A lot goes into creating the perfect website for a small business. One of the most overlooked problems is not what many people expect. It’s missing pieces of information.
A lot of people know they need a great design that is functional and mobile friendly. What expert businesspeople and website designers often forget is information. They leave out both basic information and proven digital marketing techniques for websites.
Adding this information is often very easy and doesn’t effect the cost of a business’ website. It’s just a matter of knowing what information is important.
You need to have the items that consumers in your target market are looking for. And you also need the items that ensure your maximize the return on investment (ROI) from your website.
1. Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP)
This basic information is critical. It helps customers on your website get in touch with you. And it also helps with the search engine optimization (SEO) for your website. Without this information you’ll be missing out on a lot of potential business.
Why NAP Helps Website Visitors
If you are a business, you want to make it as easy as possible for your website visitors to learn more about your business and become customers. One easy and important way to do this is by displaying important contact information like your address and phone number.
The phone number is great for people who have a question they need answered, but can’t be found on your website. If your a brick and mortar store, the physical address helps customers find you in real life. Even if you’re 100% online, the physical address is important. It conveys trust that you’re a real company.
You should place this information in conspicuous locations on your website. Two popular places to display your contact information is in the footer and on a Contact Us page. If at all possible, we highly recommend doing both.
Businesses that are super focused on lead generation often include their phone number in even more places. For example, they may have their phone number in the header or in a prominent area above-the-fold on the homepage.
Another tip is to make all of your phone numbers click-to-call links. This allows mobile visitors to click the phone number and directly dial your number. This makes it super easy for people on their phone to reach your business.
If you know how to add links on your website, it’s not much different. A normal link URL looks like this:
https://www.kapokmarketing.com. A click-to-call link URL will look like this:
tel:7272145844. If you’re still having trouble you may need to have a web developer help you out.
Why NAP Helps Website SEO
Having correct business NAP information on your website is also a huge component of being successful with local SEO. That is because one factor for ranking higher for local companies is matching local citations elsewhere on the Internet.
How do local citations and the NAP information on your website work together? The local citations need to match the NAP information on your website. This is how the search engine can give you credit for the citation.
The more citations you have the better for your local SEO in theory. There are of course countless other SEO factors, so having hundreds of citations doesn’t guarantee success. This is especially true if you are in competitive industry.
It’s also important to note that the best practice is to have your location citations exactly match the information on your website. This means being as consistent as possible with each piece of information.
Our company is Kapok Marketing and our website says that. We wouldn’t want to call ourselves Kapok Marketing Services and Solutions on Yelp. Our address on our website is 447 3rd Ave N, Suite 300. It wouldn’t be wise to list ourselves in Yelp as being located at 447 North Third #300.
Does that mean minor inconsistencies like using Ste instead of Suite will hurt your business? Probably not, but the more exact the better. Try to correct obvious mistakes first.
The most crucial time to update this information is when you first start your business or when you move. In these scenarios you will want to proactively create or update your citations on the big sites like Google My Business, Facebook, Yelp, etc. If you want more citations you may want to consider a service that adds or updates your information around the Internet.
2. Other Critical Business Information like Hours of Operation
NAP isn’t the end of important information your existing and potential customers might be looking for. People also want to easily access other information that is critical to interacting with your business.
One perfect example is your hours of operations. No one wants to spend time walking or driving to a business only to find they’re closed. This is especially true if your business has non-standard hours of operations.
If your restaurant is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, you absolutely need to note this on your website. It’s bad news if a customer spends a lot of time getting to your establishment only to find you are closed when the customer thinks you should be open. You may have lost that customer forever.
Speaking of restaurants, you also want to make sure you have an up-to-date menu available on your website. There are plenty of important pieces of information that are dependent on your type of business. Here are just a few to give you some more ideas:
- Fields of specializations for doctors, lawyers, and other professionals.
- Makes or lines you carry for car, motorcycle, boat and other vehicle dealers.
- Manufacturers or brands you service for auto, appliance, and other repair shops.
- Areas you service for real estate agents, home builders, plumbers, electricians, and other professionals that work in the field.
Think of the most common pieces of information a potential customer needs to decide if you can help them with their problem. All of these should be on your website. It will save you and visitors to your website time.
3. A Compelling Call-to-action
You can have all the right information on your website, and still not be successful with your website. How is that possible? You need something to tell the visitor what to do next and why. This is called a call-to-action, because you are calling, or telling, the visitor to take an action.
Without a call-to-action, the visitor is left to wonder your website. This is most important on your homepage, because the visitor has just arrived and is the least familiar with your business and your website. For that reason you want to make it super clear and obvious what to do next.
Your call-to-action should be simple and straightforward. It can be simple like Subscribe, Get Started or Join. It can also be a little longer like Subscribe Now, Join for a Free Trial, or Send Me the Deal Right Now.
Now, you can’t just add a link or a button with an action word like Join and expect people to click. You need to also tell them why or what they will get. This could include your unique selling proposition (USP).
You might also include a little bit more information about what they get if they act. For example a Join for a Free Trial button could be accompanied by “Get one month of free stuff (up to $499 value). Cancel anytime with one click!”
The extra copy should sell your visitor on the benefits of your product or service and mitigate any obvious objections. The benefit of our free trial is free stuff. We’ve also mitigated the fear most people have of subscriptions that it will be hard to cancel by saying “Cancel anytime with one click!”
4. Pricing Information
This is sensitive topic for some business owners, but we have to bring it up. You should have exact pricing information on your website. If you absolutely refuse, you must at least have pricing guidance on your website.
Let’s go over the top two objections right away. The first is that if customers know the price they won’t buy. The second is that competitors will find out your pricing information.
The idea that a customer doesn’t know or can’t find out how much your product or service costs is an antiquated notion. Literally everything is online now. If the pricing information is not on your website, the customer will find this information on reddit, Quora, a review site or worst of all a competitor’s website.
The only thing you are doing by hiding your prices is confusing customers. Worse yet, you are encouraging them to look for the information elsewhere. If they wind up on another site that favors or is your competition, this customer might get sold on them before even talking to you.
As for your competition, if they are savvy businesses they already know your prices. They did market research early on by researching online. They may have even requested a quote directly or used a straw buyer of sorts to get more information.
If they are not good business people, then it likely doesn’t even matter if they know your pricing information. They may not even look on your website or care to know. In this case, you also have nothing to lose.
That is why it’s best to get the information out early to your potential customers. This way they can make an educated decision about if your product or service is a good fit for them. It also gives you an opportunity to explain why your product is worth what is costs.
5. Pictures and Video
You can’t just explain in words to your website visitors. You need to show people your product or service with photos and video. People want to see what you have to offer. Photos and video provide an engaging and stimulating way to catch and keep people’s attention.
One of the top metrics to watch on your website is the bounce rate. This is the percentage of people who land on your website and view only one page. Many of your bounces are likely hitting the back arrow as soon as they see your website.
A high bounce rate means your website is not engaging or relevant to the website visitor. You can help mitigate this by being engaging early on. Videos are the ideal way to do this. If you’re opposed to video, photos are your next best option.
With video you get the most bang. Brafton found that pages with video have a 34% lower bounce rate than other pages. That’s a great reason to add some videos to your website, especially on important pages like your homepage.
Another missed opportunity we see with a lot of businesses is a lack of testimonials on their actual website. The businesses may have tons of killer reviews on Google or Facebook, but they don’t have any on their website.
If you’ve earned those testimonials you want to get the most out of the them. You can copy those testimonials directly from other platforms, and use them on your website. This is the fastest way to showcase that people trust you on your website.
If you’re not already getting testimonials on review sites, ask some of your best customers to leave you a review. Also integrate the process of asking into your sales process. Whenever a customer is satisfied it’s a great opportunity to ask them to post a review on Google or Facebook.
Another tip is to ask for a video testimonial. Ideally this would be one of your best customers and someone who is charismatic yet relatable when being filmed. You can embed this video testimonial somewhere on your website. People love video, and the testimonial is more relatable when you can see the person.
Some business owners think testimonials are a waste of time, because customers think they are fake or staged. The truth is some are fake, but they are still important.
You just need to make yours looks genuine. The easiest way to do that is with a real customer who is super satisfied. And it’s worth it when you do it well. A survey by BrightLocal in 2017 found that 72% of consumers take action after reading a positive review.
7. A Lead Magnet
You’ve likely seen free PDFs and eBooks often for free on websites in exchange for your email address. Love them or hate them, these are lead magnets and they often work really well.
If you have something free yet valuable that you can offer on your website, it’s a great way to hook a potential customer. It’s really a fair exchange if you think about it, you are giving them some information they can actually use and in exchange they’re letting you contact them in the future about your product or service that may help them even more.
They key with lead magnets is to offer something that is both education for the consumer and relevant to the product or service you offer. You also need to be transparent about what you re providing them and what you will do with their contact information.
There is no quicker way to lose trust with a potential customer then to start spamming them constantly or by selling their information to a third-party. Just stick to a sales funnel that is clear and makes sense for everyone involved.
Information Most Often Missing on a Small Business Website
It can be hard to make sure your website has all of the information it needs. It’s especially tough when it’s your first website. You want to ensure your small business benefits from your website, but you don’t always know the best practices. You also are biased, because you already know everything about your business.
Designing, developing, and writing copy for a website is like any other professional skill. It’s honed over time, and you learn something new every time you do it. For that reason, it can be tough to think of everything the first time.
These often missed pieces of information should help you get started. Some of them may seem obvious, but when you already know everything about the business it can be hard to think of what other people may not know.
This isn’t a set it and forget situation either. Remember to keep your website content up to date. If any of this information changes, it’s critical that you update your website to reflect the latest and most accurate information about your business.
Did we miss something you often find missing on small business websites? Have an experience, either as a business owner or a consumer? Let us know in the comments!