What’s the first thing that someone does when they’re looking to make a purchase? Whether they’re looking for a good restaurant for a business lunch, a new outfit for the weekend, or a dog groomer that won’t cut Fluffy’s hair too short, the first step in the process is almost always the same – they turn to the Internet.
In the digital day and age, it’s a true rarity to find a business that exists solely offline. Whether a Facebook page or a comprehensive website with e-commerce capabilities, entrepreneurs large and small are taking their businesses online. And why wouldn’t they? Lead nurturing and sales have never been easier thanks to the increased visibility and reach that an online presence can provide for a business.
However, there is all too often the misconception that simply creating the web presence for your small business is enough for those new customers to find you and start purchasing – the “if you build it, they will come” mentality. Creating your business’ digital identity is only one small piece of the puzzle.
Just like the physical storefront of your small business, your website also requires attention to specific details to ensure success.
Determine the purpose. Naturally, your main purpose in creating a website for your small business is to increase brand recognition and ultimately boost sales. But why should visitors to your website care about being there? You’re spending the time, energy and resources to create a place for current and prospective customers alike to explore your goods and services, so make it worth their while.
- Make your purpose obvious to your users. What do you want them to do after they’ve landed on your page? Are you looking for them to stop by your physical store location? Do you want them to make a purchase online? Don’t leave them guessing – make the purpose obvious with clear and concise calls to action.
- Prominently promote what you sell on your homepage. Many potential customers will access your website from a mobile device, and they’re looking for quick results. Don’t make them hunt down your offerings. Allow your goods and services to take center stage by openly displaying them.
- Draw your customers in from the start. Make your website informative and eye-pleasing so users are interested from the very first click.
Content is still king. Claiming a domain is the only first step in creating a web presence, and once this is taken care of it’s crucial to fill your website with content that your customers will truly care about.
- Check and double-check your content for grammar, spelling and punctuation mistakes. Nothing takes a toll on your business’ credibility like misspellings on your website. Proof read once, twice, (three times if you have to!), and be certain that all of your website content is perfect before taking it live.
- Provide your customers with quality, genuine content. People are coming to your website to hear from you – let them know what you have to say through content creation and keep them coming back for more. Make sure your content is up-to-date and applicable to both your business and your customers.
Looks do matter. When it comes to creating a successful website, the look and feel can contribute a great deal to the overall user experience. The design of your business’s website is sometimes just as important as the information it provides, if not more.
- Provide website visitors with high-quality images of your product. As they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” and the old saying rings truer than ever in a world of digital business. Incorporating photos into your website can ultimately influence users to make a purchase.
- Keep your website design exciting and interesting, but don’t go overboard. Pick a color scheme and stick to it. Your website should be well-organized, easy to navigate and engaging.
Don’t stop there! So you have a website with a purpose, great content and an eye-catching design – what’s next? Promoting your website is key to actually getting potential customers to land on your page. Although some may find your website organically, more often than not they will need a little push.
- Promote your website through your social media profiles – Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn should all have a clear call to action that directs users back to your business webpage.
- Print isn’t dead. Never underestimate the power of business cards, flyers and other forms of print advertisement. All print media created for your small business should include your website URL so leads know where they can go to find out more about your products and services.
- Allow your ‘fans’ to do your work for you every now and then. Offering promotional codes or coupons for customers that share your webpage on their own personal social media networks is a great way to expand your visibility and gain new followers. After all, word of mouth is still one of the best forms of promotion.
Once you have these basics down, you’re ready to create a digital presence for your small business that is sure to increase brand recognition and rev up your sales.