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In general, most businesses need a website. Certainly, business might be going well without it, but if there’s no digital footprint you are likely losing customers. That’s why I decided to discuss the topic of creating small business websites in this article.
Communications specialist Jason Laz and I also discussed this topic on the Business Storytelling Podcast.
“Today….a web search and non-human interaction is almost always the first course of action. Without a website, you are missing out on any potential customer,” said Marketing Expert Fred Faulkner.
A few examples and then I’ll dive into what you should include on small business websites and how to do that.
Small business websites: A salon
I asked a person once how she picked a salon. She said that she googled for local salons and that was one of the few that had the best online presence.
It had photos of their salon and work product. There were reviews and it was easy to make an appointment. This particular salon has a 4.6 rating on Google reviews. The pictures are nice.
The website worked well on mobile and the call to action to call is always nearby. Here’s a video of the site as seen on mobile.
Small business websites: Restaurants
I noticed the same when I was in Los Angeles. I was looking for a restaurant. Google shows me what’s nearby and pulls in reviews and available photos – same as above for the salon.
There were some places shown to me where the food looked gross. The interior looked not too nice as well. Why would I go there? I wouldn’t. I went somewhere else – somewhere I knew the ambience would be nice. In this case the American Airlines clubs at LAX.
Small business websites: Roofing companies
In April 2020, a hail storm battered our home and we needed to find a company to fix our roof and some siding. Some companies started running targeted Facebook campaigns right away. Smart move!
I also used Google search and friend’s recommendations to find companies.
While many roofing companies had their small business website in place, there were probably 30-40 percent that didn’t have a web presence.
How to create small business websites
I heard the reasons why businesses put website development on the back burner:
- Business is going just fine!
- We don’t need it.
- During the coronavirus pandemic of 2020, some tried to conserve cost.
Even agencies that sell web development sometimes skimp on their own website. I think it’s the wrong decision. If you can’t walk the walk, why would I hire you?
But how much are you losing because of a bad or no website? It’s hard to measure, of course. I do know this though:
Then once we start putting one together, the politics – even in small businesses – can be overwhelming. Websites designed by committee often are not user friendly. Especially if the committee has no experience in user experience.
Everyone has an opinion.
Including the people who yesterday were arguing against a website. They became experts overnight because they used other websites before.
But getting a website up isn’t that hard really. The easiest route is to go with self-hosted WordPress – which is what this site runs on.
WordPress is so simple that one time on a 5 a.m. drive to Chicago (I wasn’t driving) I noticed that the template was crashing the site. I updated it from the car from my phone. #boom That template is the current look!
Add some nice pictures, a description of your services, some calls to action. Make it easy for people to learn about you and to contact you. Consider a blog. Maybe. But don’t start there! One step at a time.
Make sure your address is on there if you have a physical location. List the correct hours if they matter in your business. They don’t matter here, for example. Make sure somebody checks the email that is listed.
Sounds simple and it is to get the basics up. Nonetheless some businesses still aren’t there.
Just getting started? VIDEO: My WordPress session for beginners from Las Vegas might be helpful.
There are other platforms that you can use as well: Wix. Squarespace, for example. Be aware though, that even do-it-yourself projects take time. You still have to:
- Set the website up
- Write copy
- Make sure copy is free of errors
- Use the correct keywords
- Have good photography (depending on what your business is – but a roofing company certainly should have pictures of roofs they’ve put on houses!)
- Make sure it works – including links, calls to actions and contact forms and phone numbers
Need help with your small business website? Contact me here.
The pieces small business websites should have
On many content marketing client projects the homepage is becoming less and less important. Visitors enter through product pages, blog posts and other landing pages. That is true for many websites that are good at digital marketing.
Most small business websites do need good homepages though.
A good small business website homepage gets to the point and quickly. It also has calls to action that makes contacting the company easy. Here’s an example from a Nevada roofing company.
There’s a phone number to call (make sure it’s clickable, who still types in phone numbers in 2020? Not me.) The main call to action is “Get your free estimate,” which is likely why most visitors would look up a roofing company. A hamburger menu has more information.
In this case the CTA goes to the Contact Us page. That’s a good setup in my opinion and I use similar strategies for general campaigns.
On this particular Contact Us page, you find:
- their location on a map
- a contact form
- social media information
- phone number
- fax number
Of course, Make sure somebody is monitoring all the listed ways people can contact your company. In WordPress and other platforms, contact forms are easily forwarded to an email. The form I use allows me to simply reply to the forwarded email.
An About Us page can go deeper into your company story. Why the company was started, what makes it truly unique and maybe an overview of key players.
This podcast discusses how to tell your company story in a conversion-centered way:
Testimonials establish you as the expert. Many happy customers are willing to give them. You might even consider highlighting some on your homepage if that’s where most of your traffic comes from.
Highlight your most common services on your website. I also would recommend separate landing pages that highlight specific services and go into more detail. Also include photos and testimonials as applicable.
Services landing pages might be a phase 2 website update as long as your main services, photos and testimonials are listed on your homepage.
When possible, include pricing. Certainly that’s harder for some businesses. Hail damage projects are all over the place. But prices for software or massages should have a base.
10 licenses to our software cost this much.
A 60-minute massage is this much and a 90-minute massage costs this much.
Is a blog needed on a small business website?
Blogging and sharing valuable information that’s attempting to attract your perfect customers can be helpful. It also can help you rank in search higher when people search for your service lines.
The problem with many brand blogs is that they are just kind of lame, too shallow and too market-y. Content production and promotion also takes time.
I wouldn’t call a blog a phase 1 rollout for small businesses, but when business is down like during the coronavirus pandemic or up during good times it’s a great way to get in front of your target audience when done well.
Need help with your marketing? Contact me here.Contact me here.
Small business websites wrap
People shop online nowadays. They also do their research online. One way you can influence that research is by showing up and looking good. A professional website can do that for your company. Given that it’s relatively easy to launch one today, I would highly recommend that businesses consider setting one up.
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Move your content from happening to performing. The 2020 textbook: