Local Business Owners: Do you already have a website? Do you wish it would look better or rank better or convert more leads?
As a local web designer and SEO, I see a lot of businesses making a lot of mistakes with their websites. That’s a shame because I talk to these business owners and I know how much $$$ they’re spending to have their website done. And, if it isn’t doing anything to drive new business, then we’re talking about a lot of wasted money and effort.
In this blog post I’ll give you 4 things that are missing from many small business websites. Fix these (or forward the list over to your web designer) and I think you’ll see a significant change in how visitors interact with your website.
What’s missing from your website? Keep reading.
#1: The exact purpose of your website displayed front and center.
You work at your business every day. You know exactly what products or services you provide and what they’re good for. So it’s easy to make the assumption visitors to your website will have that basic knowledge as well. But, a lot of the time they don’t. That’s why the first thing they need to see when visiting your website is the exact product or service you provide.
Some examples of this could be:
“The #1 Discount Furniture Warehouse in Crystal Lake, IL”
“Woodstock Chiropractor – We Restore Your Body to Optimum Health. Naturally.”
“Social Media Management and Web Design with Local Presence.” (That’s our headline BTW).
Two websites that do an excellent job of telling the visitor exactly what they do are Native Deodorant and MailChimp:
What do they sell? Deodorant. What’s different about it? It “Isn’t a Chemistry Experiment.” Their target demographic will know exactly why that’s important and what they can expect from the product.
Same thing with MailChimp:
MailChimp helps you build your brand and sell more stuff. The world’s largest marketing automation platform. If you’re looking to market your business and sell more, you’ll see that headline and probably dig deeper to learn more.
Aren’t those website headings easy to understand?
You want your website to be just as clear for your visitors. You want them to know immediately what they’re getting by doing business with you.
Another reason a website heading with the exact purpose of your business is so important is SEO. If you want your website to be found then the search engines (e.g. Google) should be able to read identifying text within the first heading of your site. It should also be in your meta title, meta description and H1 tag but we can cover that in another post because those types of technical pieces can be difficult to understand if you’re not already somewhat familiar.
#2: A Clear Call to Action (CTA) for your website visitors.
Believe it or not, people like to be told what to do. At least, they want to know what’s expected of them or what their next step is. This is why you have to make sure your website has a clear Call to Action.
This is obviously the Banner for my company. I want you to know that I do Social Media Management and Website Design. I also want you to know your exact next step if you want to move forward and work with me.
Do you see the Call to Action? Those 2 big, green buttons layout the 2 options. If you’re already a client, you can login to the Client Portal. If you’re not already a client, I want you to hit the button and Book your Strategy Call.
And it’s not just that I want you to book a strategy call with me. If you like my website and need the services offered, that’s just what makes sense to do. The next step is to book a free call so we can go over your strategy. IT should be very simple for you to know that next step so I put it front and center.
Here’s an example of another website that does the same thing:
Evernote. If you want what they have, it just makes sense to SIGN UP FOR FREE. They tell you exactly what they want you to do and they give you a clear next step – a Call to Action.
So what is your business’ call to action? Book an appointment? Get an estimate? Call now?
Whatever it is, make sure your website visitors can easily take that next step towards using your product or service. Have a clear CTA.
#3: Vital, 'top of mind' information easily accessible within 1-2 website clicks.
What does that mean? Essentially, you have to know the 1-2 key pieces of information your customer is looking for and then display that information in a way they can easily access it within 1-2 clicks.
For example, if your business is a Pizza Parlor, what are the 1-2 key pieces of information a customer would be looking for? If it’s dinner time, they’re probably looking for your hours of operation and your phone number so they can call in an order. MAKE SURE THEY CAN FIND THOSE THINGS IMMEDIATELY!
If they can’t find your phone number quickly, or be able to tell if you’re still open, they’ll bounce off your site and go to the next pizza place on the list. It happens in seconds.
Maybe your customers need to find your services offered or pricing or the menu. Whatever it is, make it super easy to find.
Place phone numbers in the top of the header, put your menu page in the navigation bar, put directions to your facility in an obvious place on the Contact page. Again, make the most important website information easy to find.
Here’s a good example of a pizza place with easy to find contact information:
#4: Basic Local SEO. Really, really basic Local SEO.
SEO (short for Search Engine Optimization) is a hugely important factor in getting your website found. SEO is the technical work that helps your website get found by Google. SEO tells Google what your website is about and who to show it to.
Miss your basic Local SEO and you miss your opportunity to get found by potential customers using the search engines.
When someone types in a search term related to what your business offers, you need to make sure you’ve taken the steps to have your website show up somewhere on the 1st page – preferably in the top 3 listings.
This is by far the most difficult of the 4 points we’re covering in this post. That’s because SEO is very technical. SEO requires that you make changes on the back-end of your website, tweak certain pieces of code, research the top keyword phrases your customers are typing into the search engines when looking for your service and a lot of other things. If you really want to maximize your website’s ranking in the search engines, this is one of those pieces you may want to outsource. However, let me give you a couple simple things you can do right away to help your website get found:
List your key service or product offering at the top of your home page. Then wrap it in what’s called an H1 tag (Google it. Most website platforms allow you to do this very easily.). This tells the search engines what your website is about so they know who to show it to.
Along with the H1 tag, you want to write a meta description for your website. This is the text that will display in the search engines right below the title of your website:
The meta description is a very important part of Local SEO that tells the search engines more about what your website is about and which keywords to match it up with. Obviously, I want my website to rank high when people search for “Social Media Marketing,” so I make that phrase prominent in my meta description.
A last quick point here is to mention what your business’ product or service very early in your home page – in the first 200 words. Whatever is top-most on the page will get the most notice from the search engines. And that will help you get ranked.
Admittedly, it was a little unfair to end this blog with a complex topic like Local SEO, but it really is an element that you can’t be missing from your website. It isn’t impossible and it will do wonders for getting your business in front of more people.
I’ll make a point of writing a full follow-up post just on this topic in the near future. Also feel free to contact me directly if you need some help improving your SEO. We’d be glad to assist.
Small changes will make a huge difference. Try out the 4 Tips in this blog and leave a comment below. Let us know what questions you have, what’s working for you and what’s not.
Your website can be your totally reliable, 24/7 salesperson. Make sure you give it all the right tools to succeed!
If you could only change one thing about your marketing, what would it be?
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