What makes for an effective small business website today?

It goes without saying that an effective small business website is critical today. Having a website that is able to track the customer journey gives you the ability to speak to your visitors as individuals.

People are extremely web savvy these days and appreciate when their digital experiences take into account who they are, based on their behaviour, demographics and history, in order to direct them the right content at the right time. Fail in this – fail to meet or exceed their expectations – and they will likely take their business and money elsewhere.

One of the most common mistakes small businesses make when it comes to developing their website relates to not delivering a consistent experience across all channels. If a visitor starts their digital journey on their mobile on the commute to work and finishes it at home on their PC, they want to see the same content delivered in a manner fitting the device they are using. If they are not able to do this, they feel a degree of disconnection with the content you are providing them.

Imagine you are shopping for that special gift for a loved one on your mobile device and want to complete your purchase at lunchtime on your work laptop. The online store should make this as easy as possible for you, not have you rummaging around on their site again to find the same item. You would probably give up and go somewhere else.

Never forget that customer loyalty isn’t a given – you have to earn it. Moreover, usually you get one shot at it, so you have to get it right from the outset.

Ahead of developing a website, small businesses need to consider who their visitors are and build detailed personas around them. They should really get to know them, interview them, map their customer journeys, describe their typical behaviour, what they read, where they go for information. Be as detailed as you can in order to make them as tangible as possible. Then, build a digital experience around this. Of course, it is much more detailed than this, but unless you can digitally shake the hand of your potential customers, you haven’t got a chance of devising a realistic digital strategy.

People want a digital experience on their terms, so make sure you give it to them. It is important that small business websites move visitors through their site in respect to the way they consume information, based on their persona and digital touchpoints.

It is vital that any content featured on a small-business website should be reader-first content. Know their pain points, know how you can solve them, know how you can reassure their doubts, know how their minds work. And remember, different personas want different things.

Small businesses are today dealing with consumers who are digitally savvy and, because they don’t have a lot of time to waste, rather unforgiving. If a business doesn’t deliver a website that connects with its visitors, they are missing a huge opportunity. It is critical that businesses build accurate visitor personas, update and constantly refine them to allow for a responsive and personalised web experience critical to thriving in today’s consumer-led digital age.

Wayne Jasek, Director of APAC Operations, Kentico

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