Whether you’re just getting started or have been around for a long time, a website is a critical tool for your small business. Not only does it tell potential customers who you are and what you do, but a good website will bring new customers to your small business. It’s important that you put effort into the content and design of your website. After all, it only takes 0.05 seconds for your website to make a good first impression.
Your website doesn’t need to be large and lengthy to get your point across, but it shouldn’t be minimal either. You have to include just the right amount of information to ensure that a potential customer can find what they need to know about your small business and make their decision. People don’t want to have to call or search around the internet for the information they need, they want it all in one place.
As a small business owner who wears many hats, a website may seem like an impossible task, but not to worry, I’ll lay out what you need for your website to get started.
When thinking about the content you want to include on your website, think about who your audience is, what they’re looking for, and how you can resonate with them. A great way to tune into your audience is to create a customer persona as a reference. This way, all of your content is directed onto your ideal customer. Keeping a specific person in mind also allows your website to feel less cold and more personable, like the user is being talked to instead of talked at.
In no particular order, here are some must-have pages you should consider having on your website that will surely bring those new customers rolling in.
About us: This could include the story of your small business’s founding and/or your mission statement. Users want to know more about a business than just what they sell. You might gain a new customer if they’re able to resonate with what your business (and its employees) stand for.
Team: It’s helpful for a user to see who is offering them the product or service they’re looking for. Having a page that lists out who works there, from the CEO to the administrative assistant, will allow users to put faces to a name.
Products/Services/Menu/etc.: This page can come with many names but essentially, you want a page that lays out what your business is offering in terms of a product or service. Whether it be a menu with pricing or a list of mechanic services, it’s important to explicitly put down what a customer is able to receive from using your business. In our experience, this is the page(s) that a lot of small businesses fall short. If it’s between a restaurant with their whole menu laid out on a single page on their website vs. a restaurant whose menu is sprawled out on multiple low quality photos on their Facebook page; who do you think is going to win over the customer?
Pricing: A lot of businesses are not willing to put pricing on their website in order to not be stuck on a single price for a variety of customers or solutions. But you do not have to put set prices for this page to be useful. If you’re a business that provides customized solutions for each customer, it might not make sense to include set prices but you can instead include how pricing would work. EID Visions actually does that on our pricing page, letting prospects know we do fixed and ongoing projects, but that the actual price is something we determine after consulting with them. If you’re a restaurant, it’s easy to put pricing next to your menu items. Either way, this transparency is beneficial to both you and your prospective customers.
Contact us: So someone has gone through your whole website and they want to make contact with you, how do they go about that? I would recommend having a contact us form or a chat feature on your website (if you’re feeling adventurous). Also have a phone number and your address, including the times you’re open. This is also a great place to link your social media channels as well!
Home page: This is the first thing people are going to see when they look at your website. This is the only time when your website is most like a business card. You want to be concise and visually appealing. Explain the key points but don’t let it be too lengthy. If you’re having a hard time filling up the page, include stats, testimonials, or images.
Bonus content: If you’re feeling up to it, you can expand on the content of your website even further by creating an online ordering system, a blog, an interactive pricing table, a video page, testimonials, etc. The possibilities are endless! While not necessary for a small business, it does jazz up your online presence.
Don’t forget about SEO
Having all of that content on your website is great but you need to make sure that people can actually find your business online. This is where SEO comes in. SEO is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results. There’s a lot you can do to get more organic traffic to your website but the minimum you need to start out is to make sure you’re adding meta titles and descriptions, adding alt text to images, adding internal links, and using keywords that your potential customers are going to use to search for a business like yours. This is merely touching the surface of on-site SEO, for more information, check out Moz’s Beginner’s Guide to SEO.
Creating Your Website
Now that you have all of the content that will be on your website, you need to create the actual website. This can essentially be broken down into three steps:
- Buy web hosting
- Buy a domain name
- Install a Content Management System (CMS)
Some websites do all of this for you, like WordPress.com or Squarespace, which is great if you’re just getting your feet wet with website making and don’t have the resources to spend on it. Although, we recommend not depending on these services to create your website, as the customization options are pretty limited and the website doesn’t truly belong to you, among other things. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to set up your website. Make sure you compare different hosting providers and CMSs to see which fits your small business and work flow. We prefer using Google Domains, Veerotech, and WordPress.
And there you have it! You now have all of the tools to get started in creating a website for your small business. This is your first step in your new digital marketing journey!