For most small businesses the website is the most important part of the marketing and sales process. Other than the people it’s often the only representation of the business. Whether it’s a brochure site you drive potential clients to, or a site that attracts traffic in its own right, it’s vitally important to your business.
As a small business owner myself I know the pain of trying to keep your website up-to-date, and working out what should be on it. Every day I open my inbox to find multiple emails suggesting other things I should add – videos, images, blogs, infographics etc.
But what three things should you have on your website, no matter what?
Most of my business life is about working out how to get more conversions on a website – more leads or more sales. Primarily I concentrate on the traffic sources, and I’m endlessly frustrated that the way businesses have their sites set up means that it’s very hard to work out which traffic sources work best for them.
Which is even more annoying when you realise that the website items that would help me to analyse their data sources, are all things that would help the business generally – not just my analysis.
To work out how useful a traffic source is you need to see if it’s driving the right sort of people. The best way to do that is to look at how they convert, i.e. buy or fill out a form. So here are my three items that should be on every small business website:
A data capture form
It might be an email sign up, a catalogue request, or a download of a white paper – I don’t care what the incentive for submitting data is – if you don’t have even a simple form, no one can leave their details and you can’t see any of your traffic engaging with you.
So, one simple form with a good call to action. Oh and don’t hide it away in the footer, or on that page that is only being linked to from a boring page at the bottom of your navigation tree.
There are lots of free tools out there you can use to create such forms – my favourite is Wufoo.com – works on all websites, is non-techy-proof, and if you upgrade to a paid package you can integrate it with Paypal and start taking money too!
A compelling navigation structure
“about us”, “products”, “contact us”, “testimonials” – it’s a boring top line navigation for any site. We want our visitors to look at lots of pages and engage with us – the more they engage, the more interested, the better prospect they are.
So think about what questions a visitor to your site might be asking, and build your navigation around that:
- Who are they?
- Who do they work for?
- What do they charge?
- Are they in my area?
- What do their customers think?
Yes, the above could cover that, but how about: “Our expert team”, “Monthly Window cleaning”, “Fast Van Valet”, “Got Questions?”, “Hear from our customers”. Much more interesting and tells the visitor something about you straightaway too.
Have some form of content please!
Pictures, videos, blogs, downloads, great articles – any of these count. And all of them do your selling for you (or should do).
They enable us to see if people are engaging with you, but more importantly they educate people about your business and what it does, how you do it, and how you look after people. In other words it shows that you know what you’re talking about.
They’ll also bring people to the site – you’ll start appearing in search engines, and on social media. So please add some content, and keep adding it.
Yes, a blog is fine, and no you don’t have to write more than twice a month (but don’t do less than that, and if you can do more that would be awesome).
Bonus tip – implement Google Analytics
It’s free, it’s great. If you don’t have it – get it! Or you can’t do any analysis of your site or traffic at all.
So, if you do nothing else with your website this year – please do these three things.