Many small businesses know that they need a website, but they are not completely sure why. This article explores what a website should be doing for your small business, and what to do if it’s not doing what it should.
After designing and building a new website for a client we often hear feedback like “this is the first time we have actually had bookings via the website in years.” or “We have had a large number of calls since the site launched, do you think it’s the call button?” For my team and I, we are often surprised to hear these comments as we tend to forget that not everyone is across the true value of having a well functioning website, doing what it’s meant to be doing, generating sales.
What we have found is that a lot of small business owners, especially those in the services industry, understand that they need to be on the internet, but they have no expectations outside of their traditional way of business via word of mouth, phone calls and direct emails. As a result the website is generally an after thought, where a URL is created, a homepage made, and the phone number and logo plastered all over the page.
When we encounter an after thought website, our first port of call is to expose the client to the endless possibilities that can occur when the website developed, becomes an extension of the bricks and mortar offices, the in person customer care, and the after sale service.
Here is a list of things that your website should be doing for the business:
- The website should mirror the business – If you have newly renovated day spa with the most advanced treatments, relaxing atmosphere and highly trained staff, then your website should mirror this. Aim to have a colour pallet similar to the newly renovated spa, Match imagery, show off your staff and services, be consistent and clearly show parallels between what is seen on the website, and what can be expected in store.
- Ensure that it is easy to book or buy – Don’t make your clients jump through hoops. Even if you don’t have a system that can easily link to your bookings in the office, aim to put some control into the hands of your clients. Offer a date selector for a preferred date, find out more about them, are they a new client, do they have a specific reason for booking with you. The website should notify you immediately of a booking or sale, so it is important to act on this booking or enquiry within 5 minutes to secure the sale. Call them up, they will be expecting it.
- Be educational and informative – People use the internet to explore, understand and compare. If your site can be a one stop shop of information, options, prices, and education, then you are much more likely to prevent them from looking any further. The more content you have on the website the better, as your clients will be more informed, and your site will be more accessible via search engines. As an added bonus you will begin to rank for search queries outside of searches for your business name or location.
- Be convenient – The website should never be a barrier, or an extra step in the process of booking or buying your product. The website should be fast, meaning it should load quickly. The website should be easily found by your clients via social media, search engines and maps. The website should be easy to navigate, menu options should be clear and accessible.
- Lastly the website must be mobile friendly – In the last 10 years the rise of mobile devices has led to mobile responsive website and mobile apps being the dominant way in which people browse the internet. If you don’t have a mobile responsive (changes layout based on the size of the screen) website then you are not only missing out on people on mobiles, but you are also being penalised by Google who have moved almost entirely to a mobile first approach, placing fast well designed mobile first websites above all others.