Eight things every small-business website needs

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Want more clients online? Consider optimising your website.

Here are eight things every small-business website needs. Of course, there will be exceptions, but this list should apply to the majority of you.

Let’s dive in.

1. SEO

Your website needs to be visible online, otherwise, all these other steps could be pointless. SEO = Search Engine Optimisation. It’s an umbrella term for things you can do to help a website get found on a search engine. In this case, I’m focusing on Google. Fundamentals include:

  • Keyword research.
  • Optimising each relevant website page (e.g. meta title, meta description, keyword density, URL structure, images, heading tags, etc).
  • Fast website speed.
  • Responsive design (e.g. looks great on desktop, mobile and tablet).
  • Links (internal and external).
  • Domain authority.
  • High quality (and relevant) content.
  • Submitting sitemap and syncing with Google Search Console.

There are many other things you’ll need to do, but that’s a good place to start.

2. Clarity

What do you do? And how do people get started? Ensure this is clear. People should get this information when the page loads. They shouldn’t have to go looking for it. Consider adding it to your homepage hero. And other prominent areas on your website. The hero is usually below the header. For example:

3. Call To Action (CTA)

Your website needs a CTA. What do you want people to do? Call? Send a message? Book an online appointment? Purchase a product? Join an email list? Figure this out, and make it clear. Then, ensure the CTA is in a prominent position (e.g. header and hero). And make the CTA a clickable button.

4. Easy navigation

Can people find what they need on your website? Can you? Ask your friends and family to give you honest feedback.

Look at your Google Analytics. Is every page on your website getting traffic? If not, maybe some of them are hard to find.

Every good website will have a menu in the header. It must include the most essential pages. And a mobile layout should have a “hamburger” drop-down toggle. Consider adding extra menu items to your footer, adding a search function in the header, and adding breadcrumbs to each page.

5. Optimise your service pages

Your website can rank for multiple services. This means people can find your service pages on Google. In other words, you don’t have to make your homepage rank for all your services.

I suggest picking a primary keyword for each service page. And a few other secondary keywords. Then optimise those pages. (e.g. do your keyword research, answer common questions and provide useful information. This could help you get more website traffic from potential customers/clients.

6. USPs (Unique Selling Points)

What makes you unique? What can you do better than your competitors? What do your happy customers/clients say about you?

Figure this out, and make it clear. Consider using images to clarify this (e.g. icons). You don’t have to be 100 per cent unique – most businesses aren’t – just put yourself in the shoes of a prospect.

What do they want? Think about simple things (e.g. personal touch, great online reviews, good communication, experience, etc).

7. Social proof

Social proof is the idea that consumers will adapt their behaviour according to what other people are doing. Do you have good online reviews? (e.g. five-star Google Reviews). Has someone with authority said something positive about your business? Have you won a business award? Has your business been featured on TV or a popular website? Demonstrate this on your website, avoiding plain text testimonials (e.g. from emails) – it’s important to verify where your reviews came from.

8. Essential pages

Most small businesses should have these pages:

  • Home
  • About and/or Team.
  • Services
  • Pricing/Fees/Costs
  • Blog
  • Contact.

Regarding price, you don’t need to list your prices. Well, some businesses might, but most won’t. It’s still worth having a pricing page – you’ll be addressing the “elephant in the room”, and avoiding the issue can make people think that you’re very expensive.

What can you say about your prices? Do you offer a free quote or consultation? How can people learn how much your fees are? Do you consider your business to be expensive? Are there any “hidden fees” or “travel costs”? Try and address the issue.

On the other hand, if you’re happy to list your prices, and you think it will help, go for it, as there’s something powerful about addressing costs. It’s often the biggest cause of anxiety, fear and resistance. Once this is overcome, your website users are more inclined to become clients.