Having an online presence for your small business is everything these days. It’s the best way to get people to know your business, convince them to use your services, or buy your products. That’s why investing the time and resources in creating an excellent website for your business is one of the greatest decisions you can make. In this article, we’ll explain how you can make a site that informs, establishes trust and connection with customers, and, ultimately, helps you sell your products and services.
Building the site
If you haven’t started working on your website, you may not be sure how to build and design one. Do you need to hire a team of designers and developers? Well, you could, but you could also try some tools that enable you to build a site by yourself. Here are two suggestions to make this process easier for you.
Use the Bluehost website builder
The Bluehost website builder lets you create stunning WordPress-based sites by simply dragging, dropping, and arranging the elements you want to include on your site. For instance, you can use ready-made contact or subscription forms and decide where to place them. You’ll also have plenty of templates, images, and much more to choose from to make your website exactly how you want!
Use the WordPress core customizer
WordPress has made building and editing your site very easy in the last few years. You can build your site using WordPress’s themes, its easy-to-use customizer with an extensive blocks library, as well as a vast array of plugins. All of these things combined will allow you to build the site of your dreams!
Once you have picked a theme and decided on the general look of your site, you’ll need to figure out what kind of pages and content it will contain. And that’s exactly what we’ll help you with in this article.
What pages does your business website need?
When people come to your site, they have a goal. They want to learn more about your business and products. But they might also want to visit your local store or get in touch with you. So, you need to anticipate their need and ensure that all the information they’re looking for is easy to find on your site. Let’s go through some of the essential information you should include.
Use the homepage to tell people about your business
Your homepage is the perfect opportunity to make a good impression. It’s also the page where you should make it very clear to visitors and Google what your site and business are about.
First, ensure that your branding is visible on the homepage by placing your logo in the top left corner of the screen. You can also add a tagline to familiarize people with what you do and what your goal is. For even more clarity, include your business’s mission statements as well. Another great way to let people immediately understand what your business is about is to add images of your products or images displaying the services you offer.
Besides getting people to be more familiar with your business, the homepage should also guide visitors to the rest of your site. For that, you’ll need to create a great menu. The menu should include the most important pages people need to find (we will discuss those later on). But, don’t clutter it with too many links! Of course, the menu itself needs to be easy to find, so we recommend you place it at the top of the page and, ideally, make it visible at all times. Finally, to make it even easier for people to find what they need, include a clearly visible search function.
This may sound like a lot, but it doesn’t have to be too complicated. Look at how the Armoury coaching studio integrated all the above-mentioned elements.
They placed their logo at the top left corner, and it’s also present in the background of the eye-catching image that takes up most of the screen. You can very clearly see what this business is about from the image and the short text on it. Their tagline (It’s time to put yourself first) also catches your attention, as it is placed in the center of the page and written in big, bold letters.
The menu placed at the top of the page is easy to find and simple, which is a good thing. The names of the menu items are straightforward, making it clear what you can expect if you click on them. All the essential pages that can help people learn more about the business and the service are there (About, Programmes, Contact, and Blog). In addition, this business included Success stories in their menu. Guiding people to that page and letting them read stories from satisfied clients is a great way to build trust! Finally, the search function is also easy to see and find.
As you can see, there are a lot of things you need to consider. But as the example shows, you can keep the homepage clean and simple, while still including everything that’s necessary. Now, let’s go and explore the other essential pages you need to have on your small business site!
An about page that makes a connection with the visitor
The About page is where visitors get to know you better and, hopefully, where you establish a connection with them. Here are some things you can do to achieve that:
1: Tell your story. Briefly explain why and how you began your business. What drove you to it, and what inspired you. Share your values as well. If they match the ones of your visitors, you are already on the right track.
2: Add photos or videos. It’s good to show the faces of your team, so include an image of (some) of your staff or of yourself. Alternatively, you can add a video that tells your company’s story, and that may be useful for the visitor.
3: Build trust by displaying any achievements, acknowledgments, or awards you have received.
4: Don’t clutter the page with too much information. The About page is about your story. Of course, you may have something to say about the uniqueness of your products, service, or some other projects or charities you are involved with. In that case, avoid overwhelming visitors with too much information by creating separate pages for those topics. And don’t forget to link to those pages from the about page!
5: Be mindful of the design of the page. For instance, don’t scare people off with a huge wall of text written in a tiny font. Instead, add different elements like text and media and create enough white space between them for a pleasant reading experience. Don’t worry, you can easily achieve it in WordPress. The various themes and templates offered there will surely help you create a great page.
The About page on the Farmers and Foragers food truck company’s site is a good example of these tips put into practice. The first thing that catches the attention on the page is the picture of the founders. They chose not to tell a story here but instead clearly and concisely share their values. In addition, they also added the many mentions and attention they received from the media, thus establishing trustworthiness. Finally, there’s plenty of white space between the different elements on the page which provides a pleasant reading experience.
A contact page that makes it easy to get in touch with you
The contact page is crucial for any business. After all, you want people to come to your shop, office or contact you for your services. So, it would be best if you made it easy and convenient for them to reach you. To achieve that, there are some essential elements you’ll need to add to the page:
1: A welcome message. This doesn’t have to be lengthy. But you could, for instance, show your enthusiasm to get in touch with the visitor in a few sentences.
2: Add a business phone number (or multiple, if you have various departments or locations).
3: Add a business email address (or multiple, if applicable).
4: State your location (if people can visit your office or shop).
5: List your office hours to indicate when people can contact you.
6: Add links to social media channels (if any). Some people may prefer to contact you that way. But they can also discover your profiles and start following them.
Adding this information will ensure people can find you. But you can go the extra mile and add some more content that will not only ensure people can stay in touch with you but also make a connection.
7: Add images that show the people visitors can get in touch with. Or, add some images of your store or office, preferably including a friendly face. That can let people know you are an approachable business they can easily contact.
8: Include a map that clearly shows your location. Ideally, also include the option for people to see the directions to your location from where they are.
9: Include a contact form. Some people will prefer using this method of contacting you, so it’s good to have that option available. Tip: you can use Bluehost Website builder to easily add contact forms to your site.
10: If applicable, you can include information about your customer support and how to contact them.
The example below is taken from the Contact page of the SlidePeak design agency specialized in designing presentations. They made sure to add a few reassuring words at the start and lets customers know the business is ready to accommodate their needs. They deliver on that promise by adding multiple contact options such as a live chat, phone, email, and a contact form. They went the extra mile by adding photos of their staff and explaining what kind of questions a customer may approach them with. The whole page is clean, clear and easy to navigate.
A blog that convinces people of your expertise
Writing blogs on the topic you are an expert on is one of the best ways to rank your website high in the search results and ensure your business gets discovered. Blogs allow you to provide answers to people’s questions and show your expertise. However, writing blogs is time-consuming. At the same time, they don’t directly impact your profit. So, why would you want to have one?
As we mentioned, blogs are a great way to show your expertise. But, that doesn’t mean that you should write lengthy articles about your outstanding achievements or try too hard to sell your products. Instead, the main goal of a blog should be to solve people’s problems or provide them with the information they are looking for.
GreenBelly, a company specialized in creating and selling backpacking meals, is a great example of the kind of blog a small business should have. Take a look at all the wide range of topics they cover. They know that their customers are hiking adventurers. So, they give them tips and information on all things related to hiking – from clothing to gear and even gifts for hikers! Mind you, they just sell backpacking meals. But they cover all the essential things hikers need to know. These blogs are not meant to sell their products. They are there to give the information their target audience may need. Over time, they will establish trust and a relationship with the visitors, and chances are they will convert such visitors into customers.
Product pages (if you sell products online)
You may have a local store and decide to start selling online. Or you may have just started selling products online. Perhaps, you only offer digital products. Either way, in all those cases, your site needs to have excellent product pages for all the products you sell. Certainly, there are some elements you need to include on your product pages to ensure they do their job of selling the product.
1: Write unique product descriptions. If you don’t make the products you’re selling, don’t just copy and paste the description the manufacturers sent. Instead, come up with an original description that will convince the visitor to buy. If you think that it will cost you too much time, write original and unique descriptions at least for your most important products.
2: Use high-quality images. People can’t tell what your product is like just by reading a description of it. So, you need to show it to them! Show it in multiple high-quality images, from different angles. If you can, create a video as well.
3: Make the Buy buttons easy to find and click on. The goal of a product page is to sell a product. You can successfully sell if you make it easy for customers to see where they need to click to buy a product. Place the Buy button in a visible place and make it stand out by giving it a distinct color that matches your design.
4: Include customer reviews. People like to be assured that the product they are considering buying has been successfully tried by someone else. So, allow people to leave reviews and ratings on your products and display them on the product pages.
5: Add a section with similar products customers may be interested in. If a customer gets the impression that your product is not what they need, they may just leave the site. One way to convince them to stay is to show them a list of similar products that may fit their needs.
6: Show if you have items in stock. Adding information about whether the item on sale is in stock can manage people’s expectations. On the other hand, adding stock information can create a sense of urgency. If the product is in short supply, a customer may be pushed to make the decision to buy to avoid having the item be sold out.
7: Include information about delivery. The speed and the cost of delivery can have a huge impact on people’s decision to buy a product. So, tell people how fast you can deliver the product to them, and, if possible, what the costs of the delivery will be.
For an example of an excellent product page, we can go to Manduka, a company selling Yoga accessories. Firstly, on this Yoga mat product page, there are a number of eye-catching images showing the product from various angles. They even included a video of the product. When you can’t be in the store to touch and feel a product, these kinds of images are essential to give people an idea of it! Next, the title and description of the product are clear and give the information people need, such as the thickness of the mat. The Buy button (in this case – Add to cart) stands out and it’s hard to miss. They also included reviews and delivery options. Finally, below the product, there is the “You might also like” section which can lead customers to other products on the site.
Make sure your site works well
An excellent website is more than just the looks and the pages it contains. It also needs to function well technically. That means that the site needs to be safe, fast and easy for search engines and people to find. So, when working on it, make sure you get these essential things right.
Ensure your site is fast
People are used to sites that load fast. If yours doesn’t, chances are they are quickly going to leave. You can test the speed of your site by using tools like Google Lighthouse. You will receive a report about your site’s speed as well as recommendations on how to improve it.
Make your site safe
Browsers let people know when a site is not safe. If your site is not safe and visitors see that warning, they will likely immediately leave the site. One of the basic things you can do is ensure that your site uses HTTPS and an SDL certificate.
Make it easy for search engines to find your site
Search engines find content by following links. So, to make your pages easy to find, you need to have a good internal linking structure. In addition, you can also use an XML sitemap. Luckily, WordPress automatically generates an XML sitemap for your site, so you won’t need to do much about it. You should, however, connect your site to Google Search Console to track any errors Google may have encountered when trying to find your pages and get tips on how to solve them.
Make it easy for search engines to understand your pages
If you want to make it online, you need to use structured data with schema markup. Structured data is code that helps search engines understand your site and its content. The good news is that there are tools such as Yoast SEO and Local SEO that can help you automatically add structured data to your site and make it instantly understandable for search engines. As a result, you may get rich results for your pages in the search results.
Creating an excellent site for your small business is a work in progress. You need to consider many elements, and it can’t be done overnight. Instead, it requires continuous attention, maintenance, and improvement.
- A homepage that informs the visitor about the business and guides them through the site.
- A menu that is easy to find and navigate, and that contains the essential pages such as: an about us page, a contact page, a blog and pages for product (if applicable).
Finally, your site also needs to function well technically. So, you’ll need to make sure it’s safe, fast and easy to find, both for people and for search engines.
The time and resources you invest in your site will be worth it! Keep working on your site, keep informing your customers through it, establish a connection with them, and you should start seeing great results for your business!