Your website is critical to your business and your brand. Nearly every prospective customer or client will spend time on your website before buying from you or using your services. Studies show that 85% of customers check a business online before making a purchase.

7 Must-Haves for Your Small Biz Website

Here’s everything your small business website needs:

1. Identify your business

This is very basic, but your domain name should closely match your business name. Your business name and logo if you have it should be clear at the top of your site. People look for this in the top left or top center position. Your site should reflect your visual identity using the colors, fonts and imagery style that are part of your brand.

How to get it right

Use a consistent name, colors and visual elements so that people immediately recognize they are at the right website.

2. Clear value proposition

What you do, and how your product or service would help the website viewer should be completely clear. 

How to get it right

Spend the time and effort to get your headline and any visuals or words at the top of your site just right. Keep trying new words and phrases until it’s succinct, understandable, and compelling.

3. Contact information

It’s so basic, but make sure any relevant contact information is easy to find. If you see customers at a brick & mortar location include your physical address and you may want to include a map. 

How to get it right

Share whatever contact channels your prospects prefer. If they like to call, make your phone number visible. If email is the best way to communicate, create a form that initiates an email. Most sites should have, at minimum, a contact form.

4. Call to action (CTA)

What do you want someone to do when they go to your website? Some sites are e-commerce enabled and you hope someone buys directly from your site. For many services, you don’t buy from the website. Your prospects who visit the site might be pushed to ‘request a quote’ or ‘book a free call.’ 

How to get it right

Choose just one CTA and use it as a button. You can repeat this same button multiple times on a page if your web page is long. Make sure it’s always easy to find your CTA button by choosing a color that is bright and has high contrast. Make sure it’s clear what’s going to happen when someone clicks the button.

5. Show me or tell me who your ideal client is

When your ideal client shows up at your website, you want them to immediately picture themselves using your products or services. Depending on the type of business you have, you can use photographs of people to suggest the age, gender, etc. of your typical clients. Or, you may use words that describe the traits or feelings that your ideal client is experiencing. 

How to get it right

People love to see photos of people. So photos of real customers or stock photos of people who look like your real clients can make your site engaging. But, it can also exclude people. If you work with a wide range of people—people of different ages, ethnicities, body types, etc. make sure that you show this diversity on your site. 

Or, don’t use photos of people, use words that they can relate to. Good copywriting can emotionally pull someone in and have them feel like ‘you get me.’

6. Details about your products or services

Your website is going to need more than just a headline, but this is the area that tends to go awry when you build your site. This is where you have to really organize your content and decide how many pages your website will have. Don’t make your site look like a flea market where you just display everything you do in an unorganized way.

How to get it right

Think about the navigation—how many pages will you have and what content goes on each page. Then think about the order and put the most important information at the top of the page. 

If you are selling directly through the site, you may need a lot of detail to get someone to buy from you. If your site is more brochure-style then don’t use too much content. Simpler will be better.

7. Validation

Prospects want validation to trust that you know what you’re doing and that what you say about your products or service will really be true. Mostly they want to read and hear about other people who you’ve helped and their results.

How to get it right

There are a few common ways to demonstrate that you know what you’re doing:

  • Customer testimonials. Getting written or video testimonials from previous clients really puts people at ease.
  • Portfolio samples or case studies. Depending on the type of business you may be able to share examples of your previous work as visual samples, or written case studies.
  • Logos from prominent clients. Another way to show that you’ve worked with reputable clients is to show their logo on your website. If you have permission and have well-known brands as clients, show off their logos.

Other important website content for service-based businesses

7 Must-Haves for Your Small Biz Website

If you provide a professional service like you’re a coach, consultant, or freelance professional you’ll want to include:

  • An ‘about’ or bio. This can be its own page or a section of a larger page. People want to know who they’ll be working with, or hiring. They want to know about your expertise and experience which can be covered by detailing your education and work history. They also want a sense of your personality or what it will be like to work with you. This can come through by talking about hobbies and family and also by the tone of voice.
  • A headshot or photo of you. If you’re a solopreneur you’ll want to show at least one photo of yourself. If you have a team, they should be included, too. People want to know who they will be working with.

Are these website features worth it?

7 Must-Haves for Your Small Biz Website

There are so many other things you can add to your website and each of these items can have value. Remember that each one takes time to develop and manage so make sure it’s worth the effort. 

Other common website features:

  • Blog. A blog is a great way to show thought leadership and increase relevant keywords on your site so it’s good for SEO. But it takes a lot of time to continually write posts, and an abandoned blog is worse than no blog.
  • News. This is very similar to a blog. Only add it to your site if you’ll keep it up to date and it will be valuable to your website readers.
  • Social media links and feeds. If you’re active on one or more social media channels then include the links. Directly pulling in feeds from Twitter or Instagram is possible but can frequently stop working correctly if there are updates to your website or social platforms.
  • Links and resources. Many small business owners like to be helpful by providing useful links to other sites, PDFs, etc. But remember that most people rely on Google, not your site to research. So only do this if you have very hard-to-find resources.

You’re better off having a simple site, even just one page, with a clear message and polished design.

75% of people judge a company’s credibility based on its website, so it’s important to get it right.

7 Must-Haves for Your Small Biz Website

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