Your Website is Your Business (Make it Count)
Today’s digital world means people’s first impression of your business likely comes from a screen. Your website is one of the biggest influencing factors that determine whether potential customers become clients or keep clicking. Read on for insights on how to make your site stand out and serve both you and your customers.
No matter how visually pleasing your website is, no amount of design can compensate for bad (or missing) content. The articles, blogs, videos, and images on your website should serve a purpose other than selling your services. Your customers want certain questions answered. Always list your hours of operation, contact information, and answers to commonly asked questions about your business. Providing your customers with relevant and useful content will keep their interest. Content, such as white papers, eBooks, and DIY videos, are excellent ways to draw clients in and may be offered for free (on top of your other content) in exchange for an email address. This will help you build your contact list while giving your customers something of value as a reward for their loyalty. A word of caution here: only email customers when you have something to say they will want to hear.
Sluggish websites get skipped
Your customer’s user experience doesn’t begin until they reach your site. And research suggests that nearly half of all searchers move on after just a few seconds if their content hasn’t loaded. You can speed up your site in a number of ways, including choosing a server appropriate for your content and using images sized and formatted correctly for display. Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool can analyze your site and provide further suggestions.
Small business, big presence
You don’t have to have a billion-dollar budget to optimize your presence online. Many small home-based businesses look much larger (and more professional) than they really are all because of their website. If you can’t afford to pay for web design services, you can still get your site up and running using GoDaddy’s drag-and-drop Website Builder. For less than $400 per year, you can create your own website with built-in security and mobile shopping capabilities. Your web presence doesn’t stop with your domain either. Utilize free social media tools such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram to grab user attention and direct them to your business. Social Media Today’s Andrew Hutchinson offers a number of great tips on how to write an effective tweet in this post. Take steps to ensure your branding — logo, color scheme, business name, etc. — remains the same across all platforms.
Maps and apps
Make yourself easy to find by utilizing free apps for your site. For instance, your address should link your users directly to the Google Maps feature on their phone’s GPS. You should also enable one-click calling and link directly to your full site.
The workhorse of the web
Put your website to work for you by integrating it into your small business accounting and workflow software. QuickBooks, for instance, offers the option of syncing your website to your accounting. This will eliminate the time of having to do it yourself and improve your overall productivity. Depending on your business type, there are also a number of specialized workflow programs that allow orders from your site to go directly into production.
Remember, people are impatient and want a site that works without delays. People want relevant content and the ability to reach out without jumping through hoops. So, design your site with your customers in mind, and you’ll make your home-based business look and feel like a Fortune 500 without spending a fortune.
Need more tips on how to run a home business? Check out the Small Business Administration at SBA.gov and this article by Redfin for practical advice on everything from office design to achieving the ever-elusive work/life balance.
Your Website is
Article provided by: Dean Burgess