10 Best Practices for Small Business Websites

Turn Your Small Business Website Into a Profitable “Second Location”

As a small business owner, you’ve probably thought more now than ever before about your website. The recent events have changed the way business gets done, especially for local businesses that didn’t rely on website traffic as heavily as foot traffic.

But one of your most powerful sales assets is your website. A good website is like having a second location that’s open every single day – one with less overhead and no staffing issues.

A well-designed website is your most effective marketing tool. It introduces your business to people who need what you offer.

Customers may be able to make purchases directly from your website. This makes it even more important that your website has a clean, modern design, mobile friendly function, and optimized product and services pages.

Conversion Killers: Fix These First

Your ideal customers have plenty of choices in the marketplace and everyone’s competing for their limited attention. First impressions matter and if a potential customer lands on your website and experiences any frustration, they are unlikely to return.

The primary conversion killers are:

  • Slow loading time
  • Confusing layout or navigation
  • Poor mobile experience

When your site delivers a poor user experience, not only are you fighting an uphill battle with getting new customers or making online sales, but you’re also going to struggle with ranking on Google.

How Do You Create a Website That Makes Sales and Converts Customers?

After function, design and messaging are the foundations of every strong, sales generating website. You need a website that attracts and converts buyers to grow your small business.

Your website design should deliver key pieces of critical information, like hours and location, in a way that is easy to access and easy to read. It should also be easy to find products or links to your services and special promotions.

Small Business Website Best Practices

When you get your website right, it will consistently be a source of high-quality customers that will improve the bottom line for your business.

These best practices set you up for success from the moment a potential customer lands on your website:

Attractive Images:  Who is your ideal client?  It’s critical that those potential clients see themselves in the images on your website if you provide professional services. If you have a product-based business, high resolution images of your products should be featured.

Trust Signals and Social Proof:  If you have online purchasing options make sure you feature “trust signals” that let people know their credit card or personal information is secure. People are rightly concerned about cybersecurity, and they expect the same high caliber protection from small businesses, too.

Another trust signal you might include on your website is your guarantee if you offer one. Less risk for customers can mean more reward for you.

Social proof, like reviews and testimonials, shortens the sales cycle. Make sure you have positive reviews featured prominently on your site.

Easy to Navigate: Keep your site navigation friendly and intuitive. Try to limit how many clicks it takes to reach pages and use internal linking when it makes sense to draw visitors deeper into your site. Check that your site’s navigation is clear on mobile devices as well.

Client Focused and Benefit Rich: When people come to your website, they’re searching for solutions or looking for an experience. They want to see that you understand and can address their needs. Tell the story of your business in a way that keeps the focus on your customers.

Highlight the benefits of the features of your products or services.

Optimized for SEO:  It’s a rare website that produces traffic without having a comprehensive search engine optimization (SEO) plan. In order to get visibility in search results, you need a robust strategy that considers a wide range of keywords and how to leverage them to generate traffic to your website. And with most people searching generic terms like “gift shop near me” you need a blend of branded, unbranded, and local terms to show up consistently.

Social Media Links: Social media should be part of your overall digital marketing strategy. Not only does it widen your audience, but it does also seem to convey some SEO benefits. Asking people to connect with or follow your accounts and pages gives you another conversion opportunity. It also gives you a great place to generate buzz around your offerings and lean into the energy from user generated content.

Company Blog with Rich Content:  If it makes sense, having a blog that consistently publishes good, relevant content can help build online traffic and attract customers.

Blogging is still a very effective way to drive content to your website and create a perception of value.

Powerful Service Pages: The best product and service pages clearly state the features and benefits of your primary offerings. Create keyword optimized service pages that set you and your business apart from others.

People Do Business With People: If you have a service-based business, it’s smart to have great, high resolution headshots of you, and any other professionals, or staff. Write compelling bios for everyone and focus your About Page on your story as it relates to your ideal customer. Don’t be afraid to be personable and share hobbies and interests.

Extra bonus: Add a quick 1-2 minute video on your bio pages. Google loves video and so do website visitors. Video is great for breaking up walls of text and helping people easily consume content. When people see you on video they instantly feel a connection. Product demos also make for great video content. 

Accessibility, Always:  More and more people are doing business almost entirely online. And people with visual impairments or other disabilities depend on business owners, like you, to make an accessible web a priority. Just a few smart design modifications and simple codes will ensure your site works with adaptive technologies while meeting ADA guidelines for website accessibility.

Let’s Get Down to Business!

You deserve to have a great, well-designed website that brings in a steady flow of excited customers. By focusing on site performance, design, SEO, and messaging you will put yourself ahead of competitors. An effective website is no longer a luxury for successful small businesses.

Not sure where to start?  We offer comprehensive web design services and SEO optimization for small business owners. We’re currently accepting applications. Get on our list here to transform your website into a valuable business asset.

Marc Apple

Marc Apple

Digital Strategist

I like inbound marketing strategy, creative design, website development, analytics, and organic and paid search. That's what I write about.