Businesses of all sizes are rethinking how they use technology. But small to medium sized businesses often face different challenges than their enterprise counterparts.
The goal may be the same – delivering increased value to customers – but where large businesses may be undertaking full blown digital transformations, smaller businesses are typically focused on their main digital asset – their website.
Of course, a website redesign can take a significant amount of time and resources. So why are so many small to medium-sized businesses undertaking the effort? The answer has little to do with trends and everything to do with staying competitive and realizing that a listing of products and services no longer effectively engages customers. Increasingly customers are turning to websites to find answers to problems. And increasingly, smart businesses are providing the solutions.
For small businesses looking to maximize their website experience, here are 7 steps to ensuring a successful website transformation:
1. Design with the customer in mind
Does your website answer your customers’ burning questions? Does it explain what is unique about your business? Why should a customer buy from you? Does it offer clear guidance on things like how to order and what to do if something goes wrong with the process? Does it encourage feedback? Put yourself in the mind of your customers and approach the content and layout of your site from their perspective. A simple peek at your website analytics will show you which pages your customers visit most. Or for a more visual experience, try using a tool like crazyegg to see a heat map of your site. Whatever method you use, the end result should be a website that makes it easy for users to find what it is they are seeking and offer opportunities to learn more as they explore your site in depth.
2. Keep mobile top of mind
Once upon a time, businesses used to create two versions of a website – one for desktop and one for mobile users. Now, one responsive site, accessible on all devices, is the norm. You probably already know that a responsive site re-sizes for a smaller screen and is easier to navigate with just thumb and fingers, but did you know that it also affects your rankings in search engines? (Read about mobile-first indexing here.) If your site is not mobile-responsive, now is the time to make it so.
3. Emphasize your call to action
Customers are coming to your website to have their questions answered and their problems solved. Now that you have their attention and are providing them with what they are seeking, what action would you like them to take next? Do you want them to subscribe to a blog or a newsletter? Download a coupon or a special offer? Be clear about what it is you want them to do. And, make it both visible and easy to navigate. For example, make sure your “Subscribe Now” button isn’t buried in the footer of your site, but is prominent and located someplace that is visible both on desktop and mobile.
4. Update content regularly
Do you update your content on a regular and consistent basis? If not, you are missing a golden opportunity. A steady stream of fresh content is a signal to search engines to re-assess your site’s ranking. Frequently updated content provides more chances to achieve a higher ranking. A well-written blog that is optimized for search engine rankings can go a long way in educating, inspiring and establishing yourself as an authority on a topic as well as showing up in search engine results. And that brings us to number five:
5. Optimize for search engines
Is your entire site optimized for search engine rankings? Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the process of getting organic (free) search results in the major search engines like Google and Bing. SEO has both technical components, such as making sure your content is indexed and structured in such a way that it’s easy for search engines to find and that your site offers a great user experience in terms of load speed and ease of use, as well as content components, such as using the correct keywords, being compelling (answering the user’s search queries), having well-structured descriptions and titles, etc. If you’re not already following good SEO practices, a website transformation offers the perfect time to start.
6. Make it easy to amplify your message
Does your website include easy-to-find buttons that link to your social media pages? And do the links work? Quite surprisingly, many small
businesses are actively using social media as a means to inform and engage with customers, yet visitors to the website have no way to make that connection. If you want your readers to share your pages or blog posts on social, why not make it easy for them? Make your social buttons prominent!
7. Measure, measure, measure!
If you aren’t already measuring the effectiveness of your site (and all your marketing efforts), the time to start is now. It may seem overwhelming, but measuring marketing success can actually be quite simple if you know what to look for. For ideas on which key performance indicators are most helpful and relevant to small businesses, check out our previous blog on measuring your marketing efforts.
The average lifespan of a well designed website is typically 3-7 years. And while in the past, a refreshed template might have been enough to keep things looking shiny and new, shifting customer expectations and rapid technology advancements are driving factors in the need for a website transformation.
If you’re looking for help from an experienced professional, give us a shout.
We are an innovative CT website design and digital marketing company located in Fairfield, CT. We’ve helped hundreds of clients design and redesign their websites. Take a look at some samples of our work and let’s talk about how IWD can help you transform your website.