Nearly 30% of small businesses do not have their own website. Even though social media platforms like Instagram facilitate in-app shopping features, your business still needs a professional website. “But why?” you ask? By having a professional, accessible, and thoughtful website,
You look more credible.
You own all your content.
You can attract new customers who might not be on social media (that’s 41% of the world’s population, if you can believe it).
Now that we’ve convinced you that you need a website, we’re going to scare you a little … A whopping 75% of people judge a company based on its website content and design. But don’t freak out—We’ve got you covered.
You don’t need to be proficient in coding or web design to set up your company’s website. Platforms like Squarespace, Wix, and Wordpress make it easy to go from blank space to fully functional site through their step-by-step guides. These software companies also provide great customer support when you run into any questions or challenges along the way.
So now that you’re ready to get started, here’s our list of everything that MUST be included on your website:
1. Domain name — This is essentially your web address. It should be simple and related to (if not exactly) your brand name so that people can easily find you. You can search for domain names here.
2. Landing page — This is the screen that pops up right when someone clicks on your link or searches for your company on Google. This “first impression” page needs to be clear so the viewer knows exactly where they are. Your landing page doesn’t need to be complicated, but it should definitely include your brand name, have some sort of welcoming aesthetic, and highlight a menu for visitors to begin navigating around. It takes visitors just .05 seconds to determine whether they like your site. Making a good first impression is crucial!
3. Sitemap — A sitemap is an outline of all the pages within your website. It essentially structures the navigation process—how a visitor gets from A to B and beyond. Your website menu is a component of the sitemap. It’s the “Table of Contents” for visitors to know where to go when they are looking for specific information (i.e. About, Shop, Contact, etc.). You want to make sure both your sitemap and menu make logical sense and are easy to navigate. Otherwise, visitors won’t be able to find what they need and so they’ll leave your site.
4. About — Nowadays, it’s all about the storytelling. While this isn’t imperative, we love when brands share a bit about their “why.” Providing a brief history of your business/who you are will make your brand more relatable and highlight your purpose.
5. Contact info — Customer service is key to optimal user experience. Whether it’s a chat box, phone number, or email address, your online visitors need a way to reach you should they have any questions. Fast response times are the most important attribute of the customer service experience. And yet, the average service time (the time it takes to respond to an inquiry) is nearly 12 hours (*Please don’t take this “norm” as a goal…)! The quicker you can get back to your potential customers, the better your chances of you making a sale. You can improve your response time by turning on email notifications, using templates and text shortcuts for increased efficiency, and categorizing emails and responding according to priority.
6. Call to action — 70% of small business websites lack a CTA. Sometimes you’ve just got to spell it out—What do you want your visitors to do? “Register Now,” “Donate Here,” “Book Your Session,” or “Add to Cart” remind visitors what they came for. Make sure your CTA button stands out and is visible on most of your site’s pages (including the landing page).
7. SEO — SEO stands for search engine optimization. It’s the process of improving the quality and quantity of traffic (visitors) to your website. You can maximize SEO by using key words relating to your brand and target audience (in titles, URLs, copy, etc.) and by updating content frequently (see Blog).
8. Blog — A blog is a prime way to keep up on SEO while also providing added value to your current and future customers. Read more about why your business needs a blog.
9. Security — Web security is so important to keep your customers’ information private and your business from being hacked. Besides creating (and frequently changing) complex passwords, here are some steps your business can take to protect itself online.
10. Design — 38% of people will quit a website they find unattractive. And while you don’t have to be an expert graphic designer to create an aesthetically pleasing website, you do need to invest time, energy, and understanding in the visual look and feel of your website. From layout and color scheme to fonts and photography, it all matters in how visitors take in your brand.
11. Mobile — Almost 80% of users will quit a website that doesn’t function properly on their phone. Cross-device functionality is imperative as more and more users interact with brands on their phones, tablets, and watches (and still some desktop computers). Here are 9 steps to make your website mobile-friendly.
12. UX — The ROI on user experience (UX) is 9,900%. Yes, you read that correctly. How visitors interact with your website is as important as what it is you’re actually offering. We call logistical hiccups friction—anything that gets in the way of a smooth and seamless process for the customer to engage with your business. Examples of friction are slow-loading images, content that is difficult to read, added costs at checkout, not having a clear search bar, etc. Good UX = happy customers = more sales. See? Math is easy.
Planning out and executing your brand’s website is a lot of work, but it is so worth your time and energy. While it’s necessary to update any product/service changes, regularly add to your blog regularly, and quickly respond to any customer inquiries, that’s more maintenance than complete construction from the ground up. Once you’ve laid the foundation, the heavy-lifting is done.
If your business does not yet have a website, we’d like to challenge you to make this a goal for the start of 2023. Need some guidance as you navigate the process? We’re here to help.