The website is the heart of a small business’s online marketing strategy.
Your digital advertising will work best when it brings visitors back to your site so that they learn more about your business, what you offer, and how they can make a purchase.
This is especially true for area businesses, who need to provide certain information to customers — like where your business is and when you’re open — if they want to turn their interest into conversions.
These site features and strategies help ensure that your local business website offers customers everything they need.
Essential Site Features
These are the must-haves. No matter what kind of business you run or how large of an area you serve, these pages and site features will provide some key information for your customers.
These features help make sure that customers know the basics of your business and can get in touch or make a purchase if they’re interested in what your business offers.
The Five W’s: Key Business Information
There is certain information about your business that you’ll always want to provide.
A good business site should cover the five W’s a customer may have — who, what, when, where, and why.
That is, who is your business? What do you sell? When and where do you sell it? And why should customers pick your business over the competition?
Typically, an about page, a contact page, and an online storefront or catalog, if you sell products online, will cover most of this information.
Providing your address, hours and phone number in an easy-to-find location or two will help ensure that customers can get in contact if they have questions.
Answering these questions will also help you establish your brand identity in the minds of your customers.
Many businesses put this info on their contact page and also in their site-wide footer. This way, users can find where your business is and when it is open by scrolling to the bottom of the page.
It’s also important to include pages that allow customers to buy goods or schedule appointments if needed.
For example, your business may want an online storefront, a digital catalog, an online copy of your menu, or an appointment form. These pages ensure that customers can buy directly from your business or know what they need to do to purchase the services you offer.
There are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to site navigation, but most businesses use the roughly same design approach to provide streamlined navigation.
As a result, customers tend to have some expectations about how your site will be designed and where things should be. Following these expectations is the quickest way to create an easy-to-navigate site.
For example, most business sites put their logo in the top left corner of the page. This logo also doubles as a link back to the homepage from anywhere on the site.
Both the placement of the logo and the link back to the homepage are so standard that customers may get confused if you mix things up.
Typically, businesses will use a simple navigation header to provide access to essential site content.
On the mobile version of their site, in the interest of saving space, they may use an expandable menu that takes up part or all of the screen when tapped.
Important pages should be visible and easy to access no matter where a user is on the site. Most navigation headers, for example, will always include links to the about page, storefront, and contact page.
Other information — like specific blog posts or product pages — can be tucked behind other links or header menu items.
Depending on your site design, you may also need contextual menus that appear only in certain areas of the site.
For example, a business may use an additional header that breaks down a blog by topics or a catalog by product type.
Analytics, Tools, and Site Maintenance
Once you have the basics in place, it’s a good idea to work on your analytics strategy.
Site analytics information — like the data gathered by Google Analytics and similar platforms — will give you essential insights into where visitors are coming from, what content they look at, and how long they stick around.
Analytics can help you refine your content strategy and identify issues that may be contributing to high site-wide or page-specific bounce rates.
Sales tracking tech and an effective sales process will ensure that the information you gather from contact forms doesn’t go to waste.
Over time, you can use analytics and sales tracking information to improve your site, adding extra content that visitors may be interested in, or tweaking the design to make it more user-friendly.
This will be a long-term process. Your business website doesn’t need to be updated daily, but checking in on your analytics and site every so often will help ensure that information is accurate and your content is fresh.
Regular check-ins will also help you catch issues that may be encouraging customers to look elsewhere.
Nice-To-Have Site Features
Once you have the basics in place — your essential site pages and site tools are online — you can start building out your site with some nice-to-have but not necessary features.
For example, many businesses use their website to lay the foundation for their content marketing strategy.
Developing content based on keywords and information that is relevant to your target audience is one of the best ways to draw in extra traffic, potentially boosting conversions.
Providing information specific to your local area can also help. Even something as simple as mentioning your location in articles can help to bump up your site in searches for local businesses.
Building a Local Business Website That Converts
The right features and content will help you make sure your business website converts local visitors.
Effective navigation and key business information are some of the most important elements to include.
Analytics and sales tracking tech will help you tweak your site to further boost conversions and draw traffic.
Over time, as you gather more information on how visitors are browsing your site, you can make additional changes to keep your site’s design fresh and to minimize design snags that may be frustrating visitors.