Five Questions to Ask Before Building A Small Business Website
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The Fundamentals of Small Business Websites
Small businesses need websites. They need them to connect with customers, to get their names out there, to compete with bigger companies with larger budgets. But where to begin with a small business website?
We’ll answer that question with a question. Five questions, actually.
The following five questions won’t tell you too much about HTML coding or CMS software for website development, but they’re critical for you and your developer to review in order to create a successful website.
What Makes You Better Than the Competition?
A small business website is already behind the proverbial 8-ball based on the size of the company. There’s no marketing, sales, or PR departments dedicated to getting information and messages out there. Value must be communicated clearly and efficiently, and that needs to show at one glance why a potential customer should choose you over a competitor, whether that competitor is a fellow small business or a large corporation. This messaging can be executed in a number of ways: videos, text, images, infographics, etc. However you choose to do it, just be sure that the value proposition is consistent and easily digested.
Where Can I Find What I Need?
Poor navigation can be found on websites of all shapes and sizes. Sometimes, small businesses wind up with dated navigation methodology or poor coding due to budget; similarly, large corporations can have overwhelming navigation or too many bells and whistles. Navigation should be clean and streamlined. If a user can’t determine where to find what they need, they’ll quickly lose their interest (usually within a few seconds) and you’ll be out a potential customer.
Can I View It On My Phone?
Mobile traffic is growing worldwide. In fact, global Internet traffic from mobile devices now occupies 33% of bandwidth. That means that many people are trying to view your website on a small screen. Ensuring mobile-friendly options is a necessity, especially if you’re a business that caters to local customers who may be perusing their options while on the go or in a pinch. Responsive website technology allows for adaptability across mobile screen sizes. This usually streamlines excess images and loading so that the core content is presented cleanly, along with a mobile-friendly menu that provides easy access to pages and options.
Can I Find It On Google?
In the past decade, the term Google has become more than just a company name; it’s known colloquially as a verb akin to searching on the Internet. People Google solutions to their problems, whether that means looking for a service provider or place to have lunch. In order for people to find you on Google, your site needs to be indexed by Google. Google naturally examines just about every website on the planet, but it needs information to be able to tell it what that website’s about. That comes from a combination of code (in particular, the meta title and meta description code) and content. When putting together your small business website, be sure that these aspects reflect what your site is about — and if you’re servicing local customers, it’s absolutely critical that service location is a part of your code and content.
How Can I Get in Touch?
We’ve all probably run into one or two websites where we wanted to learn more and couldn’t find any contact information — no phone number, email address, or contact form to get in touch. Without those, you’ve immediately killed off any chance of converting from a lead to a customer. Make your contact information comprehensive and easy to find — and remember to provide options, since some people prefer phone calls while other people prefer email or social media.
Your Website’s Foundation
These five questions will provide the foundation for your small business website. There are other aspects that can truly make it successful, but these are the core necessities to get it up and running. The most important thing for you as a business owner is to keep an open mind about website possibilities and stay up on the latest technology and trends as much as possible. You won’t always need the latest bells and whistles, but it’s good to understand all of your options before making a decision about your small business website.
By Marc Apple
Marc Apple is recognized as a leader in the marketing industry and has 20+ years of experience helping businesses of all sizes improve their digital marketing. He specializes in website design, SEO, social media, and paid search programs. He is a frequent contributor to other marketing websites and speaks regularly about marketing to small business owners and startups. To learn about Marc and to contact him, visit his author bio page.
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