One-third of all businesses fail within their first two years of life – that’s a fact, and small businesses aren’t the exception.
We’re not going to sugarcoat things – that is a troubling statistic. However, if you’re launching a small business there is one thing you can do that will only help your chances of finding success: make your business website as effective as possible.
Most businesses these days have websites, but many of them omit critical details or get them wrong. Let us help you grow your business by introducing you to six critical elements that many websites overlook.
1. Calls to Action
Calls To Action (CTA) are a common term in the world of web marketing. They are the virtual equivalent of asking for the sale, so to speak. A CTA pairs up a short targeted message, then uses a button with a short, simple message (such as Buy Now or Get Started), to ask for the sale.
CTAs play a significant role when it comes to conversions, and there are tons of ways to implement them on any website. Most major Content Management Systems (CMS) enable their users to create calls to action with ease, so you should be covered in that regard. And if you’re a WordPress user, we recently introduced four tools that make CTA creation a breeze.
As far as inspiration goes, we recommend that you check out this roundup of 31 compelling Calls to Action.
2. Phone Numbers
Forgetting to include a phone number is a major faux pas for business websites. While some sites can get away with just sharing an email address or adding a contact form, companies that are open to the general public are held to a higher standard.
Customers expect a high degree of attention if you provide any type of personal service, which is why they often prefer to be able to reach you instantly. This can be a huge hassle for small operations, but it’s something worth considering if you want to improve customer relations.
When it comes to placement, we’re big fans of including numbers in the main navigation bar, rather than the footer. The easier your phone number is to find the better. Just take a look at our homepage.
The same principles that apply to phone numbers also apply to addresses. However, addresses can be more difficult to support from a practical standpoint because sharing an address implies that you have a physical location and people working therein ready to receive customers. So if you do not maintain a physical address that is open to the public, you may be better off omitting this detail.
If your business does maintain a physical location and accept walk-in customers, then you should share your hours of operation and display that information along with your address. It’s a small detail that will save you from having to answer queries from interested parties.
For maximum visibility, consider bundling phone numbers, addresses, and opening hours in a single location if your website layout allows it.
4. Customer Testimonials
Customer testimonials are one of the best tools at your disposal to convince new clients that you can be trusted. If possible, we recommend that you feature testimonials that mention specific aspects of your business rather than generic praise. The latter can often come off as fake, while the former can be extremely effective.
Most CMSs offer some sort of testimonials system, but as far as WordPress users go, we recommend that you check out the Testimonials Widget plugin.
5. Social Media Profiles
Social media plays a huge role in the day-to-day lives of a lot of people these days, and businesses need to adjust to this reality. Plenty of companies make the mistake of thinking they only need a website, while they could benefit greatly from a complimentary social media presence.
The key to this step is to identify which social media platforms you need to target. Creating accounts for all of them is time-consuming and often wasteful, since your core audience may frequent only a few.
A coffee shop, for example, might find great success using Instagram and Pinterest if they can take some nice shots of their products. But they might not do as well on Twitter unless they have a good community manager. Regardless of which platforms you choose to join, make sure to include links to your profiles on your website!
6. A Content Strategy
One of the best ways to drive new clients to your online business is to make sure they understand you’re an authority in your field. A time-tested way to do this is to publish useful blog posts on a consistent basis. Think: how-to pieces, comparison articles, and your take on recent industry developments; it’s all fair game.
The key to succeeding in this aspect is twofold. First, you need to be patiently consistent – you’re playing the long game here. If you can’t commit to publishing content on a regular basis and waiting for long-term results, you’re better off shifting your efforts elsewhere – few things look as bad as a company blog that hasn’t been updated in years.
Second, you need to provide real value to your potential clients. The web is already full of cookie-cutter content – yours needs to be unique and genuinely useful. Consider what information your customers are most likely to look for online and take it from there.
Making an effort to improve your online presence as a small business is not a surefire guarantee of success, but it certainly won’t hurt your chances either. Attention to detail plays a huge role in determining whether your website will succeed or not. Make sure you don’t overlook the following six elements as you build your next project or refine your current business website:
- Calls to action.
- Phone numbers.
- Addresses and opening hours.
- Customer testimonials.
- Social media profiles.
- A content strategy.
What piece of advice would you like to share with other who are looking to improve their business websites? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!
Image credit: Picjumbo.