So I wrote a book – more of a booklet, really – about ways five ways to improve your small business website. In fact, that’s almost exactly what it’s called: Improve Your Small Business Website in Five Easy Steps.
For our the first step, get settled in front of the computer screen, crack your knuckles and place your fingertips on the the keyboards, you’re about to starting writing.
CONCENTRATE ON CONTENT
Informative, well-written material is the workhorse of your website. Customers can ― and will ― make quick decisions based on your website content. Put forth the time and effort required to establish a connection by following a few simple steps.
PUBLISH RELEVANT INFORMATION
I know. It sounds almost elementary, but you’d be surprised how many companies include inappropriate content on their websites.
Don’t fall into that trap!
Your web presence should promote your brand. Anything else ― a picture of your kid’s first tooth, your grandma’s apple pie recipe ― doesn’t belong on your website.
Don’t worry. You’ll have plenty to write about. Remember, you need to provide your prospective clients with useful, unique and fresh information.
You’ve been given a great opportunity. Take full advantage of it, and make sure you adequately describe the benefits of your product/service and explain to the visitor why they need it.
Your thorough explanation will only add to your credibility as an expert in your field.
UPDATE WEBSITE CONTENT REGULARLY
If you consistently update your website with new and suitable material, you’ll enrich your site with messages that target new and existing clientele. Not only does the additional content keep your clients interested in your product or service, it also helps garner a better SEO (search engine optimization) ranking.
One of the best ― and easiest ― ways to write fresh content is through a company blog.
I’ve heard all of the excuses: not enough time, nothing to write about, not a good enough writer, etc.
And do you know what I say to all of them? Phooey!
You don’t have to blog every day, or even every week. Just write consistently. Obviously, the more you blog, the more material you’ll generate, but it’s more important to create a schedule that you can keep.
Take it from my own personal experience, don’t write blogs at a frenetic pace only to quit after a couple of months. Your content goes stale and gives the impression that no one is home. Predetermine blog topics help to maintain consistency.
Set aside 10-15 minutes each month to brainstorm 5-10 blogging ideas. Just remember, they all need to further your brand.
Writing well takes practice. Start small and have someone proofread. Eventually, you’ll get the hang of it. If you’re still intimidated by the idea of writing, set aside a small budget and hire a ghostwriter. If done correctly, you will see an increase in web traffic.
THINK INVERTED PYRAMID
I’m at risk for sounding like my college journalism professor, but I’ll say it anyway: DON’T BURY THE LEAD.
When you’re writing content for your website or blog, put your most important information at the top of the article.
It’s that simple.
If I own a bicycle store and just got a new air pump in stock that cuts down fill time by 50 percent, I’m going to put that in the first sentence of my product description.
ADD TEXT STYLES FOR EMPHASIS
Web readers skim content. Don’t take offense. That’s how it’s done on screen. In order to make your site easy to read and interpret, it’s important that you format your text. By using bullet points, bold text and shorter graphs, you’ll be able to separate the important text from the fluff and help the reader synthesize the information.
INCLUDE THE MUST-HAVES
In the world of the web, certain content is more important than others. In order to get the most out of your website, you should have: an About Us and FAQ pages, contact information, a call to action, and a search bar.
An About Us page is important for a small business because it gives you the opportunity to tell the community who you are and what you do ― just keep it short and concise.
In addition to the basics, feel free to include customer testimonials here, or if you have a ton of positive reviews, by all means, create a separate page.
It’s common practice to add your contact information to your website’s headers and footers. If it’s not located there, make it highly visible or create a separate page for it (preferably in addition to header/footer location). Add an easy-to-use contact form and include your mailing address, fax, phone, email and any other relevant contact information you might have.
CALL TO ACTION
First, determine what your site is supposed to do. Is the goal to complete a purchase? Call for more information? Like you on Facebook? Set up a free consultation? You get the idea. Whatever goal you choose, make sure your call to action is easy to understand (provide instructions on how to complete, if necessary) and highly visible.
FAQ pages aren’t exactly necessary, but they can save you tons of time on the phone. If you find yourself managing the phones and answering the same questions over and over, write them out, answer them clearly and concisely and add them to an FAQ page.
REVIEW AND REVISE
For the love of all things holy, proofread, edit, revise and repeat.
You’ve worked hard to write relevant information. Don’t lose your credibility because you don’t know the difference between there and their or you’re and your.
If you’re not a great writer, enlist the help of a trusted friend, or if budget allows, hire a copywriter. Good copy can turn website visitors into customers.
DOWNLOAD THE REST OF THE BOOK
Can’t wait for the remaining four steps? No worries. Download your free copy here.