Getting an awesome website is within your reach. And most of these will not cost you much, if anything! How cool is that?
Do You Have an Awesome Website?
Every awesome website shares some characteristics.
Do you have to improve your website? With a little bit of preparation and foresight, your site can truly sparkle. It can make you money and save you cash. So here are 5 things your website should have. Make it awesome!
5. You Need to Have Your Company’s Contact Details on Each and Every Page of Your Awesome Website
This seems simple, but a lot of businesses miss this. Incorporate the contact number you want customers to call for sales questions. The best place is at the top of each page. Include a clickable “e-mail us!” button that either launches an email client or links to your contact form.
Keep in mind, you are asking something of your customers and prospects. As a result, your job is to make it as easy as possible for them to fulfill your request. And your request, inevitably, is for them to buy something or other from you. Never mind if your first request is to get them to sign up for a newsletter or to take a survey. The bottom line is that, at the end of the day, your ultimate request is for them to buy something.
4. Your Awesome Website Needs to Have a Blog
Every kind of social media marketing and other online marketing needs high quality content. So if you’re thinking of any online marketing initiative, you should start with a blog. In order to get maximum SEO benefit, your blog should be listed under your domain (something like www.yourcompany/blog) rather than off-site through a service like Blogger.com.
A blog can help your small business in so many ways that you may be crazy if you’re not considering a blog for your company.
A Blog Can Do Your Business a Lot of Good
- search engine optimization (SEO)
- communications channel for your company that creates content shareable on social websites such as Facebook and Twitter
- a way to establish your business as an expert in your industry and connect with your customers
No Time to Blog?
You are a busy entrepreneur, no doubt. And that may mean that you do not have any time to write blog posts. Or maybe you think you are not such a great writer. But that is okay. Both of those issues are easy to fix.
Try a place online like Upwork for a blogger. Now keep in mind, a blogger you hire does not necessarily have to know anything about your business or your industry. No lie!
What you are looking for is a good writer. Most good writers, if not all, are able to adapt. Give that writer a chance to do some research and learn your industry. And the best way to hire a writer is to give them a short writing task. As in, maybe 600 words or so. Make it a topic you would want to cover anyway. If you like the writing sample and the writer, then they can later adapt it for your blog. And if you do not like the writing sample and/or the writer, then you can cannibalize the research for later. Win-win!
3. Your Awesome Website Needs to Have an SEO Strategy that Targets Your Products and Services
SEO stands for search engine optimization. If you have never heard of it before, then rest assured, you will hear about it a lot more, the longer your business has an online presence.
The down and dirty definition of search engine optimization is more of a question. When you search for zebras online, you get hundreds of millions of hits. Why is the first website in your search results the first?
It is anything but random. It has to do with how well that particular website addresses the question, which is probably something like, what are zebras all about?
And it also has to do with how trusted that website is. As a result, your search for zebras will often bring up Wikipedia or a zoo website as the first hit. Those are more trusted websites, according to a search engine like Google.
Here is a Quick Pro Tip on Search Engine Optimization for Your Awesome Website
The prospects who know your business name can find your website. So optimizing your site in order that prospective customers can discover you via Google when they search your small business’s name is not really necessary.
Naturally you should include your business name on your website and in the metadata. If it is at all possible, your business name should be the same as your domain name. But the fact is that your company’s name is going to be on your web site so much that you probably can’t help but be located on Google for it.
Instead, concentrate on generic terms that prospects who may not know your business are looking for.
If you sell mystery novels (for example), then working to optimize for your business name will not help you out anywhere near as much as trying to optimize for a phrase like mystery novel or mystery bookstore. You might even try to rank for well-known writers like Agatha Christie. Or for well-known fictional detectives, like Nero Wolfe.
Prospective clients should trust you before choosing to work with you. Use your website to establish your reputation and to share your knowledge and record keeping clients happy.
Often, a testimonials page can be one of the most-visited pages on sites you can create for your clients. When you do get testimonials, ask your customers for approval to use their actual names. Real endorsements from recognizable community members mean a lot more than an anonymous testimonial.
If you showcase business case studies on your site, come up with a consistent, concise format to explain what issue your company addressed and what method you went through to get there.
Asking for Reviews
Do yourself and your business a favor by asking for reviews at the end of a successful sale. That is also a good time to ask if a particular customer is happy. If they are, then be sure to ask for a review. And if they are not, then do everything in your power to make them happy!
1. You Need Photos or YouTube Videos of Your Work, Your Building, or Your Team
Customers and prospects love visuals. And they like to see that you know what you are doing. If your business provides a service such as landscape design, custom cabinetry or IT cable clean-ups, show before and after photos of your work. And if you do not have a portfolio, take some pictures. But in the meantime if, say, you were a long haul trucker, you could show your impressively maintained fleet of trucks and equipment.
If your service is anything less tangible, such as insurance or life coaching, show images of your friendly staff and your clean, comfy office. Better yet, include video. If you do not have any one of these kinds of photos, think about featuring visuals of the recognizable landmarks from your area to show you belong to the community.
Of course it should go without saying that you should only use photos and other imagery where you have permission to use them. That does not mean right-clicking every image you see! The last thing you need is to be sued for a copyright violation.
How Do You Know You Have Permission to Use an Image?
There are three ways you know you have permission to use any given image.
- The first way you know that you have permission is if you take the photo yourself (or draw the sketch, for that matter).
- And the second way you know that you have permission is if you pay for the image. Because there are people and websites which steal images and then sell them, protect yourself by using a large, well-known site like Shutterstock. And make sure you get in writing that you have permission to use the image! If a seller will not commit to paper or pixels, then go elsewhere for your image.
- Finally, the third way you know that you have permission is if you use a public domain or creative commons image. Keep in mind, there are also bad actors out there that claim an image is public domain when it is anything but. You can protect yourself pretty well by digging and trying to find the ultimate origin of the image. Pro tip: one great and verified source of public domain images is NASA.
Bonus: Social Media Accounts for Your Awesome Website
If you are active in social media, include a web page (or an area on the Contact page) where you specify the accounts you have. Plus you can show just how your business uses them.
Bonus #2: Your Website Helps Make Your Business More Fundable™
Good, professional websites help assure lenders that you’ll pay them back. Poorly created or nonexistent websites ratchet up the worry factor on their part. It’s in your best interest to do what you can to take away any reason why they might say no to lending you money. Having a great web presence is one thing you can do.
And… you should make it a part of your business credit building strategy.