With consumers being more tech-savvy then ever, every successful business needs a website – regardless of industry or size.
Businesses without a website run the risk of losing credibility and having their chances of being found by new customers drop dramatically. Conversely, small businesses that feature a well-designed website can compete with larger rivals, which helps to level the playing field in what has become a increasingly competitive consumer market.
With that in mind, here are a few important points businesses need to consider when building or renovating their websites.
Customer Reviews are Key
Approximately 85 percent of consumers read reviews online for local business, according to a study conducted by the SEO firm BrightLocal, an increase from 75 percent in 2012. As more consumers start utilizing online reviews to determine where to shop, reviews will become one of a business’ leading generators of new customers or the culprit behind lost revenue.
Dedicate space on your website for reviews that draw attention to the positive comments customers have left about your business. Installing a plugin that enables visitors to your website to add reviews is a great way to gather customer feedback. However, you can also use a third-party plugin from sites like Facebook or Yelp instead.
Since a review a few days ago carries less weight in the mind of consumers than one left a few hours ago, make sure to add and update reviews frequently so they remain fresh.
Connect Through Social Media
Consumers like options when it comes to how they connect with businesses. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram not only give consumers a variety of options, they also offer businesses a great way to connect with different consumer groups, as well. Listing all of the active social media platforms your business uses in the header, footer, or side panel of a website is an important part of helping customers connect.
It’s also beneficial to add buttons that provide visitors the opportunity to share your business’ website and post their favorite services or products to their social media networks. This also a great tool to help grow your business organically through word of mouth.
Keep Your Site Aesthetically Pleasing
Just having a website is no longer enough, as consumers today have come to expect aesthetically pleasing websites that offer some kind of interactive experience. Whether through a responsive design, compelling images, or funny videos, you need to engage visitors to your website in ways that are creative and entertaining.
Be sure to use images that clearly depict the services or products your business offers and prominently display them on the your home page and throughout the rest of the site. The use of high-quality video and images will help to separate your business’ website from the competition.
Make It Easy to Buy
Every business that sells a product needs to have an ecommerce site that enables consumers to make purchases online. While having a physical location offers a number of advantages, you still need to give consumers an easy way to buy what you’re selling even if they can’t reach your store.
Selecting to use a third-party ecommerce site like Amazon or Etsy to fill this role can be sufficient, but in reality these types of sites can still act as a barrier to a potential purchase. The best option is to install a shopping cart to your website with the help of vendors like Paypal or Shopify. Even better would be to invest the extra capital to develop and maintain a fully functional and integrated ecommerce store.
Keep Content Fresh
Keeping the content your website fresh and relevant to your business demonstrates to consumers that they have found an active business they can trust. Most pages on your website won’t need frequent updates, especially pages predominantly filled with product information, but at least one page should receive regular attention.
Adding a blog or calendar page that highlights upcoming events or new product launches can help actively engage visitors to your business’ website, while also helping to improve the site’s organic search ranking. Bing and Google reward websites that frequently add new content with higher organic rankings in search results, so keeping your content fresh offers more benefits than just helping to engage customers.