small business website

Feel like your website isn’t quite right? Here are the ten key elements you’re most likely missing, along with tips on how to fix them, fast.

Have you ever gone to cook dinner and discovered halfway through you’re missing some of the key ingredients? Sure, you manage to pull something together. But it’s nothing like the meal you envisaged. If only you’d checked the pantry and made a shopping list the day before.

Your small business website can be a bit like that. Sure, you’ve got something up. But it’s missing some of the key ingredients – or elements – that turn a basic website into something that’s working hard for your business.
 
As busy as you are in your business, so too are your prospective customers and clients. They want to easily find the information they’re looking for on your website. If it’s too difficult, they’re likely to head to another website that delivers a more streamlined experience.
 
That’s why I’m sharing the most common elements I often see missing from small business websites to make sure you have the key ingredients to a website that attracts, engages and converts. 

Is your website missing these elements?

1: Up-to-date information

The most common element missing from small business websites is up-to-date information.
 
When you run a small business, there are so many decisions to make – from your pricing, to staffing and the products and services you offer.
 
It can be difficult to find time to update your website each time you make a change. But it’s essential that your website reflects – as much as possible – your business’ current operations.
 
Why? Well let’s pretend you look up the website of a business you’ve heard does great work. Only their most recent blog refers to a company event from 2018, their menu lists services you know they no longer offer, and they’re still displaying a Covid-19 shopping delay message at checkout.
 
You’re left wondering, if the business is making simple errors like this on their website, what else might they be getting wrong.
 
Likewise, if your prices are hidden or displayed alongside a lot of *asterix conditions, it suggests you’re not confident with your offers.
 
Don’t put your potential customers in this position. Make sure you set time aside (in your calendar) to regularly check your website for outdated content. Then make those changes so your visitors get only the most relevant information about your business.

2: Engaging, valuable content

It’s not just up-to-date content that could be missing from your website. You may also be lacking content that is engaging and valuable to your audience.
 
Think of your website as a 24/7 front office for your business. Even when your actual office is closed, your website is there to provide information, answer questions and take enquiries.
 
Or is it? If you’re only offering sparse information for your website visitors, you’re likely missing out. Likewise if your content is flat and unengaging. People want to feel like the businesses they work with and buy from ‘get’ them. If you’re missing this engaging, valuable content, then your prospects might be left feeling flat.
 
Make sure your website delivers valuable content to inform and educate your visitors. This might be in the form of blog posts (like this one), How to Guides and Frequently Asked Questions pages. Not only can this increase the volume and quality of your enquiries, it can also reduce the number of basic questions you receive – freeing you up to serve people who are ready to buy.
 
That doesn’t mean you have to create content every single week, if you don’t have the capacity or resources to do so. But creating some key pieces of content – which are easy for customers to find – is a good use of your resources.
 
And if you’re not confident to create this content yourself, you can find people to help. A copywriter can help you write regular content for your blog, while a graphic designer could produce price lists or How To guides sharing helpful tips and information about your business.
small business website mackay

3: Clear Calls to Action

How many times have you been on a small business website and found it difficult to work out how to actually engage their services or buy a product?
 
While it may be obvious to us what our own sales process looks like, if it’s not communicated clearly on your website, your visitors will be confused.
 
A clear, compelling Call to Action sets out exactly what action people should do next, and what to expect when they do. Examples of Calls to Action include:
 
To enquire about our services, fill out our contact form.
 
ADD TO CART
 
You want at least one Call to Action on each page of your website.
 
But be wary of giving people too many options – that can be just as confusing as not having any.

4: Great pictures and videos 

Eye-catching visuals are vital when it comes to your small business website. They help to demonstrate the quality of your brand and build trust by showing the real people behind what you do.
 
If your photos are poor quality – whether blurry, mismatched or outdated – this reflects on your business. 
 
And while stock photos may seem like a cheap alternative, it can be very difficult to find ones that don’t look like ‘stock photos’. Ever noticed how the same wide-smile, grey-suited employees show up on multiple websites in all sorts of different industries?
 
Professional photography really is worth the investment. It helps to connect with your audience. When used across your other marketing channels, it also helps to tell a consistent story about your brand.
 
Search online for a photographer or reach out to other local businesses for a recommendation. As a Mackay website designer, I have a list of photographers I’m happy to share. Get in touch with me and I’ll share my recommendations.

Website Design Mackay

5: User-friendly navigation

The easier your website is to navigate, the more time people will spend on it. Likewise, if visitors find it difficult to locate information and move around, they’re likely to exit quickly.
 
A well-structured website starts with the menu. The main menu should have no more than eight elements. Depending on your business type and what you offer, these links should include an about page, along with your main products and/or services, your blog, and a contact form.
 
Less important links can be placed in areas like the dropdown, footer and top-bar.

6: Search engine optimisation (SEO)

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process of improving your website to  rank higher in the search engine results and increase your visitors.
 
There are three main elements of SEO: technical, on-page and off-site. Essentially, this refers to how the website itself is structured; the content that lives on the website; and activity that happens off your website that helps to improve your rankings.
 
While it sounds complex, at its core good SEO is about having a well structured, easy-to-navigate website with up-to-date copy that covers information that your audience are searching for.
 
There are some very simple things you can do to improve your SEO yourself, including:
 
Choosing the right keywords to use on each page of your website
Adding meta titles and descriptions to every page
Making sure your images are named correctly and have alt text
 
If you’re not sure how to get started with SEO, contact me and I’ll walk you through the basics. I also offer a 36-point WordPress Website Audit that digs into the backend of your website to identify the issues impacting your SEO, slowing your site down and stopping you from getting client enquiries.

7: Social proof like testimonials and reviews

We all love a personal recommendation. Knowing that someone had a great experience with a service provider or product is a good sign that we’ll have the same experience.
 
But so many small business websites are missing social proof in the form of testimonials and reviews.
 
Social proof helps to build trust and credibility. It demonstrates that we’re a proper business, delivering good value and excellent customer service. They’re a powerful sales tool, helping potential customers know what may or may not work for them (yep, even 3 and 4 star reviews).
 
Make it a priority to collect reviews and testimonials from your happy clients. You can use a plugin to automatically gather and display reviews on your website after someone has made a purchase.
 
Or you can email a link to a client at the end of the project to get feedback that way.
 
And when you do have those testimonials, don’t just tuck them away on one page. Sprinkle them throughout your site so visitors can see at the point they’re deciding to make a purchase. And it goes without saying, but make sure they’re real and include a full name and (ideally) photo of the reviewer.

8: Contact information and form

You’d be surprised how many small businesses make it almost impossible for potential customers to get in touch with them. Whether that’s hiding the link to the contact form right down in the footer or having only a contact form with no other contact details.
 
No matter whether your business is online only or has an office, you should include your location (just a town or suburb for online) in your contact details. The internet is far-reaching and people generally want to know where a business is actually located before buying from it. Including your location helps to establish trust and legitimacy.
 
When it comes to your website’s contact form, keep it as simple as possible. The more information you ask for, the less likely someone is to fill it out. So include only the form fields you need to help with someone’s enquiry.
 
And, of course, you should test your contact form regularly to make sure those important messages are getting through to you.

9: Mobile responsiveness

A growing number of website traffic comes from mobile. So it’s essential that your website works properly on mobile.
 
This doesn’t just mean that it scales down. Your small business website should be designed from a mobile-users point of view. Sometimes this might mean quite different information and layout is shown on a mobile vs desktop.
 
How do you know if your website is mobile responsive? The simple way is to open it up on your mobile and see how easy it is to navigate through the site. Can you read the text clearly, are the buttons easy to click on? Does it load quickly when using mobile data?
 
You can also use a tool like WebMobileFirst.com to see how your website performs across various devices, right from your desktop.
website small business

10: Security features

Site security isn’t just about protecting your website from potential threats. It is also essential for your customers’ trust and safety.
 
Every time someone visits your site, makes a purchase, or fills out your contact form, they’re handing over valuable information. They need to know their data is safe in your hands. 
 
At a minimum your small business website should have these security measures in place:
 
  • Updated software and plugins
  • An SSL Certificate
  • Multi-factor authentication for anyone with login credentials
  • Encryption of payment information
  • Restrictions on who has access to your website backend
 
A security breach may not just be costly for your business in the short term. It can also damage your brand’s reputation – which can take a long time to recover from.

What's the next step?

If you’ve gone through this list and feel like your website is missing any of these key elements, it can indicate it’s time for a redesign.
 
Remember, your website is often the first point of contact a potential client has with your business. You want to make sure you’re not leaving anything to chance. We help small businesses attract and engage the right customers with a professional website design.
 
Get in touch to find out more about our process and what’s included.
 
And my website checklist takes you through the important factors for a professional website that will last for years. It’s free to download and includes helpful tips so you can make sure your website is working for you.

If you’d like to hear more about Camotion, you can contact me here.Annette Camilleri

If you like this article, please share: