72% of small businesses in South Africa don’t have a website, and the majority of the few that do have poorly developed, low-quality sites. While word of mouth and social media are two alternative ways to reach your potential customers, websites should be the core tool of your online presence. In fact, 65% of customers will stop considering your business if you don’t have a website. As you are reading this article, you certainly understand a website’s importance.
But what should a good small business website look like? What are its key components? You may find that’s a difficult question to answer. That’s why most small business owners think it’s too time-consuming or too costly to launch a site with the right components. This article will cover 5 critical components every website must have to ensure it’s an effective Sales & Marketing tool designed to increase your revenue.
1. A Well-Organised Navigation Bar
This may sound obvious to you, but customers prefer easy-to-navigate websites. Still, many small business sites don’t have a well-designed navigation bar.
Here’s how to design a user-friendly nav-bar:
- The navigation bar should appear at the top of every page, not just the home page. And when a visitor scrolls down your website, the navigation area can stay at the top. This is also called a sticky nav bar.
- A visitor must be able to reach all the important pages of your website from the navigation bar. If there are many pages in your site, you may use drop downs to organise the pages.
- Clicking the logo on your navigation bar should take a user to your homepage. The logo is usually placed at the top-left corner.
- As you know, mobile devices are responsible for 60% of web traffic on average; your navigation must work perfectly on a small screen. The best practice is to put all the nav bar links into a hamburger menu when a user is viewing your site on a small screen.
Example: www.vscpconsulting.africa – (Built by Melsoft)
2. On-Site Blog
You may think blogs are only useful for big companies but in reality, they are just as helpful for smaller businesses. In fact, an on-site blog may be what keeps you ahead of your local competitors.
Here are some key advantages that a blog gives you:
- An on-site blog shows your visitors that you are a knowledgeable person/brand. It works as an excellent trust signal.
- Relevant and well-written blog articles strengthen your online presence. The blog can play a crucial role in your online marketing strategy and bring new customers to your business.
- Blog content gives you a way to engage with your potential customers. Sharing informative blog posts in your social media will give your business a broader audience and exposure.
3. Basic Search Engine Optimisation
You should think about your SEO strategy right from the start of your website design project. Certain SEO best practices must be followed from the very beginning. Many small business website designers don’t have a clear grasp of search engine optimisation. Ignoring this facet may hurt your business’s growth in the long run.
Selecting the right target keywords for your business, choosing an SEO optimised URL, properly naming your meta tags and structuring your site’s pages in the proper hierarchy are just some of the SEO aspects that need to be addressed during the design process.
Here are some tips to make sure your small business site is SEO optimized:
- Have an idea about the basics of search engine optimisation
- Choose a small business website design agency which also has an SEO team
- Keep a note of the business-related keywords your competitors are using to rank in search results
If you are serious about business growth through online marketing, you should keep in touch with an SEO agency right from the start. We provide both web design and SEO service for small businesses. Contact us for a free quote.
4. SSL certificate
A lot of small businesses don’t have a secured website. SSL is essential for any website, even if you are not selling online.
- If your site doesn’t have SSL, Google Chrome shows a “Not Secure” sign beside your URL. This creates a credibility issue for your website. 84% customers want the websites they visit to be trustworthy.
- Google considers SSL an important ranking factor. So, not having an SSL certificate will hurt your SEO.
- Any small business website with an eCommerce or log-in facility must have SSL to ensure the security of user data.
- Once you get the SSL certificate for your website, your site URL will change to https. The data transmitted between your visitors and your server will be encrypted.
5. Analytics Integration and Conversion Trackers
The main aim of your website is to get targeted visitors and customers. So, you must be able to analyse or visualise customer behaviour data to determine how your site is performing. Most small businesses don’t bother much about visitor data analysis, and they are missing an important opportunity in this era of data.
Here are some questions that you should be able to answer:
- How many people are coming to your website? What’s the source of this traffic? Are they potential customers or just random surfers?
- How long are your visitors staying on your website? Which pages are getting the most visits?
- Are customers being converted from your website? Conversion means different things for different businesses. A conversion could mean the submission of a form, getting a call, or selling a product.
- Integrating appropriate tools to the backend of your small business website will let you answer these questions easily. Monitoring your website performance and optimising it based on data can easily put your small business ahead of its competitors.
To build a great website, you need a reliable Software Development Agency such as Melsoft. Melsoft has been developing high performing sites that boost their customer’s sales for years, and have been awarded several awards in doing so. They also have affordable packages for start-ups that allow them to start slow and expand as their business grows, as they have done with recognised companies such as Sony and VSCP Consulting. Contact Melsoft today to boost your business using the power of the internet.