10 Tips for a Successful Small Business Website [Checklist]

With the inevitable demise of traditional “Brick and Mortar” stores, it’s becoming more important for small businesses to build profitable websites that both maintain existing customers and convert new visitors into repeat customers. If you’re a small business owner, these 10 tips will help you build an effective and profitable small business website.

1. Build website around customers’ activities, not company structure

Don’t just make your site an online copy of your company brochure. Think about what your different types of customers want to achieve, and structure your site to help them do this as easily and painlessly as possible.

2. Communicate vision and goals

What does your business exist for? What do you love about what you do? Share that message on your site with passion and enthusiasm! Get personal, you want your customers to feel that they know you and share your values.

3. Be clear about purpose of website

Your website should have a clear purpose aligned with your business goals. What do you want your customers to do when using your site? Purchase your products online? Telephone you? Make it easy for them to find the information they need to do this, and then give them a specific call to action.

4. Add rich, deep and relevant content

Again it’s key to keep your customers’ needs in mind when creating effective web content. If you’re an accountant they’re probably not interested in 50 blog posts a day, or how often you tweet on Twitter. They just want to know if you can manage their books, and how you can save them money.

5. Ensure website is well presented, professional and eye catching

Your website design should be appealing, memorable, and professional. Make sure your header and logo are eye catching, and then use aspects of the same overall look and feel in your business cards, flyers, banners, etc.

6. Test your website to ensure it’s technically sound

There is nothing more annoying than trying to use a website to buy something only for it to crash part way through the process. Ensure your website is developed by experts, hosted on reputable infrastructure and tested thoroughly before launch.

7. Take steps to protect customers’ privacy and security

You will lose customers if they are suddenly bombarded by spam, junk mail or telephone calls or if they are subject to credit card fraud after giving their details to you via your website. Ensure your web developers are using best practices for security and privacy on any web forms that collect or display customer details.

8. Ensure website is easy to maintain and update

Once your website is complete you’ll want to keep it fresh with updates about your business, changes to your products and services, and any offers. Ensure that your website will be easy to update once it is live.

9. Lay foundations for measurable performance

In the words of Peter Drucker, ‘what gets measured gets managed’. You want to know how customers are finding and using your website and how well your site is working for you towards your business goals. Analytics can give you factual data to measure this.

10. Make website search engine friendly

There’s no point having a website if nobody can find it. Ensure your website is optimised for search engines using key words and phrases that are clearly on topic and frequently searched for by your customer base.

In a Nutshell…

Customer focus is critical, and you are the expert on your customers. If you use your knowledge along with the technical expertise needed to create a fast, reliable, and secure website, you will stand out from the crowd and really enhance your business with your online presence.

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Omar Kattan is Chief Strategy Officer at Sandstorm Digital, the MENA region's first specialist content marketing agency headquartered in Dubai. His experience includes 10 years in traditional marketing and advertising in the Middle East and a further 10 years at two of the largest media agencies in the UK. Follow Omar on Twitter for updates on the latest in digital, branding, advertising and marketing.

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