When we think about website design, we tend to focus on the graphic design elements such as animated graphics, different styles of typography, website background, and music. To have a successful small business website, these are the 17 most important features.
Clickable Phone Number
Every website should have a click to call phone number so mobile users can easily reach you with out fumbling around typing your number manually onto their phone. Not having a clickable phone number can cost you business.
Call to Action Button
A call to action button such as a click to call, a click to email, or a newsletter or subscription service, whatever your call to action goal to convert to sales is - should be on your website. I’ve learned that if you keep track of your most common questions posed by your customers, and then include a statement asking them if they want to know about the top 3 questions asked to get in touch, that greatly increases conversion rates for getting an inquiry.
Top Navigation Bar
Some websites have left or right navigation, and even bottom navigation bars. I’ve learned that typically the best converting navigation bars belong on the top of your website. It needs to stay on the top, even for parallax scrolling websites, to keep your prominent information showing at all time.
A strong, succinct, well thought out headline message increases conversion rates. Who doesn’t want to increase conversions?
An Image Slider, or one powerful image
A really powerful image adds to your overall brand theme. It can help to differentiate you from the competition and to help reinforce your strong headline message. For my Whysall Photography website, Steve is the home page image. We tested different genre photos, but ultimately he is the professional photographer being hired, and his photo became the home page opener (in spite of his objections). Once we included a banner image with his strong headline message, his conversion rates increased substantially.
Every successful website needs the contact information easily displayed so they can quickly get in touch with you. This is crucial information about where you are located and how they can find you. Including a map can be helpful. With today's spammers, including contact information underneath a button helps prevent the spam.
I am surprised at the number of small business websites I've seen without reviews or testimonials included on their website. Reviews are that final push that influence why someone should purchase what you offer. Even better - get your happy clients to review you on Google and Yelp. People, especially technically savvy millennials, want to see independent reviews they can trust. These reviews need to show how others experienced your product or service. Even a bad review can actually help reinforce you are a real business, especially if you address the bad review or rectify the problem.
Main Service or product features
Your home page should show your main service or product features in a quick, bulleted manner. Online users are skimming your site - at first - to glean quickly what you do or sell. Breaking up the text with bullet points helps keep the site clean with white space (To learn about website design tips using white space, please click on website-design-tips) and makes it easy to skim.
Your quality content is your sales message. That should be the most researched and well planned part of your main home website messaging. For Whysall Photography, his home page instant message greats you with - “Professional Photographer Over 20 Years. Art School Educated and National Geographic Trained.” It is delivered in the home page banner image, and typeface reinforces the most important part of the messaging. This change to his homepage increased his conversion rates significantly. The rest of the home page, and inside pages sales content should refer back to the opening sales message when designing what your message will be. For instance, on the home page of Whysall Photography, when you scroll down an advertising photographer section is there, moving onward you see weddings, - etc. All the individual sales messages for each sub-type are relevant to his opening line of "Art School Educated and National Geographic Trained Photographer With Over 20 Years of Experience." Check it out for ideas: www.whysallphotography.com
Internal Linking structure
Internal links help to tie together relevant information. On my site, I have a section on the home page that is part of the online marketing. After explaining my philosophy and experience I have a section below detailing a little about SEO and online marketing in a formal way. This section links to a FAQ section that explains these concepts to a non-marketing non-technical person in a much easier way.
Always having certain important information displayed in the footer is another way of reinforcing important information at a glance. You may want to include social media buttons, your business address contact information, hours, phone number- so it's instantly available.
About Us Page
Everyone needs to understand your background. Having a well written BIO is important. Buyers need to know about you and your qualifications and training. They should understand how long you have been doing your profession. A well crafted message about why you opened in the first place, and what your business can do for us can do wonders for the overall theme of your business website. Remember, your website is your business card promoting you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is important to get the theme messages done well.
I am surprised at the number of small business websites that don’t maintain a blog or news feed. A blog is great for users to learn more about you and what you are doing. It also helps with SEO. Blogging, even only twice a month, adds personality, additional sales information, and reinforces to the search engines that you are still around.
By now your small business website should be mobile responsive. If you have an older website, please test it to see how it looks in multiple devices. It should look the same from desktop, to tablet, to mobile devices.
A Site Map is a file that lists the pages of your website to the search engines. Your site map provides valuable meta data information. Since the top 4 search engines use the same protocol, having a site map is the best insurance for getting a search engine to learn about your entire site.
Your website pages should be backed up for emergencies. This way they can be accessed should a major problem arise.
A successful small business website will have analytics integrated to learn about and test the sales messages. I prefer Statcounter, but the industry leader is Google Analytics. Regardless of software used, you need it integrated for analysis, testing, and improving sales messages to increase conversion rates.
Don't let these often overlooked features keep you from competing with the big boys. Think about and implement these 17 website features so you can have a successful online presence.