If you’re in charge of a small business, your website is just as important as the appearance of your actual storefront. This is particularly true for those that work in industries such as writing, marketing, graphics, and so on.
Unlike a physical storefront your website can’t be tidied up with a broom and window cleaner. There’s a whole different set of tools needed to maintain your website to keep it looking clean and fresh. When it comes down to maintaining a great web presence, your website has to be perfect. It needs to be a direct reflection of you and your brand and it needs to have a purpose.
You can make sure your website is going to attract readers (and keep them coming back) if you have the following items mastered.
State Your Purpose Clearly
If someone that is totally unfamiliar with your company happens across your site, they should be able to tell a few key things right away: who you are, what you do, and why they should care.
Because of this, don’t waste time with buzz words. AS a matter of fact, try to rid your head of all buzzwords and catchphrases. In the age of SEO and speaking openly about your cause or service, buzzwords are dead. Using them will make you appear to be outdated and clichéd.
While you come up with your opening copy (which is a tricky thing in and of itself, as we’ll see later), also try to come up with a mission statement that is easily readable on your front page. Make it short, snappy and, most importantly, memorable.
Make sure you also stay away from in-depth industry language that very few people are going to understand, This may make you feel smart and superior, but it’s also going to alienate a great deal of your potential customers. While you may have to fight those business-minded instincts, a good rule of thumb is to write your copy in a way that a middle school student could understand.
Provide Relevant Killer Content
After the “About Us”-style copy, start focusing on every other form of copy. When you get right down to it, the content of your site is why people are really there—not for the pretty colors or super cool animated graphics.
When it comes to additional pages and even blog content, keep it as simple as you can. You have to remember that very few people that visit your site are going to read everything. Because of that, only include relevant information that people need to know. The moment a reader comes across a bit of fluff, they are likely to leave the site never to return again. By not busying your site with unnecessary information, you are making it much easier for your audience to find the pertinent information they need.
The biggest guilty parties in this case are business owners that try to make themselves sound more qualified and important than they really are. Leave all of that information for your pitches and meetings, not for your website.
Don’t Get Flashy: When we say “Keep it simple,” we mean it. Every animation, widget or HD picture you have on your page means that it will take that much longer to load. Truth be told, you don’t even need those bells and whistles. Just keep the colors crisp and the layout clean, and you’re already a bunch of steps ahead of your competition. Of course you’ll want your logo on there somewhere and maybe an image here and there, but there’s no need to get extravagant.
Have a Clear Call to Action: When it comes to the call to action, there is no need to beat around the bush. We direct and to the point. Usually, a call to action comes in the form of a button or a link that leads elsewhere to your site (typically a sales page or sign-up form).
Whatever form it may take, the call to action needs to be in a prominent location and make a very simple statement. Things like Join Today, Call Now, Buy Now, Learn More, or Let Us Help are perfect. Longwinded ramblings like “Call Today and I Will Hook You Up With This Amazing Product You Can’t Live Without Because I Said So” are not.
Most experts believe that call to actions in button form are most effective, If you decide to go this route, be sure to incorporate smart colors that match your site design. You can support the button with a very small amount of text, perhaps explaining the location the reader will be taken to after clicking the button.
Perhaps most important of all, try to have something worth calling out. Give your reader a reason to click on that call to action button rather than assuming everyone that stops by your site will click just because.
Incorporate SEO: If you have any hopes of your small business site reaching a wider audience, you basically have to start incorporating SEO strategies into your content. If you were to speak to an SEO expert on how to accomplish this, they would probably confuse you and ake you never want ot hear the term SEO again. However, there are some basic ways to optimize your site with SEO practices that aren’t too difficult.
For starters, starting a blog that is part of your site and making sure to keep it updated regularly can help wonders. Actually, if you have a small business and aren’t operating a blog with at least two or three posts a week, this is something you should really start doing, The SEO advantage is terrific and it’s yet another way to reach out to your audience.
Another tactic some people are using to optimize their SEO is creating a YouTube channel. On YouTube, any video you create can be indexed and tagged. This increases your chances of having your business name show up in Google searches for keywords that you have tagged or are simply associated with your industry.
Have a Clear Identity: Keep a clear message and presentation on your website. Don’t muddy the waters when it comes to your business image. Your website is a reflection your brand, so your identity needs to be expressed through it just as it is in your physical office when clients visit. Be yourself and stay consistent.
With these factors taken care of, you should have a website that readers will take notice of while looking for information regarding your business or industry. Take care of it with the same care you would give to your physical storefront, as it is likely to bring you much more business.