Envision a potential customer landing on your website for the very first time. Your site has a few valuable seconds to capture their attention, and in that flash, your site is subject to several spur-of-the-moment choices that affect how they view your website.
According to some studies it takes about 0.05 seconds for visitors to form an opinion about your site. So your viewer decides if they like your site or not in the blink of an eye.
If they stick around for a few seconds, you need a user experience built to keep them around. You achieve this with engaging and helpful content, customer-friendly design, and clear calls to action.
Dig deep to see what a visitor is looking for…
Your website needs to be a client magnet that brings in the right audience, engaging enough to keep them around, and structured to guide them through a story where their problems are solved.
This potential customer is looking for a few things. They want your products or services, but they are also looking for elements of proof, trust, and authority. Do you have customer reviews? Is your content helpful enough to keep them around? And have you clearly explained how you will help them?
Your website is your marketing hub. And it has many jobs to do:
- It needs to be SEO-friendly so your business will get found online.
- Once a curious prospect finds your website, it needs to quickly convey how you will help them.
- Elements of trust, proof, and authority are must-have elements to keep them around.
- You must nurture these fine citizens because they’ll probably visit your website several times before making a purchase.
- And calls to action are needed to tell them what to do next, whether that’s subscribing to your newsletter or clicking on the “buy” button.
Here are the three biggies your website must get done
Ensure you get found online.
Your customer’s journey starts in a search box. They are deciding if they want to buy from you before you even know they’re checking out your business. So fuel your online presence with SEO juice to improve your Google search results and capture their attention pronto!
You must grab their attention with words that engage.
Stop talking about your company and instead bring them into a story. Prospects should see themselves in a story that starts and ends with their troubles, pain, and frustrations. They are on your site because they have challenges. You need to snatch the attention of these souls and convince them you’re the answer to their problems.
And you have to guide them through a journey.
Design your site to guide visitors through the buying process. Tell them what to do next with clear direction on how to take the next step. You do this with design, copy, and site functionality.
So, how in tarnation do you do this?
I’m glad you asked. There are several “must-have” elements every small business website needs. For without them, your site is just a billboard in the digital desert, and not a soul will notice.
Here are 7 vital elements every small business website needs
1. An engaging home page
Everything I mentioned above starts on your homepage. Someone landing on your homepage needs to know why you’re the answer to their prayers, and they’re looking for a few things to convince them of that.
- They want to trust you. (Make sure they have no doubts!)
- They are hungry for expertise. (Offer the proof they seek!)
- They need to know what to do (The content and structure of your homepage must guide and educate!)
Write copy that cuts through the clutter, attracts the right people, and keeps them around.
Create a powerful, magnetic, and convincing core message that is your promise to your customers that you will fix their problems.
Read the following post to make your website’s homepage the magnetic sales tool it needs to be.
2. Focus on your ideal customer. Have you done your homework?
You craft appealing homepage copy by writing the kind of content that will attract your ideal customer.
Why? People want to solve their problems. Until your copy promises to do so they’ll spend their money elsewhere.
Your ideal customer’s wants and needs should drive ALL of your messaging and here is what your convincing words should convey to a hungry potential customer:
Clearly, concisely, and convincingly show them exactly why your business is the one that is right for them.
You create a robust marketing plan and a magnetic website by focusing on your buyer’s needs first.
3. Guide them with story
You may have heard about storytelling in marketing but are still not sure what the heck it means.
If you look at popular movies, you’ll quickly understand how story works in marketing. People love and relate to heroes, but all heroes need a teacher.
You are the teacher who will guide your students (your customers).
People are hardwired to love stories, so use story elements in your copy. Just remember this: The story is not about you. It is about your customer. You invite them into a story centered on the challenges they face.
- You (Mr. Miyagi) instruct your customer (Daniel-san).
- You are their guide.
- You 100% understand what they are going through
- You are the one who is uniquely equipped to help them.
4. Elements of trust, proof, authority
Let’s say your hero is browsing around your website but doesn’t quite understand why they should trust you. What do you think they will do? They’ll skip town right into the arms of your competitor. You don’t want that to happen.
To grab their attention and keep them engaged, you must generate confidence by certifying they’ve found what they’re looking for—authority and proof of your expertise.
To do so, you might include logos of customers or testimonials proudly displayed throughout your site.
Case studies, blog posts, and videos showcase your expertise, educate and offer proof.
A beautiful little bonus of this evidence you’re dishing up? These elements will feed your content machine for a steady stream of content your ideal customers seek.
5. SEO optimized content
Powerful branding and fetching web copy will help you stand out in a sea of noise. But people must find you in this vast digital space, so you need to complete the picture with SEO.
As mentioned above, your customer’s marketing trek starts with a Google search. To get found online, you need to build your website to be search engine friendly.
Writing content built to answer your ideal customer’s questions is how you create a consistent flow of content that people will want to read.
Inform, educate, engage.
Optimizing your site for search will ensure prospects find you. And there are some SEO basics you need to get right…
Are you trying to rank for a national or international audience? If so, check out our detailed SEO strategy.
Or, are you running a local business and want to rank better for a local audience? Then discover six steps to help you rank better locally.
6. Clear calls to action
You’ve probably heard the term Call to Action or CTA.
A CTA is a combo of action-oriented copywriting and images, like a “Let’s talk today” button. It’s that thing that prompts a site visitor to take action (“Call us;” “Sign up for our newsletter;” “Buy now,” etc.)
You want to fill your website with convincing CTAs that guide their journey.
Guide them with clear next steps so they don’t struggle to try and figure out what to do next.
That is why CTAs are a must-have element. They give site visitors a clear path that is easy to follow.
The big, fat, wonderful benefits? They’ll make your customers happy, and they’ll increase conversions.
7. Make sure your contact information is front and center
Contact information is an element that some businesses surprisingly omit. Not good! You have to make it as easy as possible for someone to get in touch with you via your website.
Do they have a question? If so, it better be super obvious how to contact you. What about a local customer that simply wants to know where you are? Is your address front and center? Have you included local information like a map on your website?
Include a “Contact” button in your top navigation menu. List all contact details on your site’s footer and contact page and wherever else you think it’s needed.
Make it easy for them to get in touch!
Don’t forget the tech stuff
What about the technology behind your website? From choosing the right website host to site security, there’s a lot to consider.
We don’t often think about tech first because it’s often thought of as magical behind-the-scenes wizardry.
But your website needs good tech to function, and here’s a little secret: It’s not that hard to understand and get right.
Below are three key technical elements that are very important, and you need to make sure you get them right.
Make sure your website is mobile-friendly
Today most searches start on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, not laptops or desktop computers.
A recent report from Perficient gives us this eye-opening information: “Mobile devices drove 61% of visits to U.S. websites in 2020, up from 57% in 2019. Desktops were responsible for 35.7% of all visits in 2020, and tablets drove the remaining 3.3% of visitors.”
If your site is not mobile-friendly, site visitors might see a cluttered layout, missing design elements, or experience slow loading times. First impressions count, so you need to make sure your site is mobile-friendly.
The easiest way to check is to simply pick up your smartphone and look at your website. You’re probably thinking, “Gee, thanks, Master of the Obvious, but have you done this? If so, how does your site look on your smartphone? Does it load slowly? Are all the elements there?
You can also head on over to Google PageSpeed Insights to get a separate report for desktop and mobile. If you don’t see the happy green light, it’s time to discuss a site upgrade with your website developer.
Make sure your site is secure
You may have heard the terms SSL or HTTPS. HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is a secure version of HTTP (the main protocol used on the world wide web).
An HTTPS site is encrypted and secures the connection between someone’s browser and your server. Meaning your site and your customer’s data are protected from attackers.
A website that shows a small lock icon in the address bar is protected and using HTTPS.
Google is strongly encouraging all site owners to move to HTTPS. And since July 2018, Google Chrome has marked sites without an HTTPS address “not secure.”
I said first impressions count. So what if someone looks at your site and sees a “not secure” notice. Not good!
In addition, Google has made HTTPS a ranking factor, so there’s some SEO benefit to making the upgrade.
The good news: it’s fairly easy to switch as most website hosts offer SSL certificates, and even if your site is a bit outdated, any web developer can guide you through the process.
So if you don’t see that lock icon, it’s time to make the switch.
Site speed – Google Page Speed Insights
Slow sites lose customers.
Speedy sites keep them around.
And Google values a speedy website, meaning that site speed is a ranking factor.
Key reasons why optimizing your site speed is a critical element you can’t skip.
Why? A prospect visiting your site will not have the patience to wait for slow pages to load and will move onto your competitors in a snap.
So you now know that site speed is critical, but how do you work to ensure that your pages are speedy enough to keep people on your website?
Visit Google PageSpeed Insights to analyze your site speed, and if you don’t see green, call your web developer today.
Review your website today!
Think about this: Someone discovers your website and visits it for the first time but only stick around for maybe five seconds before they’re off to your competitors.
Why? Because you have not gone through a website evaluation process to discover what is missing and then add what is needed.
THIS is how you lose potential customers to the competition. You don’t want that to happen, do you?
Let’s build a magnetic website for your business.
You have a few seconds to grab your audience’s attention and engage them. But a poorly executed website is the kiss of death for any small business. Your website is just one of many in the crowded online realm, and a prospect doesn’t have to invest much time to get to know you before moving on to your competition.
People want a site that engages them, informs them, and helps them clearly understand what it is you offer. And you need a fast, user-friendly, mobile-optimized website that will attract the right people and grow your business.
Luckily, we can help. We have a website review service that will help you see what you’re doing right and provide recommendations for how to make your website better.
The post How to Review Your Small Business Website (7 Critical Elements You Need) appeared first on McBreen Marketing.