With small businesses, we have to be careful to use each dollar of our budget wisely.  This is why it is critically important not to make basic mistakes with your website that cost you money.  I regularly run into business owners who have invested in a new website but have mistakenly forgotten to address some fairly simple and straightforward aspects of converting their visitors to customers and just plain good user experience.  Below are some quick and easy basics to keep in mind for your website.

Focus on the User

We often get caught up in the standard “Home, About, Services” navigation setup.  This approach is a bit self-centered.  Think about what you are offering the visitors. They are searching the internet for a solution to their problems.  Focus on what solutions you offer. Your visitors will explore your site if they want to learn about how your company started or other background information.  This information is fun, but most users don’t care that much about how you started and when you changed offices five years ago, etc. They just want to know that you can solve their problem.  Put your solutions first.  Break down your services into key topic areas and list them in your navigation. For landing pages, you should lead with the solution. Someone searching for an emergency plumber is going to leave if they hit your site or page and don’t see that emergency services are offered right away. They don’t want to go hunting around to see if you offer it. They want to see it in the headline so they know they are in the right place. Then they can start to think about their decision. Don’t lose them before they even start reading your real content.

Make it Easy to Hire You

Do you want phone calls or form fills?  Do you sell directly online? Make it clear and obvious.  I still regularly see businesses that want you to fill out a form but force you to click over to their contact page to even find the form. If you want a form fill, put the form (if short) or a clear button with a call to action going to the form, right on your pages. It seems so simple,  yet I see this problem all the time. If you want a phone call, don’t make users go to your contact page to find your number.  Have a click to call button on every page. Make it simple!

SEO is about TrustShow You Are Trustworthy

People are hit with so many different websites trying to get their business. Show them quick and easy identifiers that you are legit and trustworthy. Here are some things you can use to make clear you are trustworthy. The more you have the better.

  • Reviews
  • Awards Won
  • Testimonials (users trust reviews from third party sources more than your own quotes)
  • BBB seal
  • Chamber/Industry Association Memberships
  • Certifications or Licenses

Keep these in mind. Let people know you are trustworthy. All of these are helpful.  Most can be shown quickly and easily with a quick graphic that links to more info.

Be Specific

The more specifically you match their search the better. Typically, sending users to a homepage is inefficient.  For paid search or even display advertising, send the user to your service page that specifically matches what they are searching for or what you are advertising. Much like focusing on the user above, show you have exactly what they are looking for.  You should have content that addresses each specific service you offer, not a list with two sentences about all of your services on one page. People don’t want to scroll around looking for help. They want to see it when the page comes up. Otherwise, they will just search again.

Google understands this and ranks based on this idea, because they know what the user wants. Provide the users with specific solutions to their individual issues. Generally, for SEO, the more specific you are, the better chance you have to rank and get traffic anyway.  Being specific simply reduces your competition and provides better content.  For local businesses, simply focusing on your geography and your specific service greatly reduces your competition, yet puts you directly in front of your exact market.

Side Note: Be Wary of Using AI Content

With the advent of ChatGPT and now Google’s “Bard”, AI content has been discussed everywhere. Search engines are using AI to pull answers from the internet to answer search queries, but they will still punish you for using AI to write your own content. If you use AI tools for you content, make sure you add your own specific content that caters to your users.  Add in the geographic or specific use scenarios and add extra information that is helpful for your specific market. Information Gain helps you stand apart from AI tools that just shove all of the similar information they find together into one piece. Providing that extra piece of helpful information may be the difference maker for SEO and for your users in 2023,  as they continually run into rehashing of the same basic info. Stand out by adding more helpful info.