Small Business Website Essentials

If you are a small business owner and you have a website or are thinking about getting one we have a list of website essentials that will help your website do what you want it to do, generate leads and make a sale.

Contact Information

It is critical that your contact information be front and center. Make it easy for your customers to get in touch with you by including a telephone number and email contact information on the top of the first page and somewhere consistently on every page.

Make sure the phone number and email information is actionable. In other words, make sure there is an active link so that someone using their cell phone can simply click on the active link and give you a call.

If you don’t include the contact information directly at least include a button to the full contact information on every page.

Contact Forms

Contact forms are a great way to collect information from prospective clients. They are also a great way to express your personality and brand identity. You can customize submit buttons and custom response emails to give your forms splash and make your customers feel special, even before you meet them.

A custom form can have drop down boxes to help guide your clients as well as forward the email to the correct person in your organization. Custom forms can also help answer questions prior to your first client contact so you will be more prepared. You can even customize the response to send the client specialized information about a topic before you contact them.

Live Chat

Making live chat available builds your customers confidence that someone is there when they need them. Live Chat Inc. is a good example of this service. Your website visitors can get in touch with you even on the move. The chat window is fully supported on all mobile devices. Chat with your followers on Facebook using the innovative LiveChat for fan pages. Get more chats and leads through a live chat function on your fan page.

Social Media Icons

Consumers expect to be able to communicate with businesses through social media like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn (to name a few). Yet, only 20% link their website to their Facebook page and even fewer utilize Twitter and Linkedin. Experian Marketing Services released a study showing that in the United States, 16 minutes out of every hour online was spent on social networking and forums, roughly 27% of all time spent on personal computers. If your not on Social Media you should consider starting and don’t forget to ask your web designer to connect your social media accounts with your website. If you are a Gulf Coast Web Net client we will do that for you for free.  If you need help engaging your fans on Facebook you can watch our video; Getting Started Engaging your Facebook Fans.

 Video

Video is one of the best tools to communicate your brand and your personality. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so what are a thousand pictures worth? Videos are so easy to produce now. All you need is an iPhone and some ingenuity to produce a nice video. In fact you don’t even need to shoot a video in order to have a video channel. Many businesses use the library feature to guide their customers to helpful video’s. You can even display chosen video’s on your Facebook page in a tab below your cover image. Introduce yourself and tell your customers about yourself.

Keep your information up-to-date

Keep the information on your website and social media sites up-to-date. If you have some new staff make sure you have included their information. If you have a new location make sure to add it promptly and remove out-dated inventory. Remove coupon codes and announcements after a sale has passed. There is nothing that says “I’m not keeping up with my business” more than a sale notice that passed a month or two ago.

Contemporary Website

Make sure your website looks contemporary and clean. Your website, like your home, can look outdated by using old design with a standard table formatted menu bar, double underlined words and non-device friendly design. An outdated website says to your clients that you are outdated and don’t really care.

Professional Logo

A professional logo speaks volumes about how serious you are about your business. When you display your logo use it on every page of your website and ensure that it links back to the home page of your site. Use it on all your social networks to keep your identity consistent. You can purchase reasonably priced logo’s at places like 123RF.com.

 User Friendly Design

If your page doesn’t load quickly and users are disappointed by broken links or icons, images and text that look like links but don’t go anywhere your customers are not likely to revisit your website. Flash programming and pop-up ads may seem like a good way to draw attention but in the long run they can create slow loading pages and delays for your customers. Flash is also not SEO or mobile friendly. If your website is hosted by us your site is running on one of the fastest platforms available which will create a great experience for your customers.

Mobile Friendly

Surfing the Web using mobile technology  is now more popular than ever. In fact  nearly a quarter of Web traffic comes from mobile devices. But the majority of websites still aren’t optimized for mobile devices. You can see how your website looks on many different platforms using our favorite tool, Screenfly.

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