Website Design

What are the Necessary Features of a Great Small Business Website?

features of a great small business websiteTo properly brand your business, provide the necessary information to your prospects, and compel your prospects to do business with you, you must have the right combination of  features on your small business website.

What Features/Pages Your Website Should Have

A typical small business website should have the following pages:

  • Home Page – The home page of a website usually receives the most visits. As such, it is important that you do a good job of branding yourself and presenting your business in a professional manner.You only have a few seconds to captivate your prospects’s attention.  As such, you must clearly convey what products and/or services you offer, who your target audience is, what is your value proposition, and why they should do business with you. You can convey the above important messages by using a combination of a tagline or slogan, the texts on the page, and relevant images and videos. Be sure to place all the important information above the fold so the users don’t have to scroll down to see it. Lastly, you may want to include some attractive photos that represents your services or products or a video of you talking about your business on the homepage.
  • About Us Page – The “About Us” page is a perfect opportunity for you to connect with your visitors. This is a very important page of your website and it’s an area where I see most people don’t put enough efforts in. Here, you should talk about the mission of your business, what inspired you to start the business, the history of your business, how long you have been in business, and some information about yourself as well as your staff. Clearly and succinctly let people know what make you special, why they should do business with you and why they should trust you. You should also talk about your credentials and include testimonials, endorsements, awards, or mentions of your business or yourself in the news. Be sure to feature photos and/or videos of yourself, your storefront, as well as your staff. Make it as personable and likeable as possible!
  • Products/Services Page – Clearly describe your products or services in a way that explains how they benefit your target audience, how your products or services can change their lives, and/or how they can solve your target audience’s problems and pain points. Additionally, describe what makes your services or products unique or better than the competition. Remember, it’s not about you but it’s about what you can do for your prospects. So don’t talk too much about features.
  • Free Content – Giving away high quality free content in the forms of articles, video instructions, downloadable PDFs and tip sheets, etc is a fantastic way of establishing your expertise and your credibility. If you are giving away free Ebooks or white papers, be sure to capture your visitors’ email addresses before giving them the download link. That way you can follow up with your prospects and launch your nurturing campaigns.
  • Blog Adding a blog to your site is a great way to share news, updates, educational information, etc with your visitors. By regularly posting to your blog and adding remarkable content, you get 2 benefits. For one, you are helping your SEO efforts as Google likes websites that continuously add fresh content to the sites. Additionally, the more content you have, the more chances your website has to get found and discovered by people searching on the search engines. Secondly, a blog adds that element of interaction to your site. Your visitors can comment and you can respond back to their comments.The best way to add a blog is to host it as a subdomain on your website (i.e. www.yoursite.com/blog). If you host your website at Bluehost, you can easily add a wordpress to your site with a few clicks.
  • FAQs Page – An FAQ page answers the most common questions your customers have. Having an FAQ page saves you the hassles of having to reply to customers’ emails or phone calls.
  • Contact Us Page – The Contact Us page should include a map of the location of your business, directions to your business as well a form for customers to fill out if they need to contact you or ask you for more information. If you use Google Maps, Google provides you with a code that you can embed on your website so that the Google map of your business location can be published on your website.
  • Resource Page – The Resource page can include links to partner sites or sites that provide beneficial and useful information to your visitors. In addition, you could feature all your white papers, webinar replays, and slides on the resource page.
  • Success Stories/Testimonials Page – Testimonials are important for establishing your credibility and instilling confidence in your prospects’ mind. If you can get photos and videos of the people giving the testimonials, this would add more weight to your credibility. If your products are more on the complicated and pricey side, you might want to add some case studies or success stories too.
  • Gallery Page – The Gallery page is a great place to show off photos of your past projects. You can also show the “before and after” photos of your clients/projects.
  • Site Map Page – The site map page is an outline of your website and list all the pages on your site. This is useful for visitors as well as the search engines.
  • Privacy Policy Page – If you plan to collect visitors’ personal information such as emails, phone numbers, etc, it is essential that you include a privacy policy page. If you need help create a privacy policy page, you can use FreePrivacyPolicy.com to create a privacy policy page for your website.
  • An Opt-in form for your newsletter or to download a whitepaper – Having an opt-in form to collect visitors’ email is vital to your business success. Some visitors will not become your customers right away.Thus, you can use an opt-in form to collect their emails and then start to communicating with them and sending them free information.If you do a good job, you can eventually turn them into life long customers. Just make sure to clearly convey the incentives for them to opt-in. The incentives could be to download an information-rich white paper, news of new products availability or special promotions, etc.
  • Call To Action – This is perhaps the most important element of your website. Once you get your visitors to visit your website, you don’t want them to leave and forget all about you.Your job is to convince them to do business with you and to take some actions. Call to Actions could be calling you for more information or to make an appointment, filling out a “contact us” form, or signing up to your newsletter. To entice your prospects to take actions, you could provide them with a free download of your white paper, a report, or E-book. Just make sure that these giveaways provide some value.

The above website features are definitely must haves in order to have a professional and useful business website. In addition to making sure your website contain the above elements, your website should follow the guidelines below to ensure the visitors have the best experience and to ensure the search engines understand what your website is about.

  • Use relevant and meaningful names for each webpages – Don’t call it www.yourdomain.com/page1.html or www.yourdomain.com/page2.html. If you have a page about your dog grooming service in Seattle, then name your page something like www.yourdomain.com/seattle-dog-grooming-service.html.
  • Incorporate keywords related to your business, services, or products in the META title tag, description tag, H1, H2 tags, as well as in the copy of each webpage. You should optimize each web page with its own relevant keywords. Try to keep it 2 keyword phrases per page. If your business serves local customers in a specific geographic area, it is especially important for you to include the geographic keywords into the Title Tag, Description Tag and in the copy. (i.e. “Chiropractor in Houston”, “San Diego Dry Cleaning | Laundry Services”, etc.)
  • Avoid flash if possible – Flash takes awhile to load and it’s not search engine friendly. You don’t really need to use Flash to make a good website. Having a good layout and knowing how to combine colors, good spacing, and fonts can produce a simple, yet elegant and attractive looking website.
  • Do not use Javascripts or graphics for navigation or important content – The search engine spiders do not read Javascripts and graphics that well. Plain text is best for the spiders.
  • Make sure you have original and unique content on every page of your website – The search engines do not like duplicate content and may penalize you in terms of ranking.
  • Incorporate videos – Videos are great for enhancing your visitors’ experience. You can create a welcome video or instructional videos of how to use your products or perform a certain task.For example, if you are a fitness trainer, you can create videos of you teaching people the correct way to do squats or what are the best exercises to give you flat abs. Nowadays, it’s so easy to create a video. You can create a video with a Flip Cam or even your phone camera.

If you follow the above guidelines, you will be able to create a compelling and attractive website that is worthy of your visitor’s time. And if you are able to make a good impression on the visitors, you will have a good chance of converting them into loyal customers!

Peter Nguyen
I'm an Interne/online marketing expert with a strong blend of creative, technical, and analytic skills. I have over 6 years of experience doing online marketing for B2B as well as B2C Ecommerce. My expertise is in SEO, PPC, Social Media, Analytics, Copywriting, Landing Page Design, B2B Lead Generation, Conversion Optimization, Web Design, and project management. I am passionate about online marketing and I am constantly learning and keeping up to date on the latest advances on online marketing and social media marketing.
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