A recent study by vSplash showed a number of deficiencies in local small business websites.[list style=”check”]
- 26.4% of Small business websites could not be found in online searches.
- 94.5% are not mobile optimized
- 93.75 lacked a FB and/or twitter sharing icon
- 49.4% lacked a phone number on the home page [/list]
The last statistic was the most startling. How can a business not have a phone number on the home page? The sad truth is the majority of small and medium businesses are not prepared for digital marketing. In fact, most are really uneducated to the proper elements of a good local website.
So I’ve created a list of elements that should be contained within a local business website.
1. Contact Information should be clearly visible on the HOME page.
A business’s contact information should clearly be visible on the home page at the top as well as in the footer of the website. You should make it easy for a visitor to find your contact information so they don’t get frustrated and leave. This is especially true as more and more consumers use their smart phones to do their searches.
Don’t bury your number in the Contact Us page. They should be able to find it right away without having to click on any pages. It’s also beneficial to have your local number instead of a toll free number especially for local businesses. Local numbers are much more favorable for your website than toll free numbers and make it more likely to come up in the search results for local searches.
Also, it’s good practice to have an email address and your physical address as well as your store/office hours on the home page.
2. Create An Appealing Direct Response Marketing Website
I see too many websites that are just not well designed at all. I see websites that business owners try and design themselves and they really end up hurting their online presence more than helping. I hate to say, but many times it will end up like an 8 year old designed.
Many times I see websites that are just not laid out properly and don’t have any direct response marketing elements. A direct response website is a website that communicates your benefits of your business, engages your visitors and is persuasive in getting them to act once on the site. It also contains the proper color elements, calls to action and may even have a lead capture capability.
Having a fancy website that has flash or a bunch of pretty graphics isn’t good for you either. It can slow down your page load time which can frustrate users and have them abandon your site. It also is not SEO friendly at all.
3. Make Your Website Mobile Friendly
Over 50% of all local searches are performed on mobile devices. These are people are more looking to make an immediate purchase. Unfortunately, 95% of small business websites are not mobile friendly.
Do you want your website to look like the one on the left or right? Which one do you think is more likely to result in a purchase transaction from the consumer? If you have a business website, visit your website on your mobile device and see how it appears. Ask yourself these questions:
Is it easy to navigate?
Is there a one click call button/link and is it easily found?
Do you have an accessible directions link?
There are two options when building a website that’s mobile friendly. You can build a mobile website and paste a code on your website that recognizes the device being used to view your website. If you’re viewing from a mobile device, it will automatically redirect to your mobile website.
The other option is to build a responsive website. Responsive means it will automatically adapt to a mobile device. It’s not as clean as a dedicated mobile website but it’s the next best thing.
4. Use Analytics
SiteApps did a recent study and showed that 75% of small business websites don’t have any analytics tools. Analytics can give you great information on who’s visiting your website, how they’re getting there, what search terms, how long they’re staying and more. All this information can be used to make your website better and more profitable. This is especially true if you’re running any kind of SEO and Google adword marketing campaigns.
5. Optimize Your Website For Local Searches
Make your website friendly to local searches by defining what the best search terms are for y our business. Come up with as many as you can by researching them with tools such as the Google keyword tool.
Here’s some tips for local SEO:
Once you have a list of terms, now you can optimize each page of your website with the proper tags (title, description & keywords tags). For example, instead of labeling your home page “Home” or Smith DDS, name it “Dental Practice | Smith Dentistry Atlanta
Do this for each webpage for your website. Name each page something different that relates to your content. For example, if one of your web pages is about root canals, then label it “Root Canals | Root Canal Services Atlanta”.
Have your URL’s of these pages with the proper keyword in them. For example, domainname.com/root-canal-atlanta/
Do internal linking (anchor text) with these keywords.
Be sure to optimize all your images, pictures and videos for local searches.
6. Have Fresh Content Uploaded On Your Site Regularly
It’s a good idea to update your website with fresh content. One way to do this is through your blog. Preferably once a week if you can. Fresh content is picked up by the search engines and make it easier for you to be found. Good content can be shared with social media and can drive additional traffic to your site.
7. Use A Live Chat Feature To Start Conversing
Contact forms are good to have but having a live chat feature can provide instantaneous information to your visitors. They make your business more real and personable. Live chat is a great way to engage with your potential clients. Local businesses such as Attorneys, medical, dental, chiropractic, real estate, home remodelers, HVAC are just some ideal businesses to have this feature.
If you have enough traffic and someone in house who can split their time with it, it’s worthwhile to look into.