If you’re a small business owner, there’s a 50/50 chance you don’t have a company website.
Surprised by that? SCORE’s recent infographic reports that just 51 percent of small businesses have websites.
That was almost as surprising as the survey of small business owners for our 2015 State of Small Business Report. Out of 1,000 plus small business owners, 37 percent of respondents said they get only one to five percent of their business from their websites.
Small businesses aren’t going to get the bulk of business from their websites. But if a third of them are getting five percent or less from their websites, something is wrong. With over 97 percent of consumers searching online for products and services, millennials are more likely to check an app to purchase goods or services.
Image via SCORE
Many small business owners need help with their websites. After all, they didn’t go into business to make websites (at least most of them didn’t). Even a simple website can generate business. You just need to know what’s important.
To be sure you’ve got the basics covered for your website, here are 15 essentials for any small business website:
Related Article: You Built It, Now What? What to Do After Launching Your Website
1) Memorable, Easy-to-Spell Website Address
Avoid getting a .net or .biz website URL, even if you have to play around with a couple of different domain names before you find a winner.
2) Paid, Professional Hosting
Don’t go cheap or free with website hosting. No WordPress.org sites, no sites laden with unrelated advertising, or slowed down by sharing the server with 10,000 other sites. You can get reliable, fast hosting for less than $15 a month.
3) “Responsive” Design
A.K.A. get a “mobile friendly” design. This is super important: According to the SCORE study, more than 90 percent of small business websites aren’t mobile friendly. With the bulk of traffic being garnered from mobile devices now, that’s especially disappointing news.
Image via SCORE
Related Article: M-Day is Almost Here: Is Your Website Mobile-Friendly Yet?
4) Downloads Fast
A slow site annoys users and makes people want to leave. Make sure all your pages download within three seconds, maximum, and ideally have it load in under two seconds.
5) Phone Number
After your company name and what you do, the phone number is often the most-wanted piece of information. Include it at the top and bottom of every page on your site.
6) Hours of Business
This is an essential piece of information. The hours are so important that it also belongs at the top and bottom of every page on your site.
Your website is there to attract traffic. Even foot traffic. So tell the traffic where to go.
8) A Map of Your Location
A map makes it easier for people to find you. It gives people context and lets them see where you are located.
9) An Email Address
No free email addresses, please. Get an email that matches your website address. Hopefully a free address (with lots of storage) will be included in your hosting package.
10) A Products or Service Page
People come to your site to check out your business. They want to know if you can help them. So explain to them, in detail, how you can help them. Include tons of photos.
11) An “About Us” Page
Write about the people behind your business for a paragraph or two. Then add a few paragraphs about why you started the business. Remember: People want to do business with people they know, like and trust. So give them enough information to know, like and trust you.
12) A Contact Form
Is a contact form just another way for customers to reach you? Yes. But some people prefer contact forms to sending an email or calling. Give them that option.
13) A Call to Action
This is where you stop giving information and ask for their business. Your website needs one focused call to action, whether this is “Come visit our store,” or “Make a reservation,” or just “Call us.” Put your call to action either in the header area or in the navigation column. Make it stand out.
14) Title and Meta Tags Optimized for the Search Engines
If you can only do one thing to optimize your website for search traffic, write unique and enticing title tags and meta descriptions for each page. To learn how visit Search Engine Land for quick instructions.
There’s a fatal flaw to marketing: People often don’t believe what we say about ourselves. But they do believe what other people say about us. Even if you’ve got just one testimonial, put it up on your site. It will get you more business, and hopefully more testimonials.
Add these essentials to your website and you will soon see more business. At the very least, now all the work you do to get someone to your website won’t be wasted. You’ll have enough information available to convert some visitors from prospects into customers.