Having a website for your business is absolutely essential these days, yet plenty of business owners soldier on without one or neglect key elements or features they should have in place.
by: Tiffani Bell (@Tiffani)
Last year, the Boston Consulting Group conducted a report on the connected world/internet economy and found that “businesses that make use of the web are expected to grow 40 percent faster than those that don’t.”
It doesn’t make economic sense to not have a business website anymore and it’s even worse if you have one that you’re not fully leveraging to your advantage.
Start to think of your website as a digital storefront. It’s how prospective customers can find you online. And no, you don’t need a small business loan to get started, you can make simple changes right now to transform your business website into a more welcoming and informative destination.
Here are 7 pieces of information you should add to your business website right now (in no particular order):
1. Basic Information About Your Business
This may seem like a no brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people forget to put their contact information, business hours and/or address (if applicable) on their site. Make it easy for your customers to reach you during business hours.
2. Customer Testimonials
Do you have customers that are enthusiastic about your product or service and have no problem recommending you to other people? Use (with their permission of course) their positive tweets, emails or online reviews on your brand’s website as a way to show that you have a high quality product or service that is well-received. You can get really creative and record videos of your customers praising your business as well.
3. Loyalty Programs, Special Promotions or Discounts
If you’re running a holiday promotion or some type of customer appreciation sale, make sure that that information is visible as soon as someone visits your website.
4. Do You Have an Email Mailing List? Include a place for people to subscribe.
If you’re keeping any information at all about your customers, it should be their email addresses. Even if you don’t put out a monthly newsletter, you can still create a email mailing list to capture information about the people who visit your website and may be interested in your product or service. Having an email mailing list is a great lead generating tool that can be used in a number of ways.
You can use services such as Mailchimp, AWeber, MadMimi, or ConstantContact to design newsletters, manage your mailing list, and send out emails.
5. Recent Press and Awards
This is the section of your website where you’re supposed to tell people how awesome your business is. Don’t be shy! If you’re winning awards and getting mentioned in the media, you should absolutely include this information with a link to the media hit so that prospective customers or partners can read about all of your great work.
6. Links to Your Business’ Social Media Pages
Do you use Facebook to promote your business? Do you tweet about your business on Twitter? If so, provide links on your website to your Facebook and Twitter pages. Give current and prospective customers as many ways as possible to interact with your business online.
7. Website Security Information
This list could go on for days. But I always tell my clients that the most important thing to do is to get started. So if you’ve just started to build your business’s website, focus on including just enough information to get you to a point where you’re comfortable telling your customers to visit your site. You can add all of the bells and whistles later.
Tiffani Ashley Bell is the founder of Pencil You In, a scheduling service that helps small businesses book and grow their customer base more efficiently. She has appeared on CNN, Black Enterprise, Women 2.0 and more. You can find her on Twitter at @tiffani.