When preparing to create a website for your local business, you want to follow the basic rules of the road or the so called best practices. Failing to do these things can really limit the power and usefulness of your website and thereby hurt your business.
Keep in mind why your website exists, who you want to visit your website, and what you want your website to do for your business. For most business owners, your website exists to help market your business. You want qualified potential customers to visit your website, and you want your website to educate those visitors on why your product or service will help them.
Local Business Website Best Practices
Let’s take a look at exactly what sort of things will help most local business websites. Keep in mind these are best practices. If something doesn’t work for your business or website, try to think of what would be the next best thing to do. The same is true if something is outside your budget; think about how you can do something similar within your budget.
1. Have a Clear Call to Action (CTA)
When you create a website you may be thinking about a number of different factors. Above all else, you need to keep in mind what you are trying to convince people to do. The main vehicle that you use to attract people to this is with a call to action (CTA). The CTA is what calls the visitor to click or otherwise engage with your page to pursue an action.
One mistake we see almost as often as no CTA, is multiple competing CTAs on the homepage. You have to be extraordinarily careful here, because too many choices can paralyzed people. People want to make choices, but even with a single CTA on your homepage visitors still have several choices. They could leave your website, they could continue reading that page, or they could engage with your CTA.
2. Speak to Only Your Target Audience
Another super important thing to remember is to actively ignore or dissuade people who are not in your target audience. This can be difficult for some people to wrap their heads around, because they think the more people who use or engage with their website the better. However, since these people are their target audience, they almost never buy from you.
Once you realize this, you can become laser focused on speaking to your ideal potential customers. Even if what you say may cause others to leave your website, it will draw the right people deeper and deeper into your website. This will make them more likely to buy from you.
A perfect example of this is disclosing prices on your website. Some people think fewer people will visit their store or contact them if they know the prices. They think if people see the prices too soon, those people will run. Or they’ll sell people in person or on the phone, and price will become less important. The truth is those people who are scared by the price were never going to buy.
The idea of hiding prices is an antiquated notion that has been disproved by studies. This is especially true with the increasing amount of information available on the Internet. If someone can’t find the price on your website, they will search on Google to find it. And that just gives your competition a chance to sell to that person as they research pricing information.
Sometimes this can be tough if you have a complicated product or service that can be customized or is sold on a quote to order basis. In these cases, you may have to give people ranges and explain your pricing model in more detail.
This is something that we’ve done for website pricing, and are still working on for some of other our services. So we know it can be a daunting task to explain pricing for a product or service that has a lot of complexity. But we think it’s worth it, and we will continue to improve in this area.
3. Hire an Expert to Help
There is a lot of information on how to get a website for your local business. Some DIY website builder companies like Wix even run TV commercials explaining how easy it is to create a website. These website builders are great if your on a budget and your the type of business owner who wants to do everything yourself or in-house.
But the reality is that most business owners are experts in the business industry they are in and probably not expert website designers or online marketers. For example, a chef-owner that runs an amazing restaurant probably doesn’t do freelance web design. He or she is an expert in food and the restaurant industry.
Conversely, most website designers are not amazing chefs. When a website designer doesn’t have enough time and energy to cook or they want an amazing meal, they visit a restaurant. So if you want an amazing website for your business, which you should, you should hire an expert to help you get that done correctly. The price you pay for that website will be well worth it in terms of increased business you receive.
4. Have a Content Marketing Plan Ready
Just as important as having a great looking website, you also need to keep the content fresh and engaging for a number of reasons. The best way to handle this is to create a content marketing strategy for your website.
Your content marketing strategy will include a detailed plan about the content that will keep your website up-to-date. It includes things like the types of content you need to create, how often you need to create content, who will create your content, and how that content will be promoted.
Having great content on your website gives people a reason to keep returning to your website. This increase the authority of your company as a leader in your respective industry, reminds potential customers that you exist, and encourages repeat customers to return for more. Content also serves double duty as a tool for improving your search engine optimization (SEO).
5. Keep Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in Mind
SEO can be a very confusing topic even for many people in the marketing industry, because it’s constantly changing and evolving. It’s also one of the top places that people waste money on digital marketing, so do your homework before you buy an SEO package that sounds too good to be true.
When creating a website for your business, you mainly need to focus on on-site (or on-page) SEO. This is in contrast to off-site SEO, which is another topic that is important. But it doesn’t really involve anything you do in terms of your website design, development, or content.
As we mentioned earlier, content is an important piece of the puzzle, but it’s certainly not the only thing to keep in mind in terms of on-site SEO with your website. There are certainly technical details that need to be taken into consideration. For example, you also need to have a website structure that includes good internal linking practices. This is where certain pages link to other pages on your own website in a strategic way.
You also want to make sure you have your correct business name, address, and phone number. This works in concert with an important off-page SEO strategy that involves local citations. These citations have to match that same name, address, and phone number. So it’s critical that you get this information right on your website.
6. Make it Clear How to Reach You
Having your contact information clearly and correctly displayed on your website is not just great for SEO, it also allows makes it easier for people to contact your business. This may seem obvious, but we’ve all been to a website where it’s seemly impossible to find a way to get in touch with the business. This is one of the easiest ways to lose potential customers.
You should make it as easily as possible for people to reach your business. You should always have a contact page with every method someone could use to contact you. This includes your physical address, your mailing address if it’s different, and any phone numbers or email addresses. You can also include a contact form.
In your header, you should feature your phone number or a link to your contact page. You should probably also include some contact information in the footer. This makes it easier for people who’ve scrolled to the bottom of page to contact you, especially on mobile. Also make every instance of your phone numbers click to call links. This makes it even more convenient for mobile users to get in touch.
Get Started Creating Your Local Business Website
These are just a few of the most important things to keep in mind when creating a website for a local business. You obviously also want to have a good understanding of how website pricing works for local businesses.
Understanding pricing will help you decide if hiring someone is within your marketing budget and a good option for your business. It almost always is a good option, because having a website is not really optional as business anymore. Having a poorly designed website almost always costs more money than having it professional designed.
Once you get an amazing website for your local business, you can start taking full advantage of other digital marketing tactics to drive even more customers to your website and your business. You will likely also see a boost from existing campaigns, as a well-created website will have a higher conversion rate and drive more revenue.
Have a question about any of these best practices we mentioned? Or maybe you think we missed something that’s important. Let us know in the comments, and we’d be happy to discuss further.