I often help small businesses as they’re preparing to expand by adding a new facility or an additional service when they realize they need a website. I’ve been working with a local healthcare provider who told me that they needed “just a static website.” I fought my urge to gasp in horror and say, “Oh, no. We don’t do static websites.”
The client likely thought that just putting their information in a brochure format online would suffice for their potential clients to find them. So, why have a website? Just give your customers a brochure and business card! Well, the answer is that EVERY business needs a website. Unless you have so much business that you don’t need to attract any new clients.
A website is one of the first things that potential clients want to review before they do business with you is to look at your website to find out more about your business. It’s your brand’s first impression. So, don’t make it your last impression. Here’s is a quick overview of what your website needs to have to make a great first impression on your customers.
Your website must be easy to navigate on all devices
Gone are the days when we logged onto our desktop computer at home whenever we wanted to learn more about a company. Most people are using their smartphones and devices to look up all types of businesses from restaurants and urgent care clinics to B2B services.
Your website needs to be responsive. A responsive website means that your website has a consistent experience on desktop, tablet, and mobile. In 2018, more than 50% of website visits were from mobile devices. That number is likely even greater today. Depending on the type of business you have, mobile visitors may be as high as 90%.
Many website templates are made to be responsive and adapt to the type of device your visitors are using. So, make sure you’re asking your web developer about the mobile experience first.
Serve engaging content
Website visitors are looking for information that will solve a problem they have. They want to learn more about how your business may be able to fulfill that need. Organize your website in a way that makes sense for your audience. You should have a page about your company and your team. Include at least one page about your services and who you work with.
In addition to the standard pages on your website, you’ll also want to educate your audience on what you do and the importance of it by creating new content on a consistent basis. Content can come in many forms including- written blog articles, images, infographics, downloadable brochures, surveys, videos or podcasts. When used properly, this content can be served on your responsive website in a way that will engage your potential customers and give credibility to the work that you do.
Give visitors a way to contact you
Make it easy for your customers to get in touch with you. Feature a map of where you’re located with your address, phone number and email address. You can also provide an easy-to-use web form that asks for minimal information from visitors, like name, email and phone number. The more you ask visitors to fill out, the less likely they are to complete it, so be careful not to go overboard on asking for information that they may not be ready to share.
Your website should be easy to find on search engines
So, you’ve built an easy-to-navigate website and the business should just start flooding in, right? Nope. The website design is only half the battle of getting found online. One of the most important things to consider is how people will find you as they’re searching for your services online. This process is called SEO for search engine optimization. This is a completely different topic on its own, which is why there are businesses that are devoted to SEO. One of the first things you’ll need to do is to make sure your business is listed on Google Business. This will ensure that you show up on Google Maps and in the search engine listings. You should also register with Apple Maps and any other directories that are relevant in your industry. Yelp is becoming another go-to directory, not only for restaurants, but also for health care, and all sorts of services.
Remember in the last paragraph when we talked about adding new content to your website on a consistent basis? The reason for that consistent content is that search engines want to see that your website is being maintained and is relevant to your audience’s search. Think of it as your digital storefront. If people walking by your storefront see the same items for months or years, then they will stop looking in your window. The same goes for your website. If the content never changes, search engines will not be as likely to serve up your website on search engine results.
Your website should be optimized with title tags and headlines that make sense for what your audience is searching for. For instance, if your business is a men’s barbershop, that title should be used as a heading on your home page so that your website is served when people are looking for a barbershop in Google, Bing or other search engines.
These are just the top four things you should be considering when building your website. There are many other SEO tactics you should be paying attention to in 2021.
The best advice I can give is to consult a professional to build and optimize your website if web design isn’t your top skillset.
About the Author
Stacey Harrison is the lead brand strategist and designer at Heart & Hustle Brands and has provided creative direction for healthcare, industrial, and financial services brands for 20 years. She started Harrison Creative Group in 2017 to serve businesses that need a professional brand image on a budget. In 2021, the company rebranded to Heart & Hustle Brands to walk in the shoes of clients that experience a change of name or brand refresh.