales channels – Market your products on other platforms such as Facebook Shops and Instagram Shopping to reach customers on different social networks and make more sales;
- Analytics and business insights – Track information and data from customers using tools such as Google Analytics and Hotjar.
Essential elements of a small business website
To ensure your small business website is ready for the world to see, make sure to include the following elements.
It’s important that visitors and potential customers understand what your business offers and how it can help their lives. For example, online design tool Canva writes “What will you design?” on its homepage banner, followed by clickable icons to presentations, social media, and videos to explain their products and services.
Make sure to include location, hours of operation, business description, links to other channels such as social media and additional contact information. This not only builds credibility, but also helps visitors learn more about your business and make well-informed decisions.
Use a standard navigation menu that users are familiar with so they can explore your site with ease. You can also make it sticky, so it’s accessible at any time. Additionally, consider providing a search bar so visitors can find what they’re looking for faster.
Prominent call to action buttons
Call to action buttons are links that lead users to your conversion goal. Therefore, make sure the design stands out. To do so, try using a contrasting colour and a slightly bigger size. Done right, this will draw visitors’ attention and increase conversion.
9 tips for building your small business website
Building a small business website is more than just posting your products or services online. It means setting up a proper online presence to provide a seamless shopping experience for your customers. This section will cover nine tips for a great business website, starting with choosing the right platform to finding the most essential marketing tools.
1) Purchase a good domain name
Having a great domain name is important for small businesses. It acts as a representation of your brand so that people can understand your industry right off the bat. Make sure the domain name is relevant and reflective of your business. This way, those interested in your niche can easily find your business through relevant queries in search engines. Some great examples include Milk Makeup and Away Travel which include phrases and keywords that explain their type of business. In line with that, a relevant domain name also helps attract more traffic because it is one among many ranking factors.
Other than including a relevant keyword in your domain name, consider following these practices as well:
- Keep it short- Stay within 15 characters or less than three words, so it’s easy to remember;
- Keep it simple – Avoid using numbers, hyphens, double letters, and special characters to avoid misspelling;
- Easy to pronounce – Make sure your brand is easy to spell, so it’s easy to pass along verbally.
2) Choose a suitable platform
Choosing a suitable platform to build your site is critical for the success of your business.
If you would like to set it up fast and start selling right away, a great option is using a website builder – a platform to create websites without any technical knowledge.
In fact, website builders come with free hosting and pre-made templates so you can focus on growing your business. It also has pre-built elements so users can customise their website easily.
That said, make sure the website builder includes the following features to support your small business growth:
- Responsive design – This is critical because more and more people are browsing the internet using not only mobile phones, but also tablets and other devices;
- SSL certificate – When running a business, it’s crucial to secure your website with security patches to avoid data leaks and other malicious activities;
- Payment options – Make sure it offers various payment gateways to ensure customers can checkout easily;
- Bandwidth and storage – Look for a site builder that offers unlimited bandwidth and storage so it can handle the traffic spike as your business grows;
- Integrations – Make sure it integrates essential tools to help your business grow, such as Google Analytics and Live Chats.
3) Focus on the customers
The key to a successful business is satisfied customers. In fact, 72% of buyers will share a positive experience with six or more people. Meanwhile, unhappy customers are more likely to share their poor experiences with fifteen or more people.
To avoid that from ruining your business, consider these practices to improve customer satisfaction:
- Design a customer persona – It’s a semi-fictional profile of your ideal customers based on data and research. Use this information to focus your business on serving the right audience;
- Create a user-friendly website – This includes easy navigation, style consistency, and load time. To understand which points to improve, consider identifying your customers’ pain points when browsing, then make adjustments;
- Respond quickly to inquiries – A quick response time can positively impact customer satisfaction. If you take more than an hour to reply, they might opt out and look for another company;
- Showcase trust elements – Trust elements include reviews, testimonials, and user-generated content. This is critical to build trust and make more sales.
4) Add relevant pages
After choosing a platform, purchasing a domain name, and making sure to prioritise your customers, it’s time to start adding some pages to your small business website.
To make sure your business website looks professional and trustworthy, include these essential pages before launching:
- This serves as a preview of your business – A great homepage should contain a headline that describes your business, a brief explanation of your products or services, and a brief statement on how you can help potential customers;
- About page – Here is where you explain more about your business, such as the summary of your company, employee biographies, special awards and achievements, and how you differ from other businesses in the same industry;
- Contact page – Include channels where people can reach out to you. Some essential contact information includes social media accounts, email addresses, phone numbers, and business hours;
- Product or Service page – Here is where you list details about the services or products you offer. Make sure to include images, clear and concise descriptions, and other relevant information such as product availability, colour and size options, and its benefits;
- FAQ page – This space is to answer the customers’ most frequently asked questions. This will save your time from answering repeated questions and remove doubts any customer may have.
5) Customise the website
Start customising your website by choosing the right theme. For example, if you want to establish a clean and modern tone, consider a theme with plenty of white space and sans-serif font choices. Gust and Mina are great options for this look.
One reason to customise your website is to build a strong brand identity. This way, your business appears unique from competitors, making it more recognisable to customers.
Other than the theme, make sure to pay attention to these elements as well:
- This sets you apart from competitors and increases brand recognition. Consider using professional services to create a representative logo. If not, there are free logo generators that can help with the task;
- This refers to the element arrangement on your website. Avoid clutter and overwhelming your web page with unnecessary items and information.
- Colour scheme – Stick with a consistent colour scheme with no more than three colours to ensure consistency. One functions as the dominant colour, while the rest serve to complement it;
- Choose up to three fonts that complement one another for the headlines, subheadings, and body texts;
- This element includes pictures, graphs, illustrations, icons, and screenshots to demonstrate your point better.
6) Enrich website with SEO
SEO refers to practices that help your website appear and rank on search engines. This is vital because 93% of online experiences start with a search engine, and most internet users don’t scroll past the first page of search results.
That said, enriching your small business site with SEO strategies can help increase ranking, online visibility, and discoverability. In turn, you’ll drive more traffic to your site and revenue for your business.
Let’s take a look at some of the best SEO practices to help your business grow:
- Perform keyword research – Include relevant and specific keywords to rank higher on the search engine results pages. You can use tools such as Ahref or Google’s Keyword Planner to get started;
- Prioritise site speed – This is critical because the site’s load time impacts how well you rank on Google;
- Optimise tags, images, and texts. Insert keywords to these elements, so search engines understand what your content is about;
- Write meta descriptions – This element informs visitors about your page before even visiting. When well-described, your meta description can positively affect your site’s click-through rate;
- Build internal links -Internal linking is a practice where you link to other pages on your website. This shows search engines how the pages on your site are connected.
Other than those mentioned above, another great way to optimize SEO for your business site is by blogging. Consider producing high-quality articles that are keyword-friendly and useful for the readers.
7) Ensure site security
Website security is critical for small businesses because cybercrime is on the rise. In 2021, security threats related to cybercrime are projected to hit $6 trillion per year.
Some of the most common attacks include malware, phishing, and DDoS. To avoid these activities from harming your business, it’s critical to apply the following security measures:
- Create strong passwords – Include random characters, numbers, capital letters, and make sure the password is long to avoid brute force attacks;
- Update your website regularly – Keep your site up to date with the latest updates to avoid glitches, bugs, and security weaknesses;
- Run regular backups – Keep a copy of your website so you can restore it in case the website gets hacked;
- Use anti-malware software – Protect your business site using features such as web scanning, DDoS protection, and malware detection and removal;
- Install SSL – This software encrypts any data transferred between your website and the user to prevent hackers from reading it.
Aside from protecting your site from harmful attacks, securing your website will also increase your chance to rank higher on search engines as Google favours it.
8) Provide easy checkout flow
The average cart abandonment rate is a staggering 69.57%, which means most users don’t complete their orders. Although the reasons vary, some of the most common issues include unexpected extra costs, members-only checkout, and a lengthy checkout process.
To lower your cart abandonment rate consider the following practices:
- Display extra costs upfront – Aside from shipping costs and taxes, let customers know if there are other fees to expect at the end of the process;
- Enable guest checkout – Let first-time customers and one-time visitors purchase without creating an account;
- Limit checkout flow to less than five pages – A lengthy checkout process tires potential customers and discourages them from completing the purchase;
- Include a progress bar – This feature helps buyers understand how close they are to finishing the transaction;
- Allow making changes from the cart page – Include buttons to add, remove, and modify the product variant, such as its colour, size, and quantity.
9) Use marketing tools to grow business
Other than the elements on your website, digital marketing tools are also critical to grow your business and triumph over competitors.
In fact, 63% of shopping journeys begin online, and digital buyers are expected to reach 2.14 billion people this year.
To stay on top of the game, make sure to use the right tools to gain insight into what your audience is looking for. This way, you can make the right decisions and create the most effective marketing plans.
Here are some must-have marketing tools for small businesses:
- Google My Business – A free tool for promoting your business and making it appear on Google Search and Google Maps. Add important information such as operating hours, website, phone number, and menus to help potential customers decide faster;
- HubSpot – An all-around customer relationship management tool with features such as live chat and forms to capture leads;
- MailChimp – A marketing automation tool that helps with managing, scheduling, and improving customer experiences. For instance, it sends out a welcome message to new subscribers to build relationships and features product recommendations based on customer’s browsing history;
- BuzzSumo – A content marketing tool to monitor growth opportunities using data. You can browse topics, trends, and forums to find what’s trending in your industry;
- Buffer – A social media marketing tool that helps track social media performance and plan better campaigns. You can plan and publish content for various channels such as Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest from a single interface.
Having a website is vital if you want your small business to succeed. With more and more businesses going online, creating a small business website that can triumph over competitors is critical.
Here’s a recap of the tips mentioned in this article:
- Purchase a good domain name – Make sure it’s relevant, easy to spell, and includes a keyword;
- Choose a suitable platform – Look for features such as unlimited bandwidth and storage, payment options, and integration with business tools;
- Focus on the customers – Prioritise your customers by responding quickly to inquiries and creating a user-friendly website with easy navigation and fast load time;
- Add relevant pages – Must-have pages include homepage, about page, and contact page;
- Customise the website – Pay attention to details such as the site’s logo, colour scheme, and typography;
- Implement SEO practices – Increase organic traffic by using keywords, prioritising site speed, and optimising texts and tags;
- Ensure site security – Protect your site from cyber attacks by installing SSL certificates, using anti-malware software, and updating your website regularly;
- Provide easy checkout flow – Reduce cart abandonment rate by displaying extra costs upfront, enabling guest checkout, and limiting the checkout flow to less than five pages;
- Use marketing tools – Grow your business using tools such as HubSpot, Buffer, and MailChimp.
There you have it, nine tips to help you build a small business website. Hopefully, this article has been helpful to you. Good luck on your journey!