You already know your website is an essential part of your small business success. And we understand that as a small business, you have limited time and resources to launch the best possible website to help you meet your goals. So how to get the most bang for your buck? With all the things you can do with your new website, which are the most important things you should do?
Well, we’ve been developing websites for 25 years, creating over a thousand websites of all sizes, and we identified the 5 most important features that every small business should have in their website. If you have limited resources for your new website — and we know you do — then you should focus on these 5 things first:
1. Mobile Optimization
Google confirmed in early 2015 that more searches were performed on mobile devices than on PCs(1) and the trend has only continued since then. Perhaps that’s why Google gives preferential search listings to sites that are optimized for mobile(2). It just makes sense, when you consider that mobile users have different needs and expectations than PC users. For example, mobile users expect your site to load in 3 seconds(3) and will flee if it doesn’t. Asking mobile-only users to pinch and zoom their way through a website designed for a monitor five times larger is an ergonomic nightmare(4). And studies show that even as early as 2012 mobile users would rather scroll than load a new page(5).
In short, if your website isn’t mobile optimized, then you’re missing the boat.
2. Good Content
Nearly two decades ago, Bill Gates declared “Content is king,”(6) and so it remains. If your website reads like an encyclopedia, visitors will click away faster than you can spell ’encyclopedia.’ Unless, of course, your site is an encyclopedia, in which case you’re not really a small business interested in making a big splash with a small budget.
Since we’re talking about small business here, suffice to say your content needs to instantly capture the attention of your customers, pull them in, and motivate them to take action — like NOW. Buy NOW. Enroll NOW. Volunteer NOW. Signup NOW. Join NOW. Your job is to make it instantly crystal clear what you want your customers to do. If they have to guess, it’s not going to happen.
So how do you write content that gets results? The same way we did: with our powerful copywriting formula. You can get it NOW for FREE — see how we did that?
3. Easy and Secure Content Management
Your website is not a static brochure you printed two years ago and dust off for every new sales pitch. Rather, your website is a dynamic marketing tool that easily responds to the changing needs of your customers and changing nature of your product or service. Of course, that dynamism just isn’t possible if you’re waiting for days and weeks for your webmaster to make every little change on your website. It's 2016, after all!
You need a content management system that lets you easily edit your website whenever you want — even if you peck your keyboard with two fingers. You are master of your business, and you should be master of your website content, too.
Also you want be sure your website platform is safe and secure from hackers and other evildoers. And since you don’t have time to deal with security patches, plugins, and other technical considerations then we recommend using a hosted CMS (that’s Content Management System). How do you know the difference between hosted systems and ones you have to manage? With a hosted CMS you don’t have to install anything. You typically just create an account — and the good ones usually involve a fee — and start adding content. If you need to install anything or provide server details then chances are it’s not a hosted CMS.
4. SEO Essentials
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) helps your website appear higher in search engine results. An important aspect of SEO is making your website easy for both users and search engine robots to understand. Although search engines have become increasingly sophisticated, they still can't see and understand a web page the same way a human can. SEO helps the engines figure out what each page is about, and how it may be useful for users(7).
While entire books have been written on SEO strategies, most experts agree on these essentials:
5. Social Media Integration
While SEO is essential (see above), you can improve your rankings and visibility even more by actively engaging in social media. Think of SEO as tending a garden. It isn’t enough just to plant your garden and ignore it. You must work at it, cultivate it, nurture it over time, and generally speaking, the more effort you put into it the better your results will be.
Having said that, you still must start by planting your garden. Setup social media accounts such as facebook, twitter, linked, instagram and pinterest where you think your customers are active. Reinforce your brand with custom graphics so that your social properties feel like an extension of your brand. When customers link from their website to your facebook and back it should feel like your brand in both places.
To wrap up, if you are launching a new website or redesigning an old one for your small business, starting with these 5 features is a smart investment of your time and money and will get you off to a great start.
Shameless plug: We can build your new site with the top 5 features described in this post, quickly and affordably.
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RapidSites.Pro gives you the most bang for your buck by focusing on the top 5 features that are essential for a successful small business website.