There’s a lot to think about when it comes to building a stand-out website for a small business. Along with a good web host, easy-to-use content management system and marketing tools, these following tips below can make the difference between a new client or a closed browser window.
A great small business website will recognise that these tips matter as part of its overall offering to current and future clients. Does your website tick all these boxes?
Ensure web design consistency
Do your page titles match your navigation menu links? Are your product and service names consistent and easy to distinguish from each other? Does the navigation menu work the same way across your website? A few small inconsistencies might not seem like a huge issue, but they can seriously undermine the confidence of a potential customer. Make sure your business is represented in the best way possible by using consistent interfaces, terminology and design elements throughout your website.
We use the power of Kentico with our web development experience to ensure consistency where it matters most. An example is using hierarchical viewers, we can generate a menu that links the menu item to the respective page title, meaning when you simply create a new page in the relevant section your menu updates to match. No more confusing user experiences or double handling of information.
Another way we keep consistency across your site is leveraging Page Templates. These define the layout that can be applied to certain kinds of new pages, ensuring consistency for user experience, and an easy-to-use page creation process for web site administrators or content editors. Say goodbye to hours of additional editing to keep your pages looking the same every time someone in your organisation adds new content.
Have the ability to make quick content updates
Sometimes life throws you a curveball, and even the quietest of websites can need an urgent amendment. Ideally, there is at least one person within your small business who has the admin access and the knowledge to update critical information on your website. If that duty falls upon a person or company outside of your business, be sure you have a quote in advance for rushed updates, including those performed on weekends and public holidays. At Integranet we always give global admin access to our clients and include a complimentary how to guide on the system built so that even if your staff member leaves or your team grows you can always have complete control and ownership of your website. Before you pay for a web design agency to build your next site, check to make sure their developers will also train you on how to use it. It's only fair (or at least we think so).
Quick tip - Ask your website developer if you have global administrator access, if not they should give you the full control of the site that you’ve paid for.
When we deliver any digital solution, our team reduces the use of hardcoded values wherever possible. Meaning you don’t need a developer every time you need to make a change to your site, and you’re not backed you into a corner where you have to go back to the same developer every time you want to manage your website. We believe in complete freedom and independence for our clients. This approach allows full no-stress customisation. Do you have a widget header which needs to be changed? Easy, just modify the field in the widget configuration and call it whatever you like. Need to change the phone number displayed in your footer? Simply modify a resource string to reflect the new number and you’re done.
Highlight your location and area of operation
If you haven't already make sure you purchase the right URL/domain name to start with. A quick review of basic data or analytics will help detemine a URL that's suitable for your business. If your business specifically operates only in a certain city or other geographical area, you can even consider making that location prominent in your website’s domain name. Our clients Perth Zoo and Moore Stephens WA are two classic examples. Your area of operation should also be present in text on the Homepage, About us and Contact page – or any other relevant page.
The value of emphasising your geographic location will ultimately depend on the exact nature of the services you are offering your clients. Experimenting with a variety of approaches and working with SEO experts will help you reach the people you need to over the longer term.
Obviously including an embedded map will be useful for your website visitors, though you shouldn’t rely solely on embedded maps or images to convey your geographical location or service area. They are however excellent supplemental information, including it in text form offers greater accessibility for your website visitors, and improved search engine optimisation performance. If you are a current or potential client, ask us about our range of powerful map widgets that can integrate with Google, Active Directory and IntraMaps.
Automate checkouts, online payments & invoicing
Small businesses, particularly those delivering services only to their local area, typically receive cash payments and traditional bank transfers. But have you considered the array of modern and streamlined payment options? Having a website opens up a new world of efficiencies for managing your invoices and financial processes. We worked closely with Moore Stephens to create a custom built portal to share data with clients, and we are working with Perth Zoo to completely transform their point of sale management (ticketing) system. You may offer a regular ongoing service like lawn mowing or personal training, payment could be set up using a recurring online payment plan. This can be implemented through website ecommerce extensions and widgets. Automating payments can save both you and your clients headache, save time and allow you to grow or focus on other service areas. If you don’t know if investing in a custom built intranet, portal or e-commerce function for your business is a worthwhile investment, let us come in for a free consultation and break down your options.
Even for one-off services or products, conducting eCommerce through your website has many benefits, including streamlining bookkeeping, and making it easier for international visitors to convert prices on the fly.
Make use of ‘real’ images & videos
Investing in a professional photographer to take real photographs of your business and staff on-the- job can add a whole new layer of credibility and professionalism to your website. It also really helps with remembering work that you’ve completed and reflecting back on all the tasks and meetings that took place. We all know that before and after shots add a lot of value to a builder or renovator – what is the equivalent for your business? And with free video hosting services such as YouTube available, it’s even easier to give your clients a full picture of what your business has to offer.
Leverage client testimonials & feedback
One of the most simple and easiest things to capture and add to your website, though it often is forgotten or not prioritised. Lately we’ve been cracking down on this internally, and it is especially easy to do when you have lots of happy clients (humble brag). Some great ways to collect feedback include surveys, feedback boxes, reaching out directly via email or by phone, reviewing your analytics and live testing with your clients. We recommend that you ask for your feedback to have some context or anything else that makes them feel ‘real’ and with information that is helpful.
Let’s use an example from our latest website development project and happy client Rise Network. Imagine if we only had this as their feedback:
“It’s great to work with a team who are honest."
– Alison, Rise Network Marketing & Communication Manager
How much would a new customer gain value and trust compared to this actual version which provides additional context:
“We worked with Integranet to create the website remotely from our offices for the majority of the project. They were on hand and responded quickly and efficiently each time we needed their assistance via email and over the phone. It’s also great to work with a team who are honest and give their expertise guidance and knowledge when a request is not always doable or technically appropriate. The Rise team were often given multiple solutions to choose from as the website progressed, and plenty of top-tips to ensure consistency and functionality were maintained.”
– Alison, Rise Network Marketing & Communication Manager
This version is an excellent start, but you can go further. Partner this with an image, video or mock-up to visually show the work for a truly stand-out recommendation. Also check out the Rise website, intranet and software development project here.
A great website combines the intuitive technology with a powerful digital strategy
At Integranet we build custom, fit-for-purpose websites, that don’t just address your technical requirements that but will also cost less than you think, and provide amazing return on investment. We will also help with your small business digital strategy needs, too. Get started on taking your website to the next level by contacting us for a free consultation today.