These articles are designed to help educate small business owners about websites and everything that makes up one.
How they work, how to get one, and what to consider when they decide to make that jump.
Written with the normal person in mind.
Helping people navigate the many different facets of how websites work so they can make decisions for their small business.
We’ll also include some other tech topics from time to time.
So you have a website. Maybe you built it yourself or used an agency. You need to make sure your site has these 18 features, and doesn’t have the 3.
These are in no particular order, each one is just as important as the next.
I mean your own domain name, not the one the DIY website service gives you. A company with a domain like “company.google.biz”, or “company.myshopify.com” doesn’t lend itself to legitimacy. It appears like you’re not really serious about what you do.
And don’t buy your domain name from the DIY service. They might wind up the actual owners of the name, so if you later decide to switch, you might have to pick another name, which will greatly affect your SEO. I recommend Google Domains (domains.google.com). They are one of the cheapest, and they include services that other domain name registrars charge extra for.
The hero section is the top part of your website, right below the header. It’s the first thing the visitor sees, and it needs to grab their attention fast. If it looks amateurish, it could drive away people before they have a chance to see the rest of your site.
Don’t make them guess what kind of business you are, or what services you offer. Put that right up in front of them. You don’t have to go into detail, you can include that somewhere else.
The call to action (or CTA) is a button or link for the customer to contact you. It should be everywhere on your website. Header, footer, hero section, middle of the page, maybe multiple places on the page, or a floating button.
If the goal of your website is for the customer to contact you, make it easy for them to do so.
Every site needs a contact form. Be it simple or detailed. A way for them to send you a request. Your CTA should link to it.
I see many websites that have a contact form, but no other way to get in touch with the company. No address, email, or phone number. Kind of makes it hard to trust a company that makes it hard to get hold of them. And like the CTA, put it all over the place.
Yes you will get spam calls and emails, plus junk in the snail mail, but that’s the price you have to pay to be visible.
Live chat is a way for a visitor to instantly get in touch with you. You could sign up for a chat service, or easier, just use Facebook Messenger. You can see a chat button on the bottom right of our page, that will send a message right to my phone. Again, spam will happen, but so can customers.
There should be two places for the “about me” section. A small blurb on the front page, and a more detailed article on another page. Don’t make the mistake of writing a 6-paragraph about me on the front page. It takes up too much room that can be used for other content.
Speaking of content, put a little of everything on the front page. Who you are, what you do, what you sell, etc. You can go into greater detail on other pages, but don’t make people dig for it.
Call it whichever, the FAQ section should address any common question the visitor has. And be honest and upfront, never put something like “call us to find out more” or something like that. The visitor is there for answers, give it to them.
Be sure your social media links (you are on social media aren’t you?) are on multiple places on your page. Including them is both your header and footer insures that they show up on all pages.
The header and footer should appear on every page and contain as much information as possible. Many people are trained to look there for things like contact information.
It’s OK to have different headers and footers for say, the front page and the rest of the pages, but make sure they all have one.
Every website needs a blog. Google likes updated content, and ranks it higher than content that never changes. And include a search function to your blog.
A plumbing company could publish articles on how to fix common plumbing problems, like a leaky faucet. An attorney might have an article updating people on any changes on the law.
You don’t have to publish an article once a day, once a week is good. And update them if they seem stale, or you have new information to give. Then push your articles to social media. At South Metro Web, we offer a social media service for companies that don’t have time to create graphics or publish to different social media platforms. See here for more information.
A subscribe form that offers free information to visitors is a great way to build up a mailing list. You can put out a weekly newsletter or offer something for free that the visitor can use (both of which we do, see here to sign up).
Also have a sign up for your blog. Both of these can keep your company’s name in front of people’s faces.
Whether it’s a gallery of the plumbing issues you have fixed, or photos of a new bathroom you installed. Show the people what you have done. People like to see examples of what to expect.
If you have a physical location that people can visit, include a Google map on your page, don’t make them look it up.
When are you open? It shouldn’t be a secret. Put it in the footer, and prominently on the front page.
Introduce your employees. Show people who they could be dealing with. Could be a group photo or individual ones (make sure to update it regularly.
Video is great to have, but imbed a YouTube or Vimeo link. If your customer has to wait for a video to load, well, they probably won’t.
I know you want people to listen to music as they browse your site, but most of the visitors when sound starts playing they’re outta there.
If your service includes music, have a link where people can listen to it if they wish.
A stunning hero section or eye popping visual effects and animation is cool, but don’t make it where people will be focused on those things instead of the rest of your site.
Hopefully you put a lot of effort in designing or helping your agency design your site. Make sure it was worth the effort. Making sure these features are included will greatly enhance your chances of turning that visitor into a customer.
We at South Metro Web want to be your web agency. Contact us to build, rebuild, or improve your website.
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