First, do you have a website? If the answer is “yes” then great, move to the information below. If it’s “no,” then stop reading and go talk to a hosting provider right now.
In the digital age, it’s imperative (this word can’t be stressed enough) that you have a website or—at the absolute minimum—a Google My Business listing. Because with all the online scammers, misinformation, and conflicting data out there, the absolute most important thing you need to do is verify who you are and that you’re actually in business. Don’t think that your company’s Facebook page is enough. Anyone can set up a Facebook page in about 3 minutes, which means that it’s one of the worst ways to verify who you are.
Worrying about bigger items like online advertising that boosts site visits is great, but all too often companies start putting time and money into it before the basics are covered. Ensuring you’ve taken put real thought and time into these seven things is vital before you start spending even more resources on ‘next level’ activities.
1. Content – The #1 most important thing that a website does is explain who you are. Make sure your site has the right amount of static (or page) content that addresses questions any visitor would have. The content must be relevant and meaningful, as well as offer important, valuable, and actionable information. It doesn’t matter if you have 2 pages or 52 pages, just make sure that the information is easy to find with a good working menu. Don’t fill the site with jargon and keywords unless they specifically help your readers know who you are and what you do. It’s important to note that having irrelevant or burdensome content on your site can actually hurt your appearance in search results, so be intentional about what you add what you leave to emails or conversations.
2. Testimonials – Nothing has more impact on your prospects than hearing about your product/service from their peers, particularly if you get approval from the writer to provide a backlink to their website or social media page (this is more for B2B companies). So, make sure your site showcases testimonials from your satisfied customers.
3. Social Media Icons – Social media, when done correctly, can do wonders to not only get the word out about what you do, but also to reinforce the brand you communicate on your website. (Remember, that a social media profile for your business should never replace a website.) Take a little time to research the right social media platform for your audience, then keep the content flowing for the ones that are right for you. And make sure your website and content links to them.
4. Contact Information – If content is the #1 priority for websites, providing a quick and straightforward way to contact you is #2. It’s important to know that you cannot be obvious enough when you tell your web visitors how to get in touch with you. They should never have to search the site or click more than one button or link before knowing how. Provide your contact information/contact form very clearly and make it easy to get to.
5. Tracking – This may sound complicated, but it’s seriously not. Google has done a great job making tracking setup a simple task, so the ‘Easy’ button here is to install Google Analytics which is free and provides you basic details such as number of hits, location, time spent on pages, etc. It also comes in a very easy to read and absorb package, so after only a little time, you can actually make informed decisions on what you see.
6. Loading Time – This one may take a little bit of money. Particularly for B2B companies or those that sell items directly, load time is a huge deterrent to website visitors. So in this case (if it’s not something you’re able to do in-house), it’s important to talk to a web developer just to make sure that your site loads quickly. Otherwise, your visitors will move on to the next search result.
7. SEO – This is a big one that—truth be told—is often made to seem highly complicated when it really just more time consuming. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a key factor in determining the Return on Investment (ROI) of your website, and since Google in particular is always finding ways to make it more important, you should always make it important, too. There are a list of things that affect SEO, and many are easy to fix. Many small companies with small sites can hire a staff person’s high school kid to go through the content and makes sure the basics are covered. It doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg, just make sure that they’re properly instructed.
While we don’t do website development, we love sharing little business technology tips like this to help our clients and our local business community. To learn about what we do support, just use the menu above or contact us directly. A 10-minute chat can relay way more than what you’ll read on our website (even though its content optimized). Let us know how we can help.