9 Essentials To Optimize Your Small Business Website
A small business must have a website to reach online customers. A website is the foundation of your online marketing strategy. A small business website is essential to promote your products and services and provide information about your business. A small business website must include some key features to convert website visitors to customers and increase leads, conversions and sales.
Most customers use mobile devices to make online search queries and browse the web for information. Having a mobile friendly website is no longer an option, it’s a requirement for doing business.
Every small business website design must have the standard website features such as a logo, easy navigation, Home page, About Us page, Products or Services Pages. In addition we recommend that every website is optimized with the features listed below.
9 Ways to Optimize Your Small Business Website To Increase Leads & Conversions
1. Get a Domain Name with a SSL Certificate and a Secure Web Hosting Plan
a. Domain Name For Your Website
To have a small business website built for your business, you need to get a domain name for your website. Your domain name is usually the name of your company.
For most business websites, a .com domain is preferable.
Your domain name should be short, easy to spell and remember. Avoid using numbers, hyphens or other symbols in your domain name.
Short domain names are in very high demand, so its best to get your domain name as soon as you can.
You can purchase a domain name from a web hosting company. There are many web hosting companies like Namecheap.com, GoDaddy.com or Bluehost.com to name a few.
b. A Secure Hosting Plan
To host your website, you will need to purchase a hosting plan from a web hosting company. Most hosting plans for small and medium businesses are shared hosting plans. To begin, you can start with a basic hosting package. As your website grows, you can upgrade your hosting package.
You can purchase a hosting package when you purchase your domain name from a web hosting company like the companies listed above.
c. A SSL(Secure Sockets Layer) Certificate For Security
An SSL certificate is needed for website security and highly recommended since secure websites have higher search rankings as well. You can purchase an SSL certificate from your web hosting company.
A secure website will have a url beginning with https://
A secure website is required for an e-commerce website if you plan to sell products or services online. It is also required if you are going to store sensitive customer information like credit card numbers or other customer information on your website.
A secure website is recommended even if your site is for marketing purposes or a blog. It increases customer trust in your website.
Secure websites are beginning to rank higher in the search rankings on Google and are good for SEO rankings. The Google Chrome browser has started flagging any non-HTTPS sites as not secure.
2. Your Website Must Be Mobile-Friendly with Responsive Web Design
Your web design must be mobile-friendly and responsive. A web developer can help you with website development or you can contact us for help.
Mobile devices continue to be the primary means by which consumers make online search queries and access websites. A Pew Research Center survey conducted in January 2017 found that 77% of Americans use smartphones. A mobile friendly website is essential for a small business for digital marketing to connect with customers and increase leads and sales.
Here are some interesting statistics from Google
• In 2015, the number of search queries on mobile devices on Google in the USA exceeded those on desktops.
• 94% of people in the USA who own smartphones use their smartphones to search for local information.
• 77% of mobile searches will occur at home or at work where desktop computers are also available.
• 82% of smartphone users search online to find local businesses.
• 82% of people check their smartphones while they are in a store to make shopping decisions.
• In 2012, 50% of people said they will use a business less often if its website is not mobile-friendly.
These statistics indicate how important it is that your small business website is mobile friendly. When a customer lands on your website, your website should perform well on a smartphone. All the information should be easy to read, contact forms should be easy to fill out and the website should be simple to navigate.
Since most online searches are taking place on mobile devices, major search engines like Google are switching to a mobile-first search index. Google began rolling out their mobile-first search index to websites that they considered were ready in September 2018. All remaining websites are scheduled to be rolled over in September 2020.
In addition to being mobile friendly, your website must also be designed with Responsive Web Design (RWD).
Responsive Web Design (RWD) is a method used to develop mobile friendly websites. A website that is Responsive will scale in size to fit the size of the mobile phone, laptop or desktop that the customer is using to browse your website. Responsive web design ensures that all the information is available and is easy to use on all devices.
Google recommends using Responsive Web Design over other web design types.
The advantage of responsive web design or RWD is that you only have one website on a single URL to update and maintain. You will not need to have a separate mobile website and a desktop website with all the maintenance headaches of keeping 2 websites updated.
A single responsive website is designed to scale in size and perform well on all types of devices from smartphones to tablets to laptops to desktops. It is truly a “One Size Fits All” approach to web design.
A small business website that is responsive provides an optimum user experience and ensures that your website performs well in today’s multi device environment. It keeps your website visitors happy and they are likely to visit again.
To read more about why Mobile friendly websites are essential for online marketing, check out our article here:
7 Reasons Why Mobile-Friendly Websites Are Essential for Online Marketing
3. Your Website Must Be Optimized for SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
It is essential that a small business website is optimized for Search Engine Optimization or SEO. SEO helps to improve your website rankings so that it is found when customers search online.
Search Engine Optimization or SEO is a marketing method of optimizing websites and web pages to improve their rankings in search engines. SEO helps to increase the quality and quantity of organic or free traffic that your website receives from the search engines.
SEO helps to improve your website’s rankings in competitive search engine listings on Google and other search engines. It is estimated that Google alone gets more than 70% of search traffic and it is the leading search engine today.
Your website needs to compete with millions of other listings and rank well on the Google search results in order to be found when your customers search for your products and services.
Search engines are the most important source of new visitors to websites.
It is estimated that 85% of customers begin their search for products and services on the Internet.
With Search Engine Optimization, targeted traffic is directed to your website based on search keywords which are relevant to your business.
In April 2015, Google changed their search algorithm to give mobile-friendly sites a higher search ranking. This means that on Google search queries, responsive or mobile-friendly websites will get a higher search ranking compared to non-responsive websites.
If you are a local business, your small business website must be optimized for local SEO to reach local customers. You should list your business in Google My Business with all relevant information including your business address, phone number, services and other details. Your business should also be listed in local directory listings such as Yelp, Angie’s List, Yellowpages and others.
Here are some statistics from Google studies on local search:
• 4 in 5 consumers use search engines to look for local information
• 50% of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphones visited a store within a day, and 34% of consumers who used their laptops or desktops to search did the same.
• 18% of local searches on smartphones lead to a purchase in 1 day vs. 7% of non-local searches
As Mobile-First becomes the new standard followed by Google and others, it is important to have a mobile friendly website which is optimized for SEO to rank well on search engine listings.
Read more about SEO in our article:
What is SEO and Why is it Important?
4. Your Website Must Have a Blog for Content Marketing
A small business website must have a blog with informative articles, videos, images and infographics relevant to your business. Your blog is important for content marketing to bring visitors back to your website. It should provide useful and engaging articles to your visitors.
A blog brings visitors back to your website regularly to read articles. Once you regularly publish engaging and informative articles on your Blog, visitors are more likely to come back and engage with your business. They will sign up for your newsletter, contact you for more information or make a purchase.
Content marketing with a blog is also very important for SEO. You can have articles with important keywords that will rank well in the search engines and bring visitors directly to your website.
A Blog also helps with Inbound marketing. This is a method of attracting target customers to your business at a minimal marketing cost compared to outbound marketing methods like radio and print ads.
Once your target customers are on your website, it gives you more opportunities to engage with your visitors and convert them to customers.
A WordPress blog on your website will make it easy for you to post your articles regularly.
5. Ensure You Have Fast Website Speed and Quick-Loading Images
As mobile websites become the norm, website page speed and page size become increasingly important. Web pages that load fast are essential as a majority of consumers are browsing websites on their smartphones.
According to a Google report,
• 53% of mobile site visitors will leave a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load
• As page load time increases from 1s to 3s, the bounce rate increases by 32%
• As page load time goes from 1s to 10s, the bounce rate increases to 123%
All images on your website have to be kept small and compressed for your web pages to load fast. Large, slow-loading images may look great once loaded, but no one is going to wait around for them to load.
Page Speed and page size have to be kept low for optimum mobile web experiences.
The values recommended by Google are:
• Average page speed should be 3 seconds or less.
• Web page size should be 500KB or less.
Read more about Page Speed in out article on Speed Matters: 4 Reasons Why Website Page Speed Affects Website SEO Rankings and Conversions
6. Your Website Should Have Simple Navigation and a Contact Form with Few Fields
Your website should have simple navigation so that customers can easily find the products or services they are looking for.
Your website should also have a contact form for visitors to contact you. While it may be tempting to get a bunch of details from visitors including business names, addresses and phone numbers, studies have indicated that its best to keep requested information to a minimum.
Contact forms that request only names and email addresses have a higher conversion rate than longer forms. So it’s best to limit the number of fields on your contact forms and request the minimum information from your visitors.
7. Monitor Your Website Performance With Google Analytics and Google Search Console
Your business website must be linked to Google Analytics and Google Search Console to track useful information about how your visitors use your website and monitor site traffic. This is an important way to track your traffic and make site improvements.
Both Google Analytics and Google Search Console are free tools from Google that enables you to collect a lot of useful information about your website. You will need to set up Analytics and Search Console accounts and Google will provide you with some code to add to your website. Your web developer can easily integrate the code into your website.
Google analytics provides a wealth of useful information about your website traffic and how people interact with your website.
• sources of website traffic
• information about the number of site visitors
• your website bounce rate
• which countries and cities your visitors are coming from
• which referring websites are sending you the most traffic
• pages your visitors are landing on
• pages they are exiting from
• how much time they are spending on your site
• how they travel through your site
Google Search Console helps you monitor and maintain your website performance.
Search Console enables you to:
- Monitor your website performance
- Identify search queries used by customers to find your site.
- Check indexing status and crawl errors.
- Monitor for security issues such as hacking or malware.
- Check for manual actions or Google violations.
- Receive alerts from Google on any issues that they find with your site.
This information is valuable for a business. Without it, you have no visibility into what is going on in your website. This insight can help you improve your website, focus on your key marketing channels and target your advertising more accurately.
8. Integrate Your Website with Your Social Media Accounts
Social media marketing is important for every small business to increase brand recognition and sales. Regularly posting interesting articles and blog posts on social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and others can increase your marketing reach and bring in leads.
Your website must be integrated with your social media accounts so that people can follow you on social media. Social media buttons that are connected to your social media accounts can be displayed on your website footer. Social media share buttons should also be displayed on your blog posts so that readers can easily share your articles with their social media networks.
9. Get Regular Website Maintenance For Security
Regular website maintenance is needed to update website software with the latest security enhancements and keep your website secure from hackers. Website software such as WordPress software and plugins change regularly and need to be updated. You should have a web developer maintain and update your website every few months to keep your website secure.
Every small and medium business must have a professional website for online marketing and sales. Your small business website has to be optimized so that it will perform at its full potential to bring in leads and sales.
To effectively reach and convert a maximum number of visitors, your small business website must be mobile friendly, load fast and be search engine optimized. Having a blog for content marketing and enabling people to easily share your blog articles with their social media accounts is also essential.
We hope you found this article helpful for optimizing your small business website and increasing your customer conversion rate. Please check back soon for more articles and remember to follow us on social media.
Article First Published: March 17, 2017, Updated: July 8, 2020
1. Google, Understanding Consumers Local Search Behavior, https://think.storage.googleapis.com/docs/how-advertisers-can-extend-their-relevance-with-search_research-studies.pdf
2. Google, Find out how you stack up to new industry benchmarks for mobile page speed, https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/articles/mobile-page-speed-new-industry-benchmarks.html
3. Pew Research Center, Mobile Fact Sheet, January 2017
4. Pew Research Center, Demographics of social media users in 2016
- 7 Reasons Why Mobile Friendly Websites Are Essential To Online Marketing
- 5 Reasons Why Responsive Web Design Is Essential To Your Internet Marketing Strategy
- Responsive Web Design: Why Is It Important?
- What Is SEO or Search Engine Optimization?
Need Help With Your Website or Digital Marketing?
Gold Mango Design LLC. helps small and medium businesses build a strong online brand and increase leads with digital marketing services. Our digital marketing services include Google Ads PPC (Pay per Click) Marketing & Management, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Mobile-Friendly Web Design & Web Development, Google Analytics, Digital Marketing consulting and more. We are located in Plano, TX right outside Dallas. We serve businesses in Dallas, Plano,Richardson, Frisco, Allen, McKinney and the rest of the USA. Contact us at https://goldmangodesign.com