Is your website working for you? I mean, is it performing the way you envisioned it would?
If you're like like most small businesses, the answer is probably no.
Like your business, your website is something that requires planning and effort. Do you want it to showcase your products? Do you want it to drive leads for your business? Knowing what you want to get out of your website is where you should start.
For your business's website to work, it needs to represent you and your business accurately. You'd be surprised how this is often not the case. A cozy, friendly local cupcake shop can be made to look like a cold corporate entity with a botched website. Think of your website as an extension of your physical business location. Does it look and feel the same?
On any website, there are essential pages that must be included. These pages help to build trust, relationships and desire with your website visitor. If they are missing, your website may be nothing more than a temporary stop for a would be customer, off to do business with one of your competitors. Bottom is that the pages below are crucial in creating a great website experience for your visitors and to moving them one step closer to becoming a loyal customer.
Here are 5 pages every small business website should have
You'd be surprised at how many small businesses botch this page. Royally botch. Your “About” page is usually one of the most visited pages on your site. It may not be a starting point for most visitors, but people often stop by this page in their journey to try and learn more about you and your business. What's on your “About” page? Is it accurately representing your business? Is it giving off major trust signals?
A good “About” page should be made up of two parts. The first part should speak about your company, a little history, the “Mission”, why it exists. The second part should be about the people behind the business. It should talk about their passion for the business, why they started the business, a little bit of background.
The purpose of the “About” page is to build trust, to place a face behind the business. People like to do business with people, not businesses. Let your potential customers know that your business is made up of real people.
With that being said, stay on topic and mission. While many “About” pages are too short and missing even basic information, others are 2000+ word diatribes where the business owner talks about his childhood, corporate career, and everything that happened in between. People will read your “About” page to learn more about your company so they can find out who owns and operates the business, they don't want to spend the afternoon reading the chronicles of “Joe Business Owner”
A very important page for any business. This page should be the super easy way for people to contact your business. Are you making it easy for them? Some key elements to a great “Contact” page:
Contact Form. A contact form is the easiest way for someone to reach out to you. Do you post your email address instead? Mistake. Not only does this force your visitor to take several steps in order to contact you, clicking on an email hyperlink often triggers some sort of desktop email configuration wizard on their computer (most people never configure theirs). Now instead of trying to contact you, you just annoyed them. Way to go! Use a contact form they can fill out. And ask only for the information you need. For every piece of information you ask for, you're likely to lose people who are weary of providing too much personal information.
Your NAP. Your Name, Address and Phone Number should be prominently displayed on your contact page. If you're a local business, it should actually be displayed on every page on your site, usually in the header or footer.
A map. If you have a physical location, embedding a map is a great way for making it easier for people to find you. Many mapping tools, like Google Maps, lets you easily embed maps on your website.
Social Media. This is a great time to ask your visitor to join you on your social media platforms. If you're active on them, invite them to contact you via Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn
Email Signup Page
Not building an email list for your business? Ouch! Your email list can be one of the most powerful marketing tools for your business. You own your email list, what you don't own is your Facebook friends and Twitter followers.
Why not just add a sign up form in sidebar on your website? You can, and that's a great option. But what you should also consider is to create a dedicated sign up page so you can link to it when you run promotions or write guest articles on other websites. You can even build multiple sign up pages, tailoring the message based on the audience you're reaching out to.
Dedicated Landing Pages
What's a landing page? It's a page on your site that you specifically want people to “land” on when they first come to your website. Your homepage is a landing page.
Why create dedicated landing pages? Creating pages directed towards specific segments of your customer base is a great way to drive further interest and engagement that just sending them to your homepage or other generic page on your website. An example would be a cupcake shop. You're writing a guest article on a gluten free website to promote your gluten free line of cupcakes. In the bio at the end of your article, instead of just sending them to your home page, you create a special gluten free page that talks about your ingredients, your philosophy, and why you created a gluten free line in the first place. Visitors landing on that page are much more likely to become engaged than if they were simply directed to your home page.
After your homepage, these 5 pages should be your next stop. Building trust, engaging your audience, making it easy to reach out to you, and building a database of customers are all best practices that will help you to get the most out of your website. Have questions or suggestions when it comes to creating a killer small business website? Leave them in the comments below or reach out to me on Twitter.