I’m going to focus on the small businesses for this post, as we all know (or hope) big businesses have their ducks in a row and have decent websites.
As a small business owner myself, and as someone who uses the World Wide Web on a daily basis, I have learnt a few key essentials of running a wqebsite and what the end user needs. I have dabbled with web design, but by and large stick to my day job. Here though are tips that I think everyone who owns a small business, or who is a professional wanting to be found should know. I have not numbered them, because they are so difficult to choose as most important, for each business needs to focus on something different.
- More pictures, less writing. People don’t like to read nowadays. Keep writing to the minimum that you can with giving the necessary information, and rather fill space with one or two choice photos. “A picture paints a thousand words “
- Put your prices out there. Nothing makes me leave a website, and ultimately a company quicker than if I can’t find their prices or rates. I get that certain companies have specialized rates or individual prices, but here’s the thing, I don’t want to waste your time and mine by contacting you if you are out of my price bracket. So at least give us an idea by doing a few standard packages, or tell us your base price, and put a note that this is an estimated cost and customers must contact you for a definite quote.
- If possible, be mobile device friendly. Now this one can be a bit hard to achieve and only recently did I achieve this with my site. But, you need to know that nowadays people do more web searches on their phones or tablets than they do on their pc. Especially if they are holiday makers, or if your line of business is aimed at people who are not in the office (eg. Car mechanic, hotels, towing company, local attractions).
- Link to social media. Very much hand in hand with the above point is that you need to have links to social media. This also means you need to have social media accounts and try to maintain them. If it’s a Facebook page, or a Twitter or an Instagram account, always keep it only professional and keep it up to a date with anything happening that relates to your company (closed dates, offers of looking to hire someone, specials, etc). If you have links to your personal Facebook profile, Twitter account, Pinterest, blog, or even your bbm & what’s app, remember to keep it human, but also always keep it as though you are at a job interview (so no “I hate my job” or “this client is a _____” statuses). If I follow a link for a hairdresser, and it takes me to her Facebook page, I don’t care if it was fooling around, I won’t trust her with my locks if she has photos of crazy hairstyles she did as a practical joke on her boyfriend. Be careful what you put out there, but do put something out there!
- Make sure they can contact you. As a customer, if I’m on a website, I will want to contact the company via sms, whatsapp or email. If I can’t find that information fairly easily within about a minute or two, I’m outta there and going to their competitors. As a service provider, I need certain information from clients before I can actually give them a decent answer, thus I ask them to fill in a ten questions form. But because I know there will always be something they didn’t see on the site, I also give my phone number for them to text or call me. Because holiday makers have no sense of time, I make sure to always keep my phone on silent at night.
- If you really must have lots of writing, use bullet points and paragraphs! Did you see what I did there? Think about it, what did you do first when you opened my blog today? You most likely scrolled down, hovered over the pictures momentarily, and then glanced at the bold headings of each bulleted point. You could immediately see which one interested you the most and probably read that paragraph immediately. Ok, so maybe you didn’t, but it is what I do, it’s what a lot of people do. It’s an easier way to find what you are searching for than to try scan through a long single paragraph of small writing for two sentences.
- Use spell check, and while you’re at it, check your grammar! So this is a personal gripe for me. It’s one thing for a personal facebook, Twitter or even a person’s blog to have the occasional typo or grammar faux pas. We can laugh, joke a bit and move on. But when it comes to work, your website, emails and advertising, it is essential to be impeccable. I instantly do not trust a business dat rites lyk dis. Get a program that will spell check for you, and then get a friend or hire someone that will do a grammar check for you! Now I’m not saying I’m perfect, I know for a fact this is a point I need to work on. But please will you also work on it!
Now what I have mentioned above is by no means the limit of tips one can give for you to have a decent website. This is merely the few things I can think of offhand that are common on many sites.