When starting a website for your business, it’s better to get certain core features right, as opposed to spreading your efforts thin. Think about building a business website that works for you.
But what should we know? And where should we start? Whether you’re creating the website or hiring a developer, Becky Ruyle, the VP of marketing at Influence & Co. (a content marketing agency that helps clients achieve results through content marketing) outlines the three pillars a business owner should internalize before building a business website. Under the three pillars are a plethora of factors one should consider or keep in mind. Start here and your website will produce results right away.
Pillar 1. Every small and midsize business (SMB) must realize the criticality of having a website.
Acknowledging the importance of a professional business website will motivate you throughout the process of building the site, and will serve as your North Star.
First and foremost, having a website is a credibility booster for businesses — in fact, over 80% of consumers perceive businesses with websites to be more trustworthy than businesses that only have social media pages. These days, entrepreneurs have a range of free resources at their fingertips, allowing them to easily build and launch a website for free.
In addition to boosting credibility, generating leads is next to impossible without a website. It’s a great way to gather the contact information of future customers. If you have a website that houses helpful gated content, visitors can exchange their email address for that valuable content, allowing your company to reach out to them and nurture them through the sales process. This is why we encourage all business owners to blog like a boss and consistently write about content relevant to their product or service.
Pillar 2. Create an efficient information architecture.
The great content you’ve spent so much time creating for your new website is of no value if your visitors can’t find it. Think through how your target audience might engage with your website.
Here are key questions you might ask yourself to ensure you’ve mapped out all of your information correctly for your customers:
- What are the three to five most important sections that should be included in the main navigation bar?
For example: A page featuring a list of Products or Services, Contact Information, About Us page, Pricing, Upcoming Events, Founder’s Blog.
- Is your website easy to find, and does it have a search function?
If you’re hoping your audience will be able to find you in search results, you’d better have a website that’s keyword-rich. Making sure it’s optimized for your target audience’s search queries will help your company be positioned as an answer to your audience’s needs and pain points.
Equally important, aim to secure a domain name that will make it easy for customers to find you. The URL should clearly reflect what your site is about, or be as close as possible to your business name. It should be easy to spell, short and memorable. Check out these 6 Smart Tips For Choosing a Winning Domain Name.
- Can visitors easily learn more about your business and how you work with your customers?
It’s easy to get bogged down with listing and displaying all the right information as well as SEO. While accuracy and functionality always reign supreme, don’t forget to use your website as an extension of your brand voice. Make sure the imagery and tone speaks to your company aesthetic and mission. Whether you're a neighborhood coffee shop or a local legal advisory group, the look and language of your website content should capture the soul of your business.
Pillar 3. Before you release your new website, don’t overlook the importance of conducting a technical website audit.
Do a thorough proofread as well as a technical check-up before letting your website go live. If you hired a small business website developer, they should know to conduct a technical website audit before launch.
The audit involves looking at 10 important factors to make sure your site is set up for success: metadata, page speed, duplicate elements, insecure content, redirects, broken links, schema, security, technical files, and canonical tags.
By reviewing each of these components, you can avoid any issues that might cause your website to be penalized by Google or create a negative user experience. Because at the end of the day, user experience is everything.
Recap: 10 Things To Know
A small business website …
- Boosts credibility
- Can help generate leads and sales
- Should serve as a thought leadership and blogging platform for the entrepreneur
- Should be easy to find and easy to navigate
- Should have domain name and content should that is SEO friendly
- Should be an extension of your brand
- Should be a reflection of your customer service principles
- Should be proofread
- Should have a technical audit conducted before launch
- Should be routinely tested for user experience