Setting up a small business website might seem simple enough, but forget these important elements, and you could find your customers stay away.
You can have the best services and products in the world, but if people are put off by a badly-designed website, you can soon start to flounder.
The first element to creating a fantastic small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) site is clear navigation, according to business author Patricia Davidson. Get web usability wrong, and people will not find what they are looking for. The product might be great, but if it is not obvious where it is sold, it will not get snapped up.
Secondly, online shoppers want to see pictures – and lots of them. Small businesses should allow customers to see views from different angles, zoom in and generally get a feel for what is on offer.
"Thirdly, [it is important to have knowledge of] search engine optimisation (SEO) and online marketing. Websites that are not optimised properly are losing out on the possibility of being found for free by the search engines.
"Setting it up for an ecommerce site is time-intensive and there is no quick fix, but it is essential," Ms Davidson advised.
This is where content marketing plays an important role. Keyword-optimised copy can help boost a business's visibility on Google search results, however, content must also be interesting, engaging, well-written and, most of all, relevant.
The final step to a successful small business website is enabling people to search a site through a quick and easy internal search engine. Products and services need to be clearly labelled so shoppers can find them. The example Ms Davidson drew upon was when searching for red dresses. When your customers search for red dresses, will they also get every product that is red, along with all the other dresses? This is frustrating and will need to be rectified.
In conclusion, sites must be:
• Easy to navigate
• Packed with clear photos
• Search engine friendly
• Searchable in itself
What other steps do you think lead to a successful SME site?
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