Making the most of your website can be key to the success of your small business.
And the good news is there are a number of relatively small tweaks you can make to boost the performance of your site, in turn increasing the number of visits you receive and sales you make.
SBG’s Liz Smith explained: “Just because you have a domain name and some nicely designed pages, it doesn’t necessarily mean your website will see you inundated with leads or sales. For a site to add real value to your small business you need to understand how to make it work for you.
"If your site isn’t performing it doesn’t always mean you need to start again from scratch – in fact there is a lot that can be done quite simply to improve the performance of an existing site.”
Sounds like an obvious first question, but what do you actually want your site to achieve? Sometimes people are so focused on having a website and ticking it off their to do list that they fail to truly understand its purpose.
Take some time to work out what you want people to do when they visit your site and whether you are being clear enough about this. Have you included calls to action so visitors know how to access your product or service?
This useful article from dummies.com will help you define the goals and objectives for your website. Once you truly understand what your site is aiming to achieve you can then make sure the path is clear for users to move through the site and accomplish these goals. Small changes to your navigation or layout could really make a difference.
You can easily lose a customer at the first hurdle if your site is difficult to understand. The aim is to make sure you are not too wordy and avoid jargon wherever possible. Striking the right balance between too much and too little detail is important, too, but the most essential thing is to ensure visitors can get a good understanding about the product or service you are offering. Be clear about the difference you can make to their lives and direct them through the site to the point of purchase.
A partial or complete rewrite could provide the solution here.
It is important that your website is not just attractive to look at, but is set out in such a way that it is easy to navigate.
Images play an important part in selling a product so consider whether yours are clear and consistent and whether they fit with your visual brand.
If you are looking to sell your products online, investment in decent photography is something you will not regret. To find out more about this take a look at our recent photography blog.
When it comes to text, spacing and alignment are central to making a site look professional and uncluttered and in turn make it easier for the visitor to read.
Your menu and navigation are there to make it easy for visitors to find what they need, so test these out on friends and family to make sure that they do just that for people who aren’t as familiar with your site as you are.
Search Engine Optimisation
If you are new to the world of websites, Search Engine Optimisation can feel like a bit of a minefield with talk of topics such as alt tags and meta data.
In reality it’s quite a simple concept of ensuring that your site is properly labelled so it is picked up when someone makes a relevant search in Google or similar. By sharpening up your SEO you can quickly increase the quality and quantity of traffic your website receives.
Liz explained: “SEO is all about helping Google and other search engines understand what you do, by completing meta fields that briefly explain the contents of each web page and labelling images with ALT tags so the search engine understands what they show.
“The way your site has been put together will also have an impact on your SEO success – for example if you have coding errors or features that don’t work this will impact on how well you rank in searches. Having an SSL security certificate enabled is really important, too.”
If you are new to online marketing but are keen to learn more, this beginner’s guide to search engine optimisation from Moz is a great start.
Speed of Site
If your site is super slow it will affect how well you perform with search engines. Often visitors will become impatient and leave before the page has even loaded. There are a number of things you can do to speed up your website such as making sure you don’t use bigger images than needed and keeping special effects to a minimum.
This useful article from What the Experts has some more suggestions.
Liz added: “Setting up a website can feel like a significant step, especially if it’s a task you have put off for some time. For some it’s the first time they have truly unleashed their product or service into the world. But to do your small business justice it really pays to take the time to make sure your website really works for you.”
Need a helping hand to get the most from your website? SBG offers a site review service with written recommendations. You then have the option of hiring us to make the changes or you can do it yourself.
We have the expertise to work across many different website platforms, so whether it’s a WordPress site built for you by a developer, or something you have created yourself on a drag and drop platform, we will be happy to help.
Get in touch to find out more!