Are you in the process of setting up a new website for your small business?
The tips in this article will help you create a high-performance website that actually generates business for you.
Many small businesses overlook the importance of their website. They don’t take the time to optimize the website for sales and lead generation. And ultimately, that can be a costly mistake.
Even if you outsource your website to an agency or web-design specialist, that’s no guarantee that you’ll get a high-performing website. In fact, some web designers are completely oblivious to some of the most important factors that make a good website.
In this article, we look at five tips you need to consider if you want a successful website for your business. I’ll include examples so you can see exactly what to do and what not to do.
- How to make website visitors instantly perceive your business as credible and trustworthy
- The easiest ways to create your website at a low cost
- How to write persuasive text for your website that makes people want to buy
- The most important pages you need on your website
- How to get free website traffic from Google
1. You Need A Good Design
You could lose customers within three seconds if your website is poorly designed.
When people visit your website, they will quickly form an impression of your business. And it’s largely based on the design of your website.
Consider these statistics…
- 38% of website visitors won’t even engage with a website they find unattractive
- It only takes 2.6 seconds for users to form an impression of your website
- 94% of a user’s first impression is based on the website design and visuals
People subconsciously use website design to form an opinion on a businesses credibility and quality.
If you have an appealing, modern design on your website, users will view your business as being more reputable and of higher quality.
But if your website looks outdated and poorly designed, users will quickly develop a negative perception of your business.
This is the result of a principle in social psychology known as the halo effect. The halo effect applies to websites, but it’s easiest to explain when applied to people…
Good looking people are more likely to be perceived as intelligent, trustworthy and likeable than less attractive people. We subconsciously judge other traits based on our impression of one single trait. This is the halo effect.
On the internet, people have been conditioned to associate well-designed websites with quality businesses. Any major brand like Apple, Nike, Samsung or Visa will have a clean website with a modern design.
Consider the two website examples below. Both for accounting firms in the UK.
This website looks like it was designed in 2001. If you’re searching for a local accountant and visit this website, you’re likely to make a split-second negative judgement about the business.
But compare this to another accounting firm website below. It’s may not the best website design I have ever seen but it at least has a modern, clean and professional feel to it.
1.1 Prioritize Mobile Design
In most industries, over 60% of website visitors will be using a mobile device when they visit your website. So your website needs to look good on mobile.
If you’re using a DIY website design tool like Wix or Webflow, be sure to focus on the mobile view. Always test your website on both mobile and desktop to make sure it looks good on both devices.
Your website can also be penalized by Google if it’s not properly optimized for mobile devices.
1.2 How To Get A Well Designed Website
If you choose to outsource your website to a professional web developer, ask to see a portfolio of websites they have already designed.
It’s not uncommon for even professional web developers to create websites that aren’t visually appealing. Many are more focused on the technical aspects of the website and design is an after-thought.
Or if you’re planning to create your website yourself, you don’t need to be a design expert to create a visually appealing website. Using website builders like Wix and Webflow, it’s actually very easy to create a website that looks good.
Any of these website builders offer well-designed templates you can use, like those below.
While many businesses will choose to use WordPress for their website, it’s generally more difficult to create a good design using WordPress. Especially if you haven’t used WordPress in the past.
I will go into more detail on finding the best system for your website later in this article.
2. Apply The Principles of Persuasive Copywriting
This is one of the most overlooked factors of website development.
Very few small businesses have well written, persuasive copy on their website. And they are losing money because of it.
Good copywriting grabs people’s attention. It moves them towards taking an action – whether it be buying something, submitting a form or calling a business.
People’s attention spans are constantly getting shorter. So it’s never been more important to have well-written copy that hooks people on your website.
You can hire a professional to write the copy for your website. But a talented copywriter can often be expensive. It may still be worth it depending on the goal of your website and what you’re selling.
A good copywriter will help you make more sales or generate more leads from your website.
But alternatively, you can also write the copy on your website yourself. Even if you learn the core basics of copywriting, you can probably make your website more persuasive than most other small business websites.
Well written copy will be most important on your home page, landing pages, and your about us page. The ‘about us’ page is often one of the most visited pages on a website, yet often overlooked. Let’s look at examples of good and bad copywriting on about us pages.
About Us Page Copywriting Example #1
You would think of all small businesses, a marketing agency would understand the importance of persuasive copy, right?
Well, when I started searching different websites for examples, I discovered that even many marketing agencies fail to use good copy on their websites.
The example below is from Feeney Marketing’s about us page..
There are a few major mistakes this agency have made on this page.
- It’s too hard to read. Long paragraphs like this should always be avoided in your copywriting. If you want customers to read something on your website, make it easy for them.
- It sounds too generic. Phrases like “in a world where we have access to endless information,” and “a connected experience” don’t mean anything to potential clients. They sound like cliches. Make your writing unique or people won’t read it.
- It lacks clear benefits to the reader. If I’m considering using this agency, I want to know what benefit I will get from there service. They do include some benefits but those are no different to any other marketing agency. Provide clear and compelling benefits in your copy.
About Us Page Copywriting Example #2
The example below from COM Marketing provides a much better example of how you can effectively use the text on your about us page.
Firstly, it’s much easier to read than the first example. They have kept their paragraphs short and to the point.
They go straight to a clear benefit of their service in the first sentence. “At COM Marketing we help fitness & wellness studios grow their business and double their income.”
Would you rather work with a marketing agency that can double your income? Or with the agency who will bring a dynamic, all encompassing approach to your business?
Like COM Marketing, use the copy on your website to communicate tangible, results-oriented benefits to readers.
In the article below, I go into detail on various copywriting techniques used in Facebook Ads. The same techniques can easily be applied to your website.
3. Create Separate Landing Pages (If You Run Ads)
Many small businesses make the mistake of running Facebook and Google ads to their home page.
The problem with this is that most home pages are not designed for Facebook and Google ads. If the goal of your ad campaign is to generate leads or sales, you need a dedicated page on your website – called a landing page.
A good landing page will look something like this…
It’s designed with the primary goal of generating a lead or sale for the business. Whereas, home pages are generally designed to provide information.
When you run paid ads through Google or Facebook, one of the most important metrics is your conversion rate. If you run your ads to a landing page rather than a home page, you should instantly see a big increase in your conversion rate.
If you’re running a lot of paid ads, the landing pages may be the most important pages on your website. They are the pages that will make your business the most money. So it will be important to have persuasive copywriting on these pages.
Some businesses may only need one landing page. But if you’re promoting multiple offers through your advertising, you may want to create individual landing pages for each of those offers.
If you’re using a website builder like Wix or Webflow, they will offer landing page templates that you can easily customize and add to your website. Landing pages are a little more difficult to create using WordPress. But there are plugins and templates you can add to your WordPress site to assist with landing pages.
Another alternative is to use a dedicated landing page builder tool like Instapage or Lead Pages. Both offer customizable templates and a drag and drop interface.
4. Consider Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is the practice of optimizing your website so it will rank higher in search engines like Google.
As an example, imagine you own a carpet cleaning business in Melbourne, Australia. People go to Google and search for “carpet cleaner Melbourne.” If your website is in the top 3 results, you can expect to get a lot of free traffic to your website and sales.
In the screenshot above, we can see roughly 5400 people per month are searching for “carpet cleaner Melbourne.” If 10% of those people click on the #1 ranking website, that website will get 540 visitors per month just from that one search.
You can pay Google to show your website when people search for something related to your business (through Google Ads).
But with Google Ads, you pay every time someone clicks on your ad. If you can get your website to the top of the free search results, you don’t pay anything when someone clicks on your website.
When Google and other search engines decide where to show your website in the search results, they consider many factors including..
- The quality of content on your website
- How relevant your website is to the search term
- The speed of your website
- How many other web pages link to your website
There are many SEO agencies and freelancers who can help you optimize your website to rank higher on search engines.
But it’s also something you can learn yourself. There is lots of content online about how to optimize your website for SEO. Even if you learn the basics and apply them to your website, you can start generating a lot of free traffic from search engines.
5. Track The Impact Of Your Website With Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a free tool that you can use to measure the impact of your website.
Some of the key information you can get from Analytics includes..
- How many people are visiting your website
- Sources of traffic to your website
- Which pages on your website people are visiting
- How long do people spend on your site
- What cities or regions your website visitors are from
Having this information will help you to understand what’s working and what’s not. If you’re running digital advertising campaigns to your website, it will also help to measure the success of these campaigns.
Setting up Google Analytics on your website is relatively simple. If you’re using a WordPress website, there are plugins you can use to install Analytics. Or if you outsource your website to a web designer, you can ask them to install Analytics on the website.
By following these steps, you can have a website that out-performs 95% of other small business websites.
Your website can potentially be a huge asset to your business if you use it well. One that can help you attract more customers and sales.
But on the other hand, your website can also damage the credibility of your business and lose sales if it’s poorly set up. A badly designed website will reflect badly on the quality of service or product your business offers.
Also, remember that your website doesn’t need to be 100% perfect when you first set it up. You can always go back and make changes to the website later.