Have you ever tried building a small business website from scratch with little to no technical background? It’s intimidating! You have to choose and register a domain, secure a web host, and then take on the demanding job of building a functional, attractive site for your customers to use.
GreenCup Digital understands the pressures of entrepreneurship and the various tasks every business owner is required to perform, whether they are comfortable with them or not! That’s why this next article in the GreenCup Digital Marketing Series focuses on unlocking the door to small business website success. Join us as we help you discover the most important characteristics of your small business website needs and how with GreenCup Digital, you can step away from HTML and back to the aspects of your business you enjoy the most. And just in case you missed it, check out our first article in the GreenCup Digital Marketing Series for a basic overview of digital marketing, complete with common digital marketing terms and tips!
Key Website Features
We all know there are website-building platforms that offer bundled website packages with the tools you need to launch your own business website….but we’ve got one question for you: If the goal of your small business website is to make money by standing apart from your competitors, why use a boxed, generic website with minimal customization options to convey your uniqueness? Your small business deserves a digital spotlight, complete with alluring imagery, appealing web copy, and easy, intuitive website features.
Your website’s homepage is equivalent to your handshake, greeting, resume, and attire when entering an interview for your dream job. You want to put your business’s best foot forward, convey your business’s culture, and entice visitors to stay on your site to learn more. Highlight your uniqueness using creative slogans, logos, and branding (more on this later!). Draw customers in with beautiful images and featured products or services. Your homepage is also a great place to display coupons, deals of the day, and sales events!
A good contact page is easy to find and even easier to use. A simple contact form with clear information boxes makes communication a snap and helps clients connect to your business via a physical location, by phone, or through social media. Make sure your contact page links back to a valid email address or message delivery system so you never miss an inquiry. Find yourself receiving an insane amount of spam? Try installing a captcha to weed out the bots!
As passionate business owners, it’s hard to stay short and sweet when articulating our reasons behind what we do for our customers. An “About” page is an advantageous way to share your story on its own dedicated page so your products and services can shine throughout the rest of the website. Share your “why” behind the business and don’t be afraid to showcase your authenticity with a few well-placed personal connections to your products or services. People love supporting the faces behind the businesses they buy from, especially when they can relate to your story!
E-newsletter sign up
Invite customers to follow along with new product launches, service deals, and business events by providing a clearly-defined place to subscribe to your e-newsletter. What’s that? You don’t have an e-newsletter yet? Start one! An e-newsletter is a fantastic, affordable, results-driven method of connecting with your customers and keeping your business top of mind. Newsletter subscription lists are owned and managed by you, meaning you have direct access to your customers without needing to rely on algorithms. Talk about easy access!
Social media links
Meet your customers where they’re at by connecting with them on social media. Use standard, easily-recognized social media logo links on your website to lead visitors (in a new window, of course!) to your social accounts. Most websites allow you to add these links to the header or footer of every webpage. Don’t forget (and don’t worry…we’ll go deeper into social media in future GreenCup Digital Marketing Series articles), to promote your small business website on your social media accounts. Promoting traffic both ways helps drive home brand recognition and search engine optimization.
What’s the very first thing that pops into your head when you see the Wrangler logo on a pair of jeans? Cowboys, rodeo, and dusty cattle trails, right? Ever have someone ask what type of juice is in your cup when it has that infamous Starbucks logo on the side? Not unless “juice” means caffeine! Whether you’re selling jeans or brewing coffee, the ultimate small business marketing goal is for customers to know who you are, what you sell, and how you sell it…before you’ve spoken a single word.
Consistency is the most important thing to consider when it comes to branding. You want to form an unconscious cerebral connection in your customers’ minds between their needs and your business. This means paying attention to the details and keeping your brand recognizable the second it pops up.
- If your business name is multi-worded, make sure the spacing, capitalization, and length stay consistent on every webpage.
- Invest in a professional logo with clear, simple colors and attributes. You want your logo details to translate well on your website but also on social media and beyond. Choose wisely!
- Pick a font that lends well to your brand and stick with it as much as possible. Custom fonts are cool, but remember consistency is the goal here. It doesn’t pay to craft a delicately-scripted font if your website can’t load it and customers can’t read it!
- Decide on your copy tone ahead of time and keep the same tone throughout your website. If you want to be serious and professional, stay serious and professional throughout. If your audience responds better to playful banter and slang, carry it throughout your website in creative, yet understandable ways. Be you! It’s what sets your business apart.
- Keep your website’s images consistent by sticking with specific color palettes, subject matters, and focal points that don’t detract from your products and services. Product images should feature uncluttered, standardized backgrounds that allow what you’re selling to shine.
Another great tool to use when establishing your brand is paid advertisements. Investing a little can help your business gain a lot, especially when you stay true to your brand in tone and imagery. Setting aside a few dollars for advertising can help beat out the competitors and spread brand awareness to new, unexplored audiences. The more people see your beautifully-designed brand, the more likely they’ll head to your website to learn more!
Can you think of a time you clicked away from a website simply because it was too visually busy, slow, or complicated to use? We’re lookin’ at you, World’s Worst Website! It’s incredibly frustrating to try and engage with a website that distracts, confuses, and pops up error pages at every turn. Your customers want an enjoyable, responsive user experience that delivers the answers they need within seconds – or less!
Start with simple navigation tools. Make sure your website’s menu links to proper pages. Build links behind each image, button, and icon so users simply need to click to quickly find your products or services. Make sure your pages are intuitively titled so visitors know exactly where to find what they’re looking for. Consistently check and update your links as new products or services are added and removed to avoid the dreaded, “webpage can’t be found,” screen.
Ensure your website’s load speed is as fast as possible. As we mentioned in our Digital Marketing 101 article, you have 10 seconds to make a good impression on your visitors before they leave. Don’t waste those 10 seconds on slow loading speeds! Google offers tools to help check your website’s performance and optimize your website’s load speeds.
Your website’s words matter! Customers don’t want to read huge paragraphs of text on your website, but they also need to understand what makes your business unique. Explain why they should buy from you with engaging, enticing web copy that succinctly expresses your business without entangling users in line after line of text. Apply these principles to all areas of your site, from the home page copy to product descriptions and blog posts to contact pages.
Make it easy for customers to check out. In the e-commerce world, a complicated, multi-step checkout process is a surefire way to kill online sales. Once they’ve decided they’re going to buy, your audience wants to get your products or services in the fastest, easiest way possible. Offer a diverse set of payment options, use checkout forms that auto-populate with address suggestions, add a “notes” box for customers to use when needed, and keep the entire process limited to one or two screens. Once their purchase is complete, reassure your buyers that they’ve invested in a professional business by sending them to a clear, uncluttered confirmation page. Bonus points for adding words of appreciation, a coupon toward their next purchase, or a unique call to action to keep customers on your site post-purchase!
What goes hand-in-hand with functionality? Findability! Your customers should easily find your site through search engines without needing to type your full business name. Fill your website with appropriately-placed keywords and answers to your customers’ questions. Search engines rely entirely on your ability to pepper in these keywords in a way that makes sense, without stacking, stuffing, or using irrelevant terms to gain rank. Search engine optimization, or SEO, is one of the most beneficial ways of leading your target audience to your website’s home page. Hint Hint: You’ll learn more about SEO in the next GreenCup Digital Marketing Series article!
With so much to consider when building your small business website, it’s no wonder business owners struggle to gain online traffic and traction in our highly-competitive digital marketing world. Make sure your website’s customers find, shop, and enjoy the best user experience possible by partnering with GreenCup Digital. Our website development team is comprised of development geniuses, branding experts, SEO strategists, and copywriting powerhouses, all with the skills and knowledge to help your website outperform the competition. Let’s talk website strategy over drinks and together covert your website from code to cash!