We keep hearing it from everyone: businesses need websites. But do they? I mean, if you have got your business social media pages up and running, do you really need the hassle of a website?
If we go by numbers, they make a strong case in favor of professional websites for businesses. While social media pages do help you with an online presence, there’s a heightened level of credibility that the public associates with businesses that run a great-looking and high-performing website. This credibility translates into higher brand equity, higher profits, and a higher market share.
So, yep, your local business does need a website.
But it doesn’t have to be a hassle.
The latest technology automation allows us to create gorgeous and efficient websites in hours, not days. Here’s how you go about it.
1.Use an Online Web Builder Tool
For a simple website for a local business, you do not need to come all-guns-blazing for coding and design. Keep things painless by using a simple online web builder tool that’s easy to use, offers an extensive visual library, and an updated list of operational features that all modern businesses require.
These features include a flexible CRM, security options, blogging tools, site support, payment gateways, business emails, and such. Responsive themes that make your site adjust to different screen sizes and orientations as people view it on different screens and devices have also become a staple of these web builder programs.
Using a web builder also rids you the hassle to maintain a domain and a host. Most web builders take care of all these technicalities themselves and allow you to focus on other important areas.
2. Have 5-7 Standard Pages for Your Website
As the needs of your business dictate, the number of these pages can be higher or lower. You can even merge information from two pages together if it seems relevant. For example, Our Team and Contact Us can be merged with your team intros on top and the contact information on the bottom of the page.
Using the appropriate amount of pages ensures that your SEO remains optimum. Enough pages so interlinking is possible, and not so many where the visitors become overwhelmed with the sprawl of the site.
3. Use High-Quality Optimized Visuals
Everyone is going to tell how that site visuals need to be top-notch. I agree, but the flip side needs to be looked at. Most high-quality visuals, HD or 4K videos, for example, take up a lot of space and make the site load slow.
For a small business website, this lack of instant page load can be akin to death. People only give 1-3 seconds for web pages to load and then they abandon the site. If it happens frequently, the site engine penalizes you for poor user experience and drops your ranking.
To avoid that, strike a balance between quality and size. Tools like JPEG Optimizer (http://jpeg-optimizer.com/) and TinyPNG (https://tinypng.com/) allow you to reduce the image size without any visible reduction in quality.
Before you do all that though, please make it a point to use only original photography (avoid stock photos), branded graphics, and pleasant on-brand colors and fonts so you can communicate a professional and consistent image of your brand to the audience.
4. Keep the UI Engaging and Trendy
Your user interface – how the site looks and performs – is going to make a lasting impact on your users. This area directly deals with the functionality of the site. When you are using a web builder, the looks are pretty much taken-care of – you only need a bit of tinkering with customization to make sure everything looks personalized for the brand.
The most important goal to achieve here is to use icons, navigation, and features that make the interface engaging and modern. Parallax effects, cursor-initiated animations, and on-site videos are some of the most popular and easy ways to make the site engaging to use.
5.Use Simple, Straightforward, and Fun Language
The way you talk to your users conveys a very strong brand image. Think of famous brands like Starbucks and Coca-Cola. They use fun, modern, and language to remain connected with their audience. From website copy to social media copy, and even the baristas as your local Starbucks communicate with you in a fun, welcoming tone that’s the voice of the brand.
To make people connect with your business, your site copy needs to convey your brand personality. If you are not fun but rather want to be known as knowledgeable, your voice along with words can communicate that.
As a rule, however, try to use simple and straightforward words. No technical jargon or fancy vocabulary. There’s zero need to take yourself that seriously.
6.Maintain Strong SEO Practices
Search engine optimization is an organic way to make your website more visible to users online. Search engines use your website data, judge its quality, and find out how others sites and people online view it. If more high-authority websites link to your pages or blog articles, the search engines translate it to mean you have something important to say and everyone is listening. As a result, your site ranks higher, to give users the most popular and authentic information.
Robust web security also plays an important role in sites ranking higher. Similarly, a website with no bugs or fixes and strong developer support always matters to SEO. The better your site performs with no downtime or recurring fixes, the more Google and other search engines like it for their users. The result: better SERP rankings.
You can also register your local business in local business registries, interlink your pages within your site, maintain an active blog, submit your sitemap, and proper metadata will ensure that your SEO remains on-point.
7. Keep the Site Secure with SSL Certificates
We talked about website security. Let’s talk about it more. An uncompromising focus on web security results in a website that customers trust strongly. An SSL certificate – Secure Sockets Layer – communicates to the users that their information is completely encrypted. Displaying your security stickers prominently on the site – especially if you are an eCommerce store – helps users feel more confident as they share their payment details and postal addresses with you.
Keep in mind that web security certificates have limited validity periods. When you buy a certificate, keep its expiry date in mind so you can renew it before the dreaded ‘Unsecure Connection Ahead’ blinks on your site, two years down the road. This message can damage your brand image as well as your rankings and conversions.
8.Install WebMaster Tools
All the popular web builder programs allow you to connect to webmaster tools such as the Google Search Console or Bing WebMaster. These tools are a set of free web utilities that allow the web owner to see how their site is performing on different search engines.
With Google Search Console, you get access to Google Analytics, Ad Sense, and more, so you get live, updated, and accurate data on how your site is doing and where the room for improvement lies. The same is true for Bing Web Master – you get access to the data and insights that can help you with site improvements and fixes.
Creating a new website for a small local business has become a simple affair, thanks to the latest technology. You just need to have a strong grasp of how your brand looks and feels, and the rest can fall into place with your web builder’s drag-and-drop design features. For the cherry on an already well-baked cake, do run a blog on your site. It helps you keep an open line of communication with your audience and also comes in handy for SEO linking.