In this day and age, entrepreneurs need to be online to capture a broader market. And if there’s one investment you need to make your brand easy to find and see in the digital space, it would be your business website.
Your business website is an essential arsenal in your marketing, advertising, and branding strategy. Regardless of your business, size or type, having a website is no longer an option, but a non-negotiable. First, people expect you to have a website, and second, your website can reach more audiences, therefore presenting you with an opportunity to make more sales.
But your website should be more than just have a pretty layout or attractive color scheme. It should be functional. Your audience should be able to use your site with ease. They should be able to quickly do what they intend to do – buy a product, book a class, download a material, sign up for a membership, etc. Additionally, they should be able to navigate the website and find the information they need in the shortest time possible.
You can undoubtedly forego some of the fancy elements like animations and auto-playing music on your website, which you don’t even need. But your business website must have these following essential features:
1. Modern, professional design
Your business website must have the perfect balance between aesthetics and function. Regardless of how appealing your product is or how attractive your services are, if your site falls short on the web design aspect, your audience will not appreciate what you’re offering. They may even leave before checking out your business in-depth.
It pays to remember that your website makes the first impression of your business, and you want that impression to be a good one, all the time. Therefore, your website must be clean-looking, modern, and straightforward. It doesn’t need to have all the bells and whistles if they’ll disrupt the website’s overall look. Your website should reflect your business, so having a well-designed website is essential.
2. Contact Information
Your business website needs to have its section for your contact information. After all, you’re here to do business, and if customers can’t reach you, then the website defeats its purpose.
A “contact us” tab should be prominently displayed above the fold, as well at the footer, so that a visitor can quickly contact you should he need to request a quote, ask questions or make a purchase. It’s also important to not just list your contact number, but your social media sites and business email as well. It’s also a great idea to include other essential information, like an address to your physical establishment, map, and even your operating hours.
If you want to establish authority on your niche by providing valuable, up-to-date information, then your website needs to have a blog. A blog on your business website serves important functions, such as driving more traffic by integrating relevant keywords, establishing your brand’s trustworthiness and credibility, as well as improving conversion rate. A blog also gives your business its human side.
Having a blog is an ongoing effort, so make sure to update it regularly with relevant content and optimize each content for search engines. A website with well-written, high-quality blogs hooks the audience to stay longer, therefore increasing dwell time, and improving your ranking on search engine results pages.
According to the Meeker 2018 Internet Trends Report, an average consumer spends 3.3 hours a day on his digital device. That means having more than three hours to network, answer emails, shop online, or search for information. If your business website isn’t mobile-friendly yet, then you’re losing a lot of potential sales to your competition. Also, mobile-friendliness is one of Google’s top ranking factors. So if you want your business to be found on the web, you should consider making your site compatible with mobile devices.
Having a responsive design website means your site will be accessible and easy to navigate on digital devices. You may opt to have a separate website with the same URL to work on mobile devices, or you can have a website designed to be mobile-friendly from the very start. Mobile-friendliness ensures your visitors have a pleasing experience navigating your site; they have no trouble finding what they came for, and they can efficiently conduct business with you from their smartphones as well as from their computers.
5. Engaging Content
Content is an essential marketing tool, so don’t settle for just any content to fill up your website’s pages. Your content needs to be high-quality, relevant, useful, and optimized. Whether you need content to describe your products or services, for your blogs, or for your landing pages, your content should convert visitors into paying customers.
You also need to consider integrating media to support your content. Professional and high-quality images are excellent accompaniments for text, but make sure to compress their sizes to keep loading time fast. Infographics are also fantastic for today’s audience as they tend just to skim through the content than reading content word-for-word.
Creating a content plan allows you to brainstorm, create, and publish content in a logical manner. While you do this, also keep in mind that your content needs to have the right keywords to rank your website in search results.
As a business owner, it is crucial to secure your website for the sake of your business and your customers. Hackers, malware, and other intruders can mess up your site and may steal vital information from you. This is a huge concern, especially if you’re in e-commerce, and you’re dealing with your customers’ important financial information.
Security shouldn’t be an after-thought when it comes to building and running your website. It should be a priority. If your site is not HTTPS yet and does not have security measures, it will be vulnerable to intrusion.
One of the standard ways to secure your website is to get an SSL certificate that encrypts data between your site and the browser. You may also consider other means, such as Verisign and GeoTrust.
7. Seamless navigation
Navigation heavily makes up for user experience. You need to have a website that’s easy to navigate so that visitors can find the information they need quickly. Otherwise, they will leave and take their business elsewhere.
Having a navigation strategy is vital in ensuring that tabs are where they’re supposed to be. Your most important pages, such as home, products/services, contact information, and about page should be above the fold. It also helps to have them at the bottom of the site too, so that the user doesn’t have to scroll back up to locate the page he needs.
8. Social media integration
A lot of people are on social media, and, likely, your customers are there too. Integrating social media in your website is an excellent way to capture that segment of your audience, as well as increase your digital footprint. You want to be where your audience is. Without social media presence, your audience might get wary over your credibility. Nowadays, people would check your social media pages first if they’re at least getting the inkling of doing business a brand they’re unfamiliar with.
Including social media links on your website is an excellent way to cross-promote your brand. Also, it helps to make your blog content shareable on social media at the click of a button.
10. Load speed
Load speed is another essential factor for your small business website. Consumers nowadays expect to get the information they need as quickly as possible. If your site loads slowly, it can be a huge turn-off, and your visitors will likely click away and bring their business to your competition.
It is essential then to optimize your site’s load speed so that your visitors can find the information they need in the shortest time frame. Most people are likely to abandon their carts upon check out if it takes so long for your site to complete the process. You would have failed to convert visitors into subscribers if they need to wait a couple of seconds more to sign up.
Your website represents your business in the digital space. It’s not enough to have a website, though. Your website needs to have a stunning, professional design, high-quality content, easy navigation, and security features to convert visitors into customers. Investing in the features mentioned above will make your business look reputable, mirroring what your brand exactly stands for.