Entrepreneurs and small business owners of all stripes have one thing in common in the 21st Century — virtually all of them will have websites for their business, and whether they know it or not, a large degree of their success in business will be tied directly to those websites.
For better or for worse, it is likely that a huge proportion — maybe a significant majority — of the people who eventually come to use your services or buy your goods will have first found out about you via your website, and other online marketing efforts (which, more likely than not, will all point to your website anyway).
A well-presented and functional website should, therefore, be viewed as your first point of contact with a potential customer. It’s your “greeting”, your introduction to your services, and it will make a lasting impression.
So, if you haven’t found a home for your business website yet, you’d better step up the search for good hosting options. Here are some ways to get the most out of your small business website.
Speak directly to the point and address your prospects’ needs
Many websites which have a marketing angle will ramble incessantly, with page after page of hard-sell material and over-wrought calls to action to scroll through, just on the landing page alone.
Needless to say, while some people may go in for this approach, many others will be turned off instantly.
A far better option for your website is, as a general rule, to focus on being concise and to the point. Use language which is meaningful and impactful, but try to avoid using 10 words where one will do. Clearly describe who you are, what you do, what your credentials are, and what you can do for your client.
It’s also very important to correctly identify and address your prospects’ needs. What is the “problem” which people might be having that you, in particular, are able to solve? Don’t just answer this question on your site explicitly (although do that as well), but paint a vivid picture with your words so that your prospects can see the benefit of using your services, not just the “feature” you offer.
In other words, you need to craft a compelling narrative. Not just “I can build websites” but “I can build websites that will catch people’s attention and increase your engagement.”
Include a blog
A blog isn’t just a place where you record your personal musings about your favorite brand of breakfast cereal or that cute member of the opposite sex you made eye contact within a coffee shop. A blog can also be a fantastic tool for increasing customer engagement with your business and can go a long way toward boosting your professional credibility within your particular niche.
Your work blog should, ideally, be about subjects related to your industry and the particular sort of work you do within that industry. You should create content which is interesting and engaging for your readers, and you should be mindful of addressing genuine concerns that your readers might face, rather than just churning out the words for the sake of getting some content posted on a regular basis.
To get the greatest possible benefit out of your blog, you should have a regular posting schedule, whether once a week, or three times a week, so that readers can know what to expect.
Having a blog may also help your website’s SEO to a significant degree.
Feature a portfolio and testimonials
Having a portfolio on your work site, featuring samples of your past work where applicable, and having testimonials on display from those who were helped by your products or services, can have a dramatic effect when it comes to boosting the professionalism of your image and brand.
Don’t just throw up a bunch of unsourced quotes on your website, however. “This company is so great – Jack” is not a testimonial, it’s the kind of thing which everyone who sees it will write off as fake, and which all too often will be fake.
Your testimonials should include at least a couple of sentences, be attributed to people by first and last name, and — wherever possible — should feature their photographs and links to their businesses or LinkedIn profiles.
Testimonials are a way of showing new clients, or would-be clients, which you’re trustworthy and are more than capable of turning in high-quality work. Testimonials, in other words, serve as a way of pre-approving yourself to people who may be skeptical, or uncertain.
This post was done in collaboration and may contain affiliate links.