A local business website is the first step to creating a substantial online presence. However, it’s dreadfully easy to make the wrong calls. Small businesses lose many resources when developing websites, failing to follow the best practices. With this in mind, we’ve prepared a list of the six site building practices to follow!
Websites have a central role in creating an online presence. Potential customers are likely to search for online information before heading to a restaurant or even shopping at an online store. A local business website will help visitors follow the path you want them to to adequately meet you.
While small businesses spend a lot of money on creating a website, often more needs doing. There are critical deficiencies in most small websites, from lack of information to ignoring proper Search Engine Optimization practices. Bright Vessel is here to help you create the site your brand deserves!
How to Improve a Local Business Website in 6 Steps
1. Get Your Info Out There
While your website is the first step toward connecting with customers, you should have more channels available. Each of these channels should be easily visible on your site:
- Add your contact information on every page of a local business website. Instead of hiding your email on the Contact Us page, leave it at the end of every page. Don’t make it difficult for customers to find alternative ways to locate you.
- Funnel customers through top priority channels. Keep in mind which is your preferred method of communication, and lead site visitors there. If you want them to visit you, have the address visible at all times, and so forth depending on the channel.
- Add widgets to social media sites. In this day and age, customers communicate with brands through a myriad of channels. Whatever social networks you’ve chosen to work with, ensure visitors are aware of them. Link to your Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
- Ensure you provide updated and consistent information. If you’ve changed addresses, your site should reflect it immediately. Also see that you’re checking the most popular listings for business, such as Yelp, TripAdvisor and Google Places. It’s critical to have a firm grasp of the info available on your activity on all fronts. Customers will know you’re serious if you’re making it easy for them to find you. Your online presence needs to be all-encompassing, covering every possible side.
2. Be Approachable
Your local business website should serve as a way for potential customers to clear all doubts. You don’t have to wait for them to show up on the doorstep or give you a call.
- Consider adding a live chat to your local business website. There are several services like LiveAgent that allow you to engage with site visitors at any time, answering visitors’ questions. It’s an excellent way to help build trust with the customer base.
- Put contact forms on your site. Let visitors add themselves to your lists, so they can ask questions or share concerns. Not only can you then provide custom answers to queries, but you’ll also have their information to let them know about future endeavors they may find interesting. Plus, you can sort contact forms by request type, which will make it easier for organization purposes.
3. Design an Appealing & Mobile-Friendly Website
Gone are the days when unpleasant-looking websites dominated the web. These days it’s necessary to provide a visually appealing experience to make a mark on the online world.
Investing on a web designer will not just make visitors want to stay longer; it’ll also make you look more professional. Having a professional working on your website’s image can help you build trust.
- Check that your local business website is error-free. We’ve all seen it happen: you go into a site, and some details make it difficult to navigate. The images are too heavy, broken links are everywhere, and there may even be text boxes with the wrong formatting. These are all avoidable faults and they make a lot of noise to visitors. Some might even leave because they find the website tedious.
- Avoid building the site on Flash. Although it’s visually appealing, the cons might be more significant than the pros. First, Flash doesn’t work on many mobile devices, which can make you lose out on the market of on-the-go shoppers. Also, search engines can’t read Flash pages, so all keyword work will be in vain. Generally speaking, the compatibility issues might be better suited for bigger companies that don’t need to focus on SEO. When you’re growing an online presence, it’s not the best move.
- Become mobile friendly. For years, there has been a growing trend: people increasingly perform shopping research on their smartphones and tablets. If your site doesn’t adapt to mobile well, you may be losing a lot of potential customers. According to a recent vSplash survey, almost 95% of small business sites don’t work well on mobile. Even if your mobile version isn’t as full as your desktop one, it’s crucial to have a presence for those coming from smaller devices.
4. Add Keywords Without Cluttering
A great SEO strategy is the first thing that will put your name on the map when it comes to an online presence. You need to touch base with customers and know what they’re searching for them to find you. There are many essential factors in building a local business website with SEO in mind, and many revolve around keywords.
- Research the right keywords. Write down the keywords that you think apply best to your products and services, and look into them in tools like Google AdWords and Google Trends. Track what’s trending in your field and work from there. While you may want to prioritize layman’s terms, you should also have keywords with technical jargon, as some visitors might know more about you’re offering.
- Incorporate your keywords throughout each page, but be mindful. Google doesn’t award overstuffing keywords anymore, and search engines nowadays look for a natural-sounding copy. Write your copy with the reader in mind, not Google. Adding a keyword in every other sentence will make your text look unnatural to visitors, and you won’t even get extra points with Google.
- Add each page’s specific keyword to your SEO title. Instead of repeating the content from your headline or merely the name of your business, customize each page. Have the page’s specific product or service be the star of the SEO title. Remember: SEO titles should be 70 characters, tops.
- Add your keywords to your slugs or page URLs. Having your keyword on the URL will make it easier for search engines to assert that you’re relevant for those particular search terms.
- Write meta descriptions including your focus keyword in a seamless and natural-sounding way.
- Your images and videos should also include your keywords. Although Google can’t read the pictures and videos of your local business website, it can read the filenames and descriptions. Once again, it’s vital to avoid overstuffing, but we encourage you to add your keyword to filenames and alt descriptions. For videos, tags should also feature the chosen keywords.
For WordPress websites, we highly recommend the Yoast SEO plugin, which can ease the way to set up keywords in the sections above.
5. Keep Your Content Updated
One of the best possible practices we can advise to anyone with a local business website: don’t neglect it! Managing a site is ongoing work, and it certainly doesn’t stop once you’ve gone live.
- Spice up your homepage. At least once a month, change your homepage to reflect what’s going on in your business. Whether you’re offering special sales during the month or releasing a product, it’s important that anything new takes center stage. Be sure to remove any deals, products or services that no longer apply: you don’t want your visitors purchasing an item you no longer have.
- Blog it away. The best way to keep your website always providing fresh content is by writing a blog. Here, you can update your visitors on products, deals, or even industry news. For example, if you run a business selling embroidery materials, this is the place to put patterns or DIY ideas. Besides providing exciting content to your visitors, a blog will help search engines establish you as an authority on the field. It’s also content to add to your social media. Just remember to update it regularly – we recommend between one and three times a week!
6. Become Friends with Google Analytics
Now that your local business website is up and running with the best practices, it’s time to track results. Unfortunately, most small businesses don’t know how to measure their website’s performance, lacking the knowledge on how to work on Google Analytics. Analytics is the best tool for site owners, as knowing the numbers can help them lead their site in the right direction, focusing and what works and scraping what doesn’t.
Some of the things you’ll be able to see through Analytics:
- The number of visitors coming to your site.
- What keywords lead them to you.
- From where are you getting visitors.
- The type of content that gets bigger responses.
Bright Vessel is located in Jupiter, Florida with clients all over the world. We’re leading in small business service for website design and marketing. Contact us to find out how we can work together!