You’re a smart business owner and know the importance of having a website but, if you are like a lot of business owners, your knowledge of that website begins and ends with having one. In the same way that your business needs to evolve over time to meet the changing needs of your customers, your website also needs to evolve in order to keep up with changes in technology and buyer behavior.

Does your website measure up to today’s design standards? Not sure? Read through our checklist of must-haves and suggestions to learn more.

Let’s start with your homepage. It’s the gateway to your online storefront. In the way house paint fades over time if it’s not re-painted, the appeal of your homepage will also fade if it’s not kept fresh.

  1. You have a company logo. Using a text block with your business name says nothing about who you are and well, it’s boring. Having a logo establishes your visual branding and can be used not just on your website, but at any touch point, even in your email signature. It doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated, but it should be memorable.
  2. Your contact information is easy to find. Your phone number and email address should show on the top of every page in a font size that is clearly visible. If a customer needs to contact you, don’t make them hunt for this vital information.
  3. Your navigation menu is user friendly. Today’s website visitors are impatient and want to quickly find what they are looking for. Your navigation should function as an easy path for visitors to follow without requiring numerous clicks and have a clear path to purchase.
  4. The days of putting all of the content above the fold are gone. Does your homepage suffer from a case of information overload? Today, visitors will scroll down the page and skim through your content to find what interests them. Give them a taste of what you offer and entice them to click through to other pages on your website.
  5. Images create visual interest and appeal. What about your images? They should be high quality, relevant to your business and preferably not stock images.
  6. Any awards, certifications and associations are highlighted. It’s one way to build trust with visitors and enhance your reputation.
  7. You have links to your social media pages. You are on social media aren’t you?

What about the other pages on your website and what should those pages consist of?

  1. About Us page – This page is a great opportunity to tell the story of your business, emphasize your individuality and connect. It’s a good idea to have photos of key employees to put a face to the business and add that human touch.
  2. Service/Product pages – you may have many, you may have a few, just remember to be concise, clearly state the value you are providing and encourage visitors to take an action i.e. purchase a product, schedule a service, contact your company. Images that show either your products or completed work should be featured. It’s important to include the keywords your visitors are most likely to use when searching for your product/service.
  3. Contact page – This page is so much more than just a form to be filled out. If you have a brick and mortar store you can include your store hours, address, a photo of your location and include a Google map so visitors can get driving directions.
  4. Blog – Continually adding fresh content via a blog is good for SEO, it keeps your website from getting stale, it builds trust with visitors and can demonstrate your authority in your field. If you don’t have one yet, you need to start one.

What else makes a good website?

  1. It’s responsive meaning it renders well on all screen sizes i.e. mobile friendly. Google uses this as a factor in its search algorithm. With 50% of all searches being conducted on a mobile device, if your website isn’t responsive you are losing out on customers.
  2. You feature customer testimonials. This is becoming an increasingly more important requirement. Not only does it build trust, visitors commonly use customer testimonials as part of their purchase decision. Testimonials can also improve where your business shows up in search results.
  3. You should have a basic knowledge of SEO. As I mentioned earlier, you should be using the keywords visitors most likely use to search for your product or service. One caveat though; keywords should be woven into your content, not be the focus of your content. Page titles and URL’s should include a focus keyword.
  4. You have Calls to Action (CTA) on each page. They should entice visitors to take an action and link them to the appropriate page.
  5. Videos showing product demonstrations or short interviews with satisfied customers allow visitors to interact with your website.
  6. You are using HTTPS protocol, not HTTP. Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is the secure version of HTTP and is the protocol over which data is sent between your browser and the website that you are connected to. The ‘S’ at the end of HTTPS means ‘Secure’ and it has the green padlock shown before the URL. It means all communications between your browser and the website are encrypted. Google will soon be penalizing websites that aren’t using HTTPS.
  7. A good hosting company. While you may be concerned with cost, cheaper isn’t always better. A good hosting company will keep your website secure from hackers and can help improve page load speed, currently a factor in Google’s search algorithm.

 

So how does your small business website stack up?

If it meets all of the above, then congratulations! If not, DLJ Creative can help you whether it’s just a few tweaks to an existing website or a brand new design. We love working with small business owners to establish and manage their online presence. Will your business be next? Contact us and let’s chat!