Everyone knows they need a website for their business, but only some know what features they need to make their website great.
A professional website isn’t just the online version of your brochure. Today, people expect websites to be interactive, informative, and entertaining. Your entire company will be reflected through your website, so this is no time to slouch.
The 2022 online landscape is competitive, and a simple list of services doesn’t cut it anymore (not that it did a great job years ago, anyway). Your website should be your best salesperson, telling visitors about the services you offer and showing what they can accomplish, answering their most commonly asked questions, and actively convincing people why your company is the one to get in touch with – not the twenty or thirty other options they have at the click of a button.
Don’t settle for an online business card – it won’t do you or your business any favors.
It’s time to put some work into making your website great.
Here are five things to include to put your best foot forward.
Include a project portfolio showcasing before/after pictures.
The old saying holds true; a picture really is worth a thousand words.
Refrain from throwing your pictures into a photo gallery that visitors will breeze right past. Make them mean something. Provide context. Explain to visitors what they’re seeing.
Of all of the features on your website, photos are a great way to show off your work if you’re a contractor or tradesperson. Put together a few before and after photos. Describe what the client was looking for and what you did. Bonus points if you can feature a testimonial, too.
If you’re more in the corporate world, this can be a great way to showcase events, conferences, product launches, presentations, and more. Give visitors a peek behind the curtain. Let them in on your world to see how you work your magic.
The bottom line is that a project portfolio is much more effective than a simple photo gallery. Add context to your pictures by explaining what you’ve done and how you did it. The image itself will provide the rest of the story – the results of your work.
Include location-specific pages to get business from surrounding areas.
It’s likely you service customers in more locations than one. A great way to expand your reach is to build pages targeting specific areas.
This is one of the simplest but wildly effective features on a small business website.
Your website should feature pages dedicated to each location you service – the major cities and the little townships.
Because Google is so focused on serving locally relevant results for searches nowadays, this is a great way to increase your traffic. After all, Google doesn’t know what you don’t tell it. By simply having pages on your website targeted to individual locations, you stand a much better chance of showing up when people search for services in those locations.
Integrate your social media accounts.
Today, people spend more time on social media than on websites. While you don’t need to be on every social media site, you should have a presence on the most popular ones.
Link all your social media accounts on your website (and vice versa). If a prospect finds you on your website and wants to see your social media presence, a simple click will take them there. Or, if they find you on one of your social media sites and want to look up more detailed information, you have an easy link to your website.
You can take this a step further by posting your Facebook or Twitter feed directly on your website, showing visitors that you’re active on those platforms (and providing your website with some content you’ve already taken the time to post).
Now more than ever, your website and social media presence should communicate with each other. Take advantage of this easy connection.
Interact with customers, answer their questions, and promote your services.
The best websites are interactive. They engage with their audience.
Don’t treat your website like an extensive brochure; make it interactive with your customers. Ask for their comments on popular blog posts. Reply to those comments, starting a dialogue.
To that point, you need some blog content!
Instead of getting into the weeds about keywords, search engine optimization, and more, be genuinely helpful to your audience. Write blog posts they want to read.
These can be commonly asked questions in your field.
You can give them information on solving a common small problem themselves, about a new product launch, or about yourself if you’d like – you can even talk about your competitors.
The bottom line is that you have to be talking.
Most businesses don’t get anything out of blogging because they don’t go about it correctly. Instead, try focusing on your customer’s needs and questions. How can you better serve them? What information can you give them they won’t find anywhere else? Can you show them that you’re an actual authority in your field?
Answer those questions, and then write about them extensively and thoroughly.
Use tools like call tracking and Google Analytics to determine your website’s effectiveness.
How is your website working if you have no way to track the results? All of the development and features are worthless if you can’t determine if your website is effective.
If you use tools like call tracking (provided free with a Google Business Profile), you can see how many people are calling you from seeing your online presence.
Other free tools like Google Analytics will allow you to see how many people are visiting your website, which of your pages are most popular, where your visitors are coming from, and more.
Sure, throwing spaghetti on a wall to see what sticks is fun. But when it comes to marketing, knowing what you’re aiming at (and being able to judge if you’ve hit the mark or still need some work on your aim) works much better.
Stop settling for “okay.” Having a website is easier than you think.
It’s time to start thinking about your website as more than an online business card. With just a little work, it can be so much more.
Start thinking about how you can better serve your audience.
Wouldn’t they like to see that project you just completed?
Think they would love to hear about your new product launch?
Don’t they want to see what you’re up to on social media?
Is there a chance they will benefit from your expertise in your field?
Having a great website is hard, it just takes a little more work integrating these features.
About the Author
Jesse Kemmerer is the owner of Local Sight, a company that builds websites that make the phone ring. He has been building websites and marketing campaigns for local businesses for the past decade.