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What Makes a Good Small Business Website

What Makes a Good Small Business Website?

In short, a good small business website is a website that helps make you sales. Unfortunately, for a lot of business owners this never happens. I often wonder why small business owners will spend $2k-$10k on a new website only to have it make them no sales.

Websites are not only sales machines, they can help your business in more indirect ways, but at the end of the day, if it’s not contributing to the bottom line of your business, it’s probably not an expense worth keeping. Let’s take a look at the difference between a website that becomes an asset for your small business and a website that cost you money and now just sits there.

Most web designers don’t understand sales psychology because most designers and developers are just that – designers and developers. They will tell you that having a pretty website is all you need and I would argue that isn’t true. Visuals are very important but they’re not enough.

If you’re like most small business owners, you do not have money to throw away on things that don’t help you reach your goals. Very often, when we’re looking to create new marketing material or design a new website we think we should look to the “big bosses,” the corporations like Apple and Tesla are massive companies so they must be doing something right. We should copy them! Wrong. Large corporations have money to burn. They’re not efficient with their cash because they don’t have to be. They can spend money making vague, artsy statements and odd commercials that go out to the masses because they they have millions and millions of dollars of marketing money that they can spend on “brand awareness.” My guess is that if you’re reading this blog, you don’t, and you need to be making more sales. So let’s leave Nike to Just Do It over in the corner and look instead at what works for small businesses.

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What Makes a Good Small Business Website Infographic

A good small business website needs to clearly state what you do

In the first couple seconds of landing on your site, a prospect needs to know exactly what it is that your company does. It’s obvious to you, but they don’t live inside your head and it’s amazing how often you have to read half way down the page before you can figure out exactly what someone actually does. Brene Brown says “clear is kind.” Cut the artsy bullshit. If you are a high-end furniture maker don’t say “Elevating Your Living Experience,” that could mean almost anything, are you an interior designer, a lighting technician, a life coach? Instead say, “Custom Furniture for Luxurious Living” It’s clear what you do (create custom furniture) and who it’s for (people who want to live luxuriously)

A good small business website needs to have a clear, repeated call to action

Go look at your website, is it clear exactly what action you want your prospect to take? On most websites, it’s not. You pump them full of information about why you started the business and why you’re passionate about what you do and you never once tell them what to do with that. The last thing you want is someone who is interested in handing their money over to you but can’t figure out how to move forward and just leaves instead. You need call to action buttons.

A “Call to Action” or CTA is exactly what it sounds like. You are calling the prospect to take some kind of action with you (please note, in most cases, “learn more” isn’t a great call to action because it’s vague, and they don’t want to expend energy to get educated about something.) On our website homepage it’s “Book a Call” because most of our packages are custom created based on what the client needs. On yours, depending on what you’re selling and how they buy it might be “shop now,” “get instant access” “start your free trial” etc. It should be clear and it should tell them what to expect when they click that button.

This CTA button should be repeated in almost every section of your website. It’s not pushy. They might not notice it the first 5 times they scroll past it, and the last thing you want is for them to finally decide they want to take action with you only to have lost the button. Put the button everywhere. It only seems repetitive to you because you’re already intimately familiar with your brand and your messaging. It’s new to them, give it time to sink in.

Oh look :eyes: a CTA…

Your Website Should Be Talking to One Person

I mean this both literally and metaphorically. When you’re creating a new website (or updating an old one) you need to be very clear on who you’re talking to. If you’re trying to talk to everyone, your message is going to get watered down. Speak to one type of person. Pick your niche, learn the lingo of the niche, talk to your niche. Now in the most literal sense, your website should be written as if you are talking directly to one singular person, because everyone who is reading it is, in fact, one singular person. (Other than the fact that we are all connected, but that discussion is outside the scope of this blog post teaching you how to create a website that works for your business.) Write it in second person. You are talking to your customer about your customer.

Talk About Your Customer’s Pain and Problems

This is often where people want to lean back and not engage, but leaning into this is the secret sauce. People buy to get out of pain, so they’re not going to spend money with you if you can’t show them that 1) you understand exactly what they’re going through and where it hurts and 2) how your service connects to solve that problem. You need to stir up and agitate the pain your customer is in and I understand that doesn’t always feel good when you’re writing it, but think of it like cleaning out a scrape before putting a bandaid on it. It hurts, but it will keep things from getting worse in the long run.

I’m writing this with the assumption that you are a good person with a good service to sell that genuinely cares about people and has something good to offer them that can make their life better. (If that’s not you, please to exit my blog now. No scammers allowed in the treehouse) If that’s true, then you need to talk about their pain before they can decide they need what you’re selling.

Don’t Be Afraid to Make Sales Through Your Website

At one point I had a client who looked at the first draft of their site and requested that I please make it “50% less salesy” 1) I have no clue what that means 2) why are you paying me to build you a site if it’s not there to make sales for your business? You would be amazed how many entrepreneurs are absolutely terrified of selling. Do you believe in your service? Does it help people solve a problem? Then why would you not do everything you can do get it in the hands of every single person you can? Don’t be afraid of sales. It’s the lifeblood of your company and also the mechanism that allows you to help the people that you serve.

A Good Website Talks More About Benefits Than Features

Features are the functions of your service or package, benefits are the way it’s going to positively affect your customer. For instance, some of the features of our website management and hosting package are:

  • SSL Certificate
  • 1.5 hours/month of client requested updates
  • Hosting on a fast server
  • Nightly Backups
  • WordPress/PHP/Theme/Plugin Updates
  • Security Monitoring
  • Our team on tap if there’s a problem or your website goes down

Helpful info, but by itself it’s a little dry and the prospect may not be able to connect it to the problems they’re facing. Some of the benefits of web management and hosting with ThriveHD are:

  • Peace of mind knowing that your site is secure and backed up
  • Your site always functioning at its best so you’re not losing customers due to technical issues
  • Hours (and tons of frustration) saved because you don’t have to wrestle with your website. Send a quick email and your new blog/podcast/event/update will be live 48 hours or less
  • No more tech headaches!

Can you see how that’s less dry? There’s nothing wrong with features but make sure you’re bringing the benefits in as well because they need to know how it’s going to impact them specifically.

What’s that, you say?? You’re tired of tech headaches and wasted hours and want to sign up for a web management package? 😉 Schedule a call here and let’s chat about that

A Good Small Business Website Needs to Give Your Prospect a Simple Plan to Follow

When someone is getting to know your brand and thinking of making a purchase with you they are staring down the barrel of the fear of the unknown. You can lessen this by giving them a 3 step plan for working with you. It’s simple but it helps people feel a little more in control because they know what to expect. Ours is:

1. Book a free discovery call

Get on our calendar and we will take the time to listen to your needs, put together a plan, and help you accomplish your goals.

2. We create your custom package

Every business has different needs, so after we’ve taken the time to listen to what you’re looking for we will put together a package of services just for you.

3. Get Unstuck

Bask in the joy of finally moving forward and feeling like your content matches your message. Get unstuck. Be Heard.

A Good Website Needs to Be Visually Beautiful and In Alignment With Your Brand

Now branding and visual design is a whole other topic that is very important and we have other blogs you can check out if you want to learn more about it, so I’ll keep it brief here. Your visuals need to enhance the message of the words on your site. They need to evoke feelings. Your colors, fonts, and design should speak to your target market or people are going to leave before you ever get the chance to say something (think the difference between Victoria’s Secret and Bass Pro Shops. If you’re coming to buy lingerie and you see camo and fish, you’re not going to stick around that long) Your branding and visuals are worth investing into. Don’t be the website equivalent of the local TV Commercial.

A Good Website Needs to Have Good Core Web Vitals

These include:

  • being fully mobile responsive (This just means that the site will automatically resize to fit every screen size)
  • Loading quickly. No one wants to wait 5 seconds for a website to load. Chances are they will just leave. Google knows this which means it’s really hard to make it on the first page of google with a slow website Forbes says “47% of users do not wait more than two seconds” for a website to load.
  • Easy to read. If you’re website isn’t high contrast enough (The text needs to be easy to read up against the background, both google and your users will be unhappy
  • Has an SSL certificate. Have you every clicked on a website link only for your browser to tell you it’s not secure and you need to return to safety? That website was missing an SSL certificate. Don’t do that.

Designing a website is something you can do on your own, but do you want to add something else to your plate? If you’d like to chat with us about creating a new small business website schedule a call here

Book a Discovery Call