8 Things Every Small Business Website Needs in 2012

Image of Business Website Online

When it comes to gaining new customers, your website can make or break you. Most businesses already have a website, and assume their current setup will be good enough.

With budgets tight, how can you be sure that you aren’t missing a critical piece of the online puzzle? Well lucky for you I can tell you a few things that most great business sites have in common.

Below I outline 8 essential parts of a good small business website, along with brief explanations for each one.

Hopefully after reading it you’ll have a better understanding of how to implement these tips on your website. Keep in mind that website optimization never really stops, it’s an ongoing process!

8 Steps to a Good Business Website

1. Social Media Links

Your customers are spending more time than ever on social networks, so be sure you reach out to them on Facebook, Twitter, and wherever else they might be. At the very least, I would recommend linking to your Facebook page for some easy “likes” and fan engagement.

2. Mobile Website

It’s no secret you need a mobile website, yet recent data has shown most businesses have yet to add this critical piece to their websites. Be timely and relevant by updating to a new mobile website asap. Not having a mobile friendly site can be a deal breaker for some customers.

3. Quality Incoming Links

You’ve probably heard somebody mention links at one point or another, and for good reason. Search engines like Google and Bing still largely base their rankings off links, and that isn’t going away anytime soon. Submitting your business to large local websites like Superpages, DexKnows, and Yelp is a great place to start!

4. Contact Information

What good is it to have customers find your business online if they can’t contact you? Make sure you have a phone number listed in an easy to find place, and offer your location and email address in the footer as well.

5. Clear Heading

One of the first things people do when they land on a website is try to determine what it’s about. A clear, easy to read heading is a perfect way to let visitors know exactly where they are. The internet can be such a fast paced environment, don’t ever assume a person landing on your site has the foggiest clue about who you are and what you do.

6. Site Description

In addition to a clear heading, a good business description is key to keeping potential customers on your website, and interested in what you have to offer them. Ask friends, family, or anyone you can find to check out your home page. Use that feedback to determine if your message is clear enough for the average person to get in less than 30 seconds.

7. Lots of Good Content

The most important thing outside of links is good quality content. While some people will only see your home page, that doesn’t mean you should ignore the rest of your website. Just like a business has many pieces, so does a good site. Add pages specific to each part of your business, and make those pages as detailed as possible.

8. Images and Video

YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world behind Google. Enough said, right? Customers don’t just want to read about you anymore, they want to watch videos, view images, and find out as much as they can. Invest in some great photography and awesome videos. You won’t regret it.

Comments

  1. Maneet Puri says

    Nice Post! These 8 steps are some of the most essential steps that lead to an active business website. However, I would like to add that popular search engines like Google recommend a responsive web design for your website. A responsive web design makes sure that your website is a hit amongst the audience you wish to target. I totally agree with you that Optimization is a continuous process, which never ends!

  2. says

    Sure the steps you mention are good, but some of them are difficult to follow, for example, good content, most of small business doesn’t have a budget to hire a writer to elaborate his content, another problem is that social media can be overwhelming, especially when picking out the platform to choose. Also, because you have to take a time to publish information on all your social networks and most of the time you don’t know what to publish to help your business.

    • Marion JacobsonMarion Jacobson says

      Good points! I think small businesses are focused on the right things. And, increasingly, they are outsourcing for their marketing needs. We often hear “I don’t have the time to manage a Facebook page, or build up my blog. Can’t you do it for me?”

    • Shawn Wentworth says

      You really dont have to spend that much time writing content. Perhaps a few minutes a day. The key is to write or blog what you know, whether its products, the industry itself, specific tools, new markets, old markets pros and cons, the days events or customer feed back. Make it real and your own.

      Also, WordPress is a free medium (you just have to pay for the hosting) where you can develop your own look and feel for a blog space and link it to your web page and vice versa. Here is where you put in those little buttons for people to share, follow and give you +1’s. Your customers spread your word for you. Gather emails and when you do promotional compaigns, put that blog in a P.S.

      Hope this helps.

      • Marion JacobsonMarion Jacobson says

        Hey thanks for your comment Shawn!

        And I agree with you, self-hosted WordPress blogs are my choice for small businesses.

  3. says

    Good list all but the Yelp and YP.com side of it. Those are now hurting your website organic results rather then helping the. The whole “conspiracy” behind Yelp taking money to “bump your negative reviews” down. The other problem with Yelp is that its at their discretion as to who they place and where you rank. Google no longer agrees with this method. They want to be the top-dog, and of course why should they not be. Hence why another person said “google places”.

    Although I fully agree and support #3 again, I do not agree some of the websites you listed. As they hurt more then help your rankings.

    But again other then that Spot on! Great list and even though what we know today can change tomorrow for now this list is true.

  4. Keith Brown says

    I disagree that links from Yelp, YP.com or any other “trusted” website would hurt organic rankings. Google may not rank those website as highly anymore (for example it may demote URL yelp.com/your-business/ so that Google places results show up higher) but a link from Yelp will still help your website in the long run. This list is all about activities that will help your website gain more visibility. Your theory is to give up great backlinks because they are competing with Google?

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