Top 10 Website Tips for Small Businesses

Our Planet Marketing small business website tips
Website worries? Our Top 10 Tips…

Looking for website tips for a small business? These days a website is not optional for a business – it is mandatory.

Also long gone are the days of dodgy looking websites and poor image quality. Your website needs to look professional, be user-friendly and quick to load, be informative, be found easily, and be accessible on a mobile device – and be Google friendly.

Your website is your shop-front. It’s often the first point of contact that someone has with your business, so it’s very important to create a good first impression. Ensure your website is presenting the best possible image of your business at all times.

We regularly see small businesses trying to save money on a website by doing it themselves or getting a friend to help. Most of the time this ends up being a bad decision – costing the business owner lost time and money, and often having to start from scratch again with a new website. Your website is a key investment in your business – and your key marketing tool, so make sure you do it right.

Also an important point, you own your website (unlike your social media pages which you don’t actually own at all) – so your website is where you should be directing people to. Don’t just depend on your social media pages, which is the equivalent of putting all your eggs in one basket.

Before you start developing a website, we suggest the following 6 steps:

  1. Do your homework – research other websites, especially your key competitors, and make a list of what you need and like
  2. Create a ‘website brief’ which includes all the specifications you require
  3. Talk to a marketing consultant or get marketing advice before signing an agreement to commence building a website (don’t just talk with a website developer – many are not ‘marketing’ experts, they are website development experts – two different things) – especially if it’s the first time you’re building a website
  4. Ensure you obtain several quotes from website developers who are experienced and have client sample websites they can show you
  5. Make sure the quote includes all the tools you need; and specifies what’s included or not eg. is data content input included? images? is hosting included? is onging SEO or maintenance available?
  6. Make sure you have your content and images ready – to make the process as streamlined as possible. Write all the texts in advance, considering what text and image will go on each page. If need be, outsource a copywriter to assist you, and make sure SEO is considered during this process eg. keywords are important.

If you already have a website, below are our top 10 tips to ensure your website is performing as well as possible for you – especially if you are a small business.

Top 10 Website Tips

  1. Is your website mobile friendly & mobile responsive? If not, upgrade or get a new one fast! If you’re not sure, ask for advice.
  2. Does it have easy-to-find contact details – on the home page? Not having a clearly visible phone number is one of the fastest turnoffs for potential customers – transparency is vital for small businesses.
  3. Do you tell people who you are and your purpose? This includes showing your personality, an ‘About Us’ page, photos of your team.
  4. Can you capture data (email addresses)? This includes an opt-in or signup function; or a sales funnel.
  5. Do you have a clear “call-to-action” on your home page? What do you want visitors to your site to do; what step should they take next?
  6. Do you regularly add new and authentic SEO and keyword-friendly content?
  7. Is your website quick to load and easy to navigate? Quick means less than 3 seconds ideally
  8. Are your social media links visible & working? Ideally on your home page (header & footer)
  9. Are your images relevant and reflect your brand, professional quality & do you have the license to use them?
  10. Can you measure the performance of your website? Do you know where visitors to your site are coming from?

How do you know your website is performing properly or not? Make sure you ask people for feedback on a regular basis. Your website might make sense to you, but more importantly, it needs to make sense and work for your customers. Also ensure you have a website measurement tool installed to analyse your website’s performance; Google Analytics is the most common one.

Of course, there are other items to include and manage to ensure your website is performing optimally, but the above list provides the key points to get you started.

If you’re not sure if your website is performing well, or if you are thinking of building a new website, please contact us to discuss. We can assist and provide quotes for a website audit, to upgrade an existing website, or for a new website.

If you have any questions, comments, or additional suggestions to add to this list, please let us know. We’d love to hear from you. Check out our Blog for other marketing tips; or Contact us.

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Do-it-yourself Marketing activities for Small Businesses

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Small Business Marketing Activities to implement during COVID-19 crisis

I’ve had this discussion with a lot of small businesses over the last few weeks: what should we do about our marketing at the moment?

The nearest comparable situation in recent times would be the GFC. Data and anecdotal feedback from the GFC event showed that those businesses that continued with some marketing and advertising (albeit altered marketing activities) bounced back quicker and better – than those that stopped marketing and advertising and then restarted after the event was over.

So… if we are to continue with our marketing, and keep ourselves and our staff proactively engaged in marketing and business activities during the coming weeks and possibly months, what activities can we afford to implement if our budget and income are minimal?

These suggestions below are particularly suitable for micro and small businesses – as most of the activities you can do yourself (or be done by your staff), with minimal or no extra cost involved.

You can also catch up with me for a FREE online chat to discuss your marketing direction – please just Book a Time Here! (45 min online video chat) or book a 30-min Phone Call here.

Here are my “Top 10 Marketing & Business Activities” to continue with:

Update your Marketing Plan

This should be the starting point of all marketing – regardless of the situation. Even at a time like now with COVID-19, having a marketing plan is still crucial. So, if you have a marketing plan, go through it and revise it for the next approximate 4-6 months; with the aim to keep it flexible and fluid so it can be easily downscaled or upscaled as things proceed over the next month or so. Where suitable, cancel big expense items (ie. paid advertising, print, and events obviously), and focus on continuing lower cost activities like organic social media, enewsletters, and blogs.

Make changes to your plan: revise your target markets; are there different target markets you could be focusing on now? Look at your SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) – what’s changed? Is there an opportunity that you can create by changing your product offering slightly and targeting a new audience? Clearly online activities (eg. webinars, video meetings, online shopping) are ideal opportunities available for those businesses that can provide services online or via home delivery.

If you don’t have a marketing plan, use this enforced slow time to develop your plan – and get ready for when things pick up again. Regardless of your situation, all businesses should have a marketing plan – even if just a basic one. If you need help creating your marketing plan – please feel free to Contact me with any questions; or please Book a Time Here!

Tidy Up Business Processes

Take this time to tidy up your internal business processes: clear out old files, do archiving, sort out your images folders, and ensure all your backups are in place.

Consider your ‘sales funnel’ process (in particular any automated emails) – is it still relevant at the moment? Can it be improved?

What can you do to improve your customer experience at the moment, or in the future?

Now’s a great time to install new software to help streamline your business. Do your research, and invest your time in online training tutorials (which is what I’m doing with Zoho One – my new toy at the moment). There will be some very good deals out there too!

Memberships

Revise all your memberships and subscriptions. Do you need them all? Are you making the most out of them? If not, save some money and unsubscribe or cancel them.

Write some useful articles or host a free webinar that can be shared with your member groups – a great way of showing your expertise and to build trust in your business.

Some business memberships are offering “free deals” at the moment – including the CCIQ here in Queensland. CCIQ’s Business Essentials annual membership is currently free for 1 year; offer expires 31 March 2020.

Business Governance

Now more than ever, make sure all your business registrations, renewals (including web hosting, domains etc), insurances, and risk analysis procedures are all up-to-date.

I have one excel file that includes all my key business details and renewal dates, so I always have everything easily at my fingertips.

Content Creation

Step 1: Change your existing content to suit the current mood. I have seen some automated ads still running on social media that are clearly unsuitable (and slightly distasteful) at the moment; which means your business appears out-of-touch and lacking empathy – and potentially damaging to your brand. Make sure you’re not making this mistake.

Note: ensure you are keeping your customers and potential customers informed about any changes you are making due to health or business restrictions; and how you are keeping staff and customers safe.

Step 2: Revise or create your content marketing plan; setting out key activities and pre-scheduling content where possible. A good content marketing plan should cover all content – including offline content too if relevant (ie. brochures, posters, business profiles, sales kits, packaging etc.)

Step 3: Create your new content. Now’s a great time to catch up on content writing. Prepare and write blogs, articles (for print & online), newsletters, social media posts, and create graphics or images to accompany your content. Create a content stockpile that will see you through the next 12 months – which means when things get busy again, you’ll be ahead of the game.

If you’re a small business creating your own graphics, take the time to explore Canva – a very easy-to-use program (which I love using), with a free version available. If you don’t have graphic design skills in-house Canva is a lifesaver.

Database Cleanup

Sort out your databases. Add missing details to key files. Make sure you have your contacts in the right categories. Upload any new contacts into your email software eg. Mailchimp or Active Campaign. Delete or archive old contacts. Do you regularly export your database files? This should be done regularly to ensure you have backups. Your databases are a key asset for a small business, so look after them.

Update your Website

Do an audit of your website. Is it all up-to-date? Obviously depending on your business model, there may be some exceptions to the following, but here are my top tips to check:

  • Refresh your images
  • Update old content ie. old dates, events or incorrect details
  • Add new text copy or pages to keep the site fresh and keep the Google bots happy!
  • Check your SEO – what could be improved? This includes both in the backend of your website, and your text content – is it SEO friendly?
  • Are your links all working? Ensure your internal links are maximised; and check external ones are still correct.
  • Forms – are they all working correctly? Are they secure to avoid spam bots and hacking?
  • Any new tools you can add? For example: an online appointment booking tool, or a live chat function.
  • Downloads – do they need updating?
  • Is your website platform version up-to-date?
  • Are your backups occurring on a regular basis? If you’re not sure, check with your web hosting company.
  • Is your website mobile friendly and responsive? If you have an old website, now’s a good time to get it upgraded to ensure you maximise your online presence.
  • Is your website hosted on https (secure) and has a SSL certificate – this is especially important if you are taking payments online
  • Is your website quick to load? Tip: needs to be under 3 seconds.
  • Contact details – make sure all your contact details are clearly visible (ideally on all pages; and/or in the header and footer) – this includes having your telephone number on your home page. No visible phone number is a mistake I see a lot.
  • Are your social media pages / links clearly visible on your website? Ideally on your home page.
  • Do you have social sharing tools switched on for sharing your web pages and blogs easily?
  • Check all your plugins – plugins can slow down your website, so make sure you remove any unnecessary ones; or get your website developer to check if better alternatives may be available

Audit other Marketing Tools

While you have some time, what else can be updated? Here are some ideas:

  • Google My Business – is your listing current? Add images and check all info is correct
  • Social Pages – are all your key business details correct? Is your ‘About’ content still correct? Check all links.
  • LinkedIn – this is still an underutilised tool by small businesses, maybe now is the time to get started? And update your personal LinkedIn profile too.
  • Dropbox or other online file storage systems – do a tidy up of folders (if not automated)
  • Memberships and online listings – are your contact details correct? Does your image / business profile need updating?

New Partnerships

Many small businesses I speak with mention they want to develop business partnerships, but they never have time to do it. Now’s the time. Think about what businesses would be potential partners, what could you offer the partnership, what activities could you do jointly? This is a great way to build new relationships at a time when we all need some extra support. Also an ideal way to tap into new potential audiences; to share skills; and to save money as well, by sharing the marketing costs.

Tip: make sure your potential partner has the same business values as you do, and the same target audiences. If they don’t, it generally won’t work.

Online Networking

If you haven’t yet used Zoom, Skype, What’sApp, or any other online video service, make sure you learn very quickly. It’s a gamechanger if you wish to continue building relationships with your customers, to provide your services, or to catch up with colleagues for meetings. Many tools have a free version. So make sure you take advantage of these tools to build your networks. I’ve seen a few people already offering “free online coffee chats” – I did one the other day. It’s a great way to expand your business network, make new friends, and stay ‘connected’ during this period of enforced isolation.

In conclusion…

I hope this list gives you a few ideas to get your marketing activities on track in the short term. I’ll update this article as new ideas or suggestions come up.

Feel free to ask me any questions about the above; and if you have any other suggestions I should add to this list, please let me know.

And if you’d like to catch up with me for a free online “coffee chat” or to discuss your marketing – please just Book a Time Here! (45 min online video chat) or book a 30-min Phone Call here.

Take care during this difficult time, #weareallinthistogether

I look forward to better times again soon – keep safe everyone,

Mel