Whether you have a small retail shop or a multinational enterprise, a website is necessary for a variety of very important reasons. First, it’s a way to market your products or services. It’s the place to tell the world about the solutions you provide. And because most of us are now searching for businesses online rather than perusing the Yellow Pages, a website is necessary for simply being found by potential customers.
Yet some small business owners still don’t have websites, while others have websites that are ineffective. No, you don’t have to spend a small fortune to create a functional site, but you do have to incorporate several essentials for it to be successful. Here are the basics that every small business website should have:
Search Engine Optimization
One of the most fundamental goals of a website is for it to be found by search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo! To accomplish this, a site needs to be search engine “friendly.” This means incorporating relevant keywords within your text and page headings and not overusing complex content like Flash animation, which search engines can’t index.
Once a user lands on your site, you’ll want it to be as simple as possible for them to navigate. Easy-to-use navigation bars, well-placed search boxes, functional links and clean design can go a long way to encouraging users to trust you and take your business seriously.
Once a website goes live, the work is by no means finished. Content has to be refreshed on an ongoing basis to rank well in search engines, attract links to your site and keep users engaged. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to have a business blog, where you can share useful information and even position yourself as an industry expert.
A Clear Call to Action
Surprisingly, many small business websites fail because there is no clear call to action. You need to tell users what you want them to do and give them a straightforward way to accomplish this. If you have an e-commerce site, “buy now” buttons should be strategically placed. If you want customers to call you, make it easy for them to do so with a “click to call” button that can connect them instantly.
Good reviews have always been important for any business owner. However, thanks to the internet, they’re more important than ever. (In case you needed motivation to provide good e-commerce customer service.) Online reviews of your business on sites like Yelp and CitySearch now sit right next to your listing on Google. So the more positive reviews you have, the more likely someone will be to visit a review site to find out more about your business.
More and more web browsing is taking place via mobile devices. If your site isn’t optimized for mobile viewing, you’re losing out on opportunities to reach out to a significant number of customers.
By making sure that your site has these essentials, you’ll be able to maximize your ability to increase your business’ online exposure, grow your market and ultimately increase your sales. Any other website must-haves that you’d like to share? Visit RingCentral’s Facebook page to join the conversation.
Originally published Aug 22, 2011, updated Aug 07, 2020