Websites are already a necessity, especially if you want people to find your company online. This is because a great website says a lot about your business, employees, products, and services. An easy-to-use interface with attractive visuals and a compelling copy can persuade customers to return. If your website delivers a subpar experience, though, potential clients will more likely visit once and bounce.
Even if you’re not technically inclined, online resources can help you improve your website. All you need to do is focus on a few key areas.
Here’s how to maximize your small business’ website in no time:
More and more people use their phones to surf the web. According to Statista, 51.53% of worldwide web traffic came from phones between April and June 2020. Four years ago, that figure was 39.47%.
The increase in mobile phone usage isn’t changing any time soon, especially with developing countries like Nigeria, Ghana, and Kenya seeing stratospheric rises in mobile internet traffic. The implications of this trend for your website are clear: you must be mobile-friendly.
Many small businesses only design their websites for desktops. The problem is that desktop screens are several times larger than their mobile counterparts. Hence, what looks good on a laptop doesn’t necessarily translate to a smartphone.
Here are some ways to ensure that your website looks good wherever customers see it:
- Simpler interface
- White space
- Larger text
- Dropdown menus
- Integration with phone functions
Many website-building services, like Wix and Square, take care of these features for you. They create two separate versions of your website, depending on what device people use when they visit. Furthermore, here’s a closer look at the top 10 ecommerce website builders that can make your site mobile-friendly.
Improve Page Loading Speed
We live in an on-demand world; we expect everything instantaneously, so when there’s even a small delay, we notice. That need for speed also applies to websites.
According to Akamai Technologies, a 100-millisecond delay in your website’s loading speed can decrease conversions by 7%. That might not sound like much, but it’s the difference between half a million dollars in annual revenue and $465,000. If that delay reaches a full second, conversion can drop 70%.
Aim for an average page load speed of three seconds or less. An almost instant upload ensures that your customers get what they need when they need it.
That being said, here are some ways to improve your site speed:
- Compressing files
- Optimizing photos
- Reducing redirects
- Using browser caching
If you want to know your website’s speed, you can use Google’s PageSpeed Insights. Simply enter your URL, and then PageSpeed Insights will provide you with an overall rating, blocking time, and the time needed to reach interactive content.
When you start blogging, you should focus on writing content that informs and engages your visitors. The posts should answer their questions or inspire them to share your website with friends and family. The exact definition of high-quality content will vary by industry, but many companies post about upcoming events, industry news, and new products.
It typically takes four to six months before you can see results from blogging. The first month requires research and optimization planning to find keywords and phrases that are worth incorporating into your blogs. These words are what your clients use when searching for your website online.
The second month involves finalizing your audit and research. By the third month, you should start updating your current content. That includes publishing evergreen material, such as frequently asked questions and how-tos. You may start seeing a slight uptick in your traffic and SERPs at this point.
Focus on content creation and on-site search engine optimization when you reach month four. Search engine crawlers should easily crawl and index your pages, which can translate to higher SERPs. Other potential benefits include lower bounce rates and more qualified leads.
The months that follow involve maintaining and updating content. Just because you reached the six-month mark doesn’t mean you’re finished. Remaining relevant online requires weekly or monthly blog posts.
If you’re not up to the challenge, you can always outsource the job to a freelance writer or SEO specialist.
A company will always put a positive spin on its products and services. Even if you have best-in-class offerings, customers are wise enough to take your effusive words with a grain of salt, which is why 92% of people read reviews before they make a purchase.
Reviews, testimonials, and case studies give shoppers the confidence they need to buy or pass on a product. These snippets establish credibility, especially if a customer hasn’t used your website before. Testimonials are effective because they’re written in a voice other than the company’s. Instead, they tell people what they can expect from the product or service from a user’s perspective.
If your small business has loyal patrons and gushing testimonials, put them on your website. These customers are your strongest supporters and will evangelize your business to their inner circles. They’ll also serve as better publicity for your company than a traditional marketing campaign.
Scour sites like Yelp, Google My Business, Facebook, and Angie’s List for positive reviews. Once you find eye-catching testimonials, embed the content on your website. Make sure these testimonials come from real people and explain how your company satisfied their needs.
If you operate a small business or a startup, it’s not too late to start collecting reviews. Offer a discount to customers on their next purchase if they leave feedback or send out a request for testimonials to your email list. Displaying your customers’ positive feelings and stories can lead more people to trust your brand.
Track and Analyze Your Data
If you want to maximize your website, you need to understand what areas need improvements. You can find the answers in your website data. Resources like Google Analytics provide a glimpse of what your website does well and where it can improve.
You should know how visitors get to your site and how much time they spend on it. One way to measure this success is your bounce rate. A bounce rate tells you how many people came to your site and clicked away before viewing another page. According to Littledata, the average bounce rate for mobile Google searches is 52.3%.
Lowering your bounce rate keeps customers on your site longer. The more they linger, the more you can nudge them down the purchase funnel. Remember that buying products and services isn’t the only barometer for conversions. You can also look at micro-conversions, like your newsletter’s subscription rate or new followers of your social media channels, which build long-term loyalty with customers.
There are many ways you can use analytics to lower your website’s bounce rate, including eliminating popups, writing more blog posts, and adding meta descriptions. Perhaps the most effective approach is A/B testing.
A/B testing, also known as split testing, involves showing customers two nearly identical pieces of website content and seeing which one they like more. For instance, you may have two landing pages that are identical except for their calls to action. One call to action says, “Learn more,” while the other one says, “Get involved!”
Keep the option that converts more customers. For instance, if “Get involved!” convinces 25% of people to follow your company on Instagram compared to 20% for the other, keep the former. The key is repeating this process for different elements of your website so you can maximize your website’s potential.
Maintain Your Website
Your website is your digital storefront since it’s the first thing people see when they visit you online. Like a physical storefront, your website also needs routine maintenance to stay in tip-top shape.
Maintaining a fresh and engaging website ensures that customers have a positive online experience while keeping you high in SERPs. Some ways to tidy up include updating your software, running security scans, and checking Webmaster Tools data for critical errors. These routine checkups are also an excellent time to back up your website in case of a catastrophic failure.
The Bottom Line
How you maximize your small business website will depend on your specific needs and preferences. If you already have a dynamic website, feel free to skip step one. The same applies to step three if you post blogs every week.
If you take away anything from this article, remember that website optimization doesn’t have a singular solution. It requires doing many different but related tasks that gradually improve your site over time. Once you make enough meaningful changes, your website will be greater than the sum of its parts.
Chris Muller is a small business owner who started a digital marketing business that focuses on freelance writing, content marketing, and SEO — all while working full-time and playing dad to two kids.