7 steps to building a great small business website

Many business owners struggle with building the perfect website for their business. There are a lot of marketing components that need to go into a site that many small business owners are completely out aware of. However, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming with the right tips and strategies. The following are important tips and strategies along with 7 steps that you can take to build a successful small business website.

Know the Primary Purpose of Your Web Site

Before diving in, I first want to point out the importance of knowing the purpose of your site prior to launching it.

We all know that in order to attract and retain loyal customers and the right audience that as a business owner you need a site. But it’s important to know beforehand the purpose of your site. For example,

  1. Will your site be an informational site where you provide information and resources to a specific target audience?
  2. Will you have an online store where you make products available through a shopping cart?
  3. Will you sell other people’s products as an affiliate marketer?

Know Your Audience

It’s important to know this information before you began to build it. But what’s equally important, however, is knowing exactly who your audience is and who you’re speaking to when you are having your content developed. That way, your content will be tailored specifically to your audience and will be much more appealing to them.

Keeping the information above in mind, the following seven steps will help you build your own site.

  • SEO and Keyword Optimization

I thought I’d start this section off first with SEO Keyword Optimization because you will need to have a basic understanding of it before we get to some of the other sections.

For the most part, SEO and Keyword Optimization is important because these are the words or phrases that people within your target audience, (who are actually your potential customers) are using to search for companies that provide the same products or services that you offer.

By using tools such as Google Keywords Planner or Keyword Tool you will be provided with information on which keywords and keyword phrases are being used the most by users within your target audience.

So as you begin to have your site developed, be sure that you are sensitive to the Keywords and Keyword phrases that are used the most in your industry. It’s important to be aware of these keyword terms and phrases now because they will be used later during the site development process.

  • Selecting Your Domain Name

When selecting your domain name, you may be tempted to come up with a catchy name the best reflects your business and you should definitely make sure it represents your brand.  However, keep in mind that including SEO Keywords or keyword phrases in your domain name will help your business appear on the first page of the search results on popular search engines – MOZ have some great advice here.

  • Use Clear, Easy to Read Layout Designs

It’s important to make sure that when you start designing the site that it is based on important guidelines as opposed to your own personal taste.

The layout of the design should be readable and professional so that it is a reflection of your business. This is important because you want your visitors to take your company seriously as they are navigating through all parts of your site. Remember they have many other sites to choose from, so it’s important that your site has the look and feel that is inviting: meaning that it’s welcoming and captures your audience’s attention; and engaging: meaning that there is plenty of relevant content on your site that keeps them interested longer. Since your site is likely the first avenue that you will be using to share your brand with the world, and an entire army of potential customers, be sure to use a quality layout design that appeals to them.  A good place to start your learning is this article by the team at crazyegg (a tool you should check out by the way.)

  • Functionality and Navigation

Avoid overuse of graphics and colors as they tend to make your site appear cluttered. This makes it difficult for users to find their way around and easily get to what it is they are looking for in the first place.  Peple expect to see navigation tools such as menus to be located on top and right side so keep this in mind.  Make sure all menus have links to your key content, this provides easy access to the most important pages that you offer and makes sure that visitors can get to different parts of your site without feeling frustrated, confused or overwhelmed.

  • Quality Keyword Rich Content

The content on the website is the most important component of your site. It’s important that you use your opportunity to share information about your product or service in the most effective way possible. Particularly in a manner that prospective customers have a clear understanding of the functions and benefits of your products or services that you offer. You should also be sure that your content is engaging so that potential customers feel they can trust your company enough to make a purchase.  Ultimately if you content is written well and solves the readers problems then the search engines will recognize this and reward you with good rankings for relevant keywords.  To assist this process be sure to include keywords and/or keyword phrases based on your specific industry, use similes, plurals and alternative terms.

There is much to the process of creating great content and it can be overwhelming if you are just getting started, a great start is this guide which outlines a simple approach to improving your content.

  • Contact Us Page

Making your contact information available lets customers know that you can be reached during normal business hours. Or if you are available after business hours making them aware of this is helpful as well – especially if you attract visitors from different time zones located in other countries.

  • Credibility/ Sample of Previous Work

Having samples of your previous work available on your site is a great way to build trust and credibility. If you don’t have this information available for display or if it’s not practical for your particular industry, then be sure to find a way to build credibility so that the potential customers are 100% confident in your abilities.

Taking the time to plan ahead is the best way to have the most effective outcome for your web site. Don’t forget to also include social media integration built into your site as well. It will help increase your engagement on other social media platforms and interact with potential customers a lot easier as it brings more visitors to your site.