Small business owners are notoriously busy. You have a business to run, a Web presence to manage, customers to serve, vendors to hunt down, invoices to pay, social media to keep up with, and, oh, sometimes you like to pretend to have a social life. With so many different things on your plate, wouldn’t it be nice if this week left time to get just ONE under control? If perhaps there were just a handful of things you could tackle to wake up in a better place next Monday?
Below are five simple things to tackle so you can start next week off ahead of the game and with a stronger Web site.
1. Focus On Your Navigation
Often overlooked, your site navigation is crucial to creating a successful Web site. Your nav is what a customer will use to get around and find the information on your site. To aid them in this journey, you want to make your navigation as intuitive and easy to use as you can. Don’t hide your navigation, don’t try and be “clever” when naming certain items – focus on giving your customers something they can use, and use quickly.
As general rule, your main navigation bar should be easy to find, look and feel consistent, have properly named tabs (“trash cans” not “garbage receptacles”) and should always let customers know where they are on your site. If you’re not sure how well your site navigation does at helping customers on their way, a service like usertesting.com can help you see, from a user perspective, what it feels like navigating around your site. It may also be time to do some keyword research to make sure the keywords and phrases you’re using in your site navigation are still relevant.
2. Create a Better About Page
If you’re like many small business owners, you do a pretty good job ignoring your About page. I mean, you created one. Mostly. You threw in some bio information, your address and you even included a nice stock image of a woman dutifully at work. It’s not like anyone really uses that page, right?
As an SMB, one of the worst things you can do for your Web site is to ignore your About page. This is where customers go to learn more about your business, to gain trust, to see what you’re about, and, ultimately, decide if you’re a company they want to do business with. Stock your About Page with the Must Haves like:
- Your story
- Your credentials
- What they can expect from you/your value
- Where they can get more info about you
- Humanizing details
It’s easy to look at your About page as a chore or something that makes you uncomfortable. Instead, think of it as your formal introduction to your audience. What do you want them to know about feel about your brand? Show it here.
3. Update Your Blog
Sometimes bringing life (and customers) back to your Web site really is that easy. Spend some time this week to update your blog. Create a new post that takes a look inside your business (and maybe highlights your new About page), answer a long-standing consumer problem, share your thoughts on where the industry is going in 2012. Just get writing and talking to your audience again.
Updating your blog not only gives your audience something to find and engage with, it gives the search engines something to find, as well. It gives them a reason to revisit your site
4. Get That Contact Form User-Ready
The goal for many service-based Web sites is to guide a customer to that all-important contact form. We need our visitor to fill it out and give us their information in order to continue a dialogue with them. If they leave our site WITHOUT making it to this point, we’ve lost them. Forever. Probably to a competitor.
What does your own contact form look like? If you’re not confident in its ability, you may want to go grab a family member, sit them in front of a computer staring at your Web site, and then ask them to navigate through your site with a specific purpose in mind. Are they able to get there and make it to the contact form or convert? Or do they get scared off along the way?
Your site’s contact form should follow a few rules:
- It should be intuitive.
- It should be simple.
- It should only ask for the information you absolutely need to take a relationship with your customers to the next level.
Where contact forms go wrong is when they either try to get too much information in one sitting or they intimidate your visitor – either due to length, scope or language. Keep it simple, only ask for the information you absolutely need, and you can be confident you have a form that will due it’s purpose.
5. Show Off Your Social Media
Another quick way to add some life to your Web site is to do a better job showcasing all of your different social media profiles. Are you on Twitter? On Facebook? Google+? Have a LinkedIn profile? Sweet. Make sure you’re including a prominent call to action for visitors to follow you on these networks. Include the icons directly on your home page and on other prominent pages of your site (like your blog, About page, or Contact Us page, for example). Not only does cross-linking these profiles increase their strength, it also gives customers another place to go engage with you. They can go to your Twitter account and ask you a question, or see what questions you’re already answering. They can head to Google+ and see the media you’re sharing. Or head to LinkedIn and hop into a discussion you’re leading. These are all great trust signals.
The more connected you can look to your customers, the more they’re going to trust that you’re a reputable SMB that will be around in the morning should something go wrong.
Those are just five small things you can do to your Web site this week to increase its strength and make it more valuable and engaging to a user. What plans do you have for your Web presence this week?