Developing Your Small Business or Non-Profit Website
Are you struggling with what content to include on your website?
You've developed a wonderful product or service. The next step is to tell the world about it in your new website, the cornerstone of a content marketing strategy.
Whether you are developing a new website or refreshing an existing one, you'll want to ensure your content is consistent with your strategy and simple for your prospective customers to navigate. If your website falls short, it will likely mean lost business. In fact, based on Hubspot's research,
93% of people have left a website because it didn’t display properly on their device.
90% of people have left a website because it was badly designed.
93% of people have left because a website didn’t load quickly enough.
Ultimately, these results demonstrate the critical importance of a website that is well designed, displays properly and loads quickly.
As you think about what content should be on your site, a great place to start is by first defining your content goals. You should think about what you want to achieve with your website. For example, are you looking to convert new customers into clients or just drive awareness? What objections might prospective clients have that you could answer? What will success look like?
Leadpages nicely outlined four potential goals for your website content including:
Awareness: Introducing prospects to your brand and help them recognize the need for your product/service.
Research & education: The prospect is aware of the problem and your solution, and is actively gathering information on both.
Comparison & validation: The prospect is actively considering your solution as well as alternative options, gathering information, and comparing each in order to make an informed decision.
Purchase: After a prospect has determined that your solution is best, it’s time to buy!
Likely you will have more than one goal for your website, which is fine. Once you define your goals, you will want to consider your target audience. Content should be written specifically to what is most useful for customers or prospects in terms of understanding how your products or services help solve their problem or meet a need. Research your audience via the Internet, social media or surveys.
Digital.com recently shared a nice list of key pages all small business websites should have. I've listed the top 10 based on my experience summarized below.
Homepage: This is the page most people will see first, and as such, it should tell everyone who you are and what your company does. The content on your homepage should be intriguing enough to capture the attention of your visitors within seconds. Your homepage needs to be well-designed, load fast and look professional. There are studies that show that you have 0.05 seconds to convince people stay on your website.
About page. People do business with other people, and visitors want to learn a bit more about who the people are behind the company. The about page is often one of the most visited page on any website. This page should give a brief summary of who you are, your company history and what isolates you from the competition.
Services page (if you offer services). Here you can list details about the services you provide. Begin the page with a summary of your services prior to outlining them. If your services are vast and their descriptions are quite extensive, consider dividing them into sections, as well as adding a link to a landing page, where readers can learn more about a particular service.
Products page (if you offer products). This is your chance to offer details about the products you sell. Begin the page with a short summary of your products before listing them. If you sell multiple products and have extensive information on each product, consider dividing them into categories and adding a link to their product pages.
FAQ page. The FAQ page is your space to answer the most frequent questions you are asked. The frequently asked questions (FAQ) page will tell everyone – on one page – what they need to know. This will save you time answering those same questions on an individual basis. Provide honest answers for each one. Your answers should be a call to action, and persuade a potential customer to take the next step and buy whatever you’re selling.
Testimonials / reviews page. This is your chance to show off positive reviews your company has received. Where possible, include photos and contact info of the author (a link to their social media account, not their personal phone number). This will add authenticity to each testimonial. Anyone can write a review, but those with photos of real people that can be traced to an actual source credibility and establishes trust.
Contact page. Your contact page shows potential customers all the ways they can get in touch with you. It is also important to have your phone number, email address and physical mailing address on the footer throughout all of your website pages, where possible.
Blog. This isn’t a page per say, as a blog is the sum of all blog posts. A blog is a website, or a section of a website, made up of topically related blog posts (like journal entries). Blog posts are usually listed in reverse chronological order with the most recent blog post appearing first. If you have a small business website without a blog then you are seriously missing out! Think of your blog as your greatest and most affordable marketing tool. A blog drives traffic and leads/sales. A survey by HubSpot found that 57% of businesses who blog have generated a lead from it. A blog gives your company a voice, it creates a place where you can tell your company’s story, share your expertise and engage with your customers.
Most website-creating platforms have templates for the pages above. As you write the content keep in mind three things:
Your target audience
Ease of use
Keeping it simple concise
There's a good rule of thumb when writing marketing content, that if you can say the same thing with fewer words, you should!
Once your website is published or refreshed, your work is far from over. You'll want to keep your content current and updated by publishing weekly blogs and adding new information. You should share your website link in all your marketing efforts to increase brand awareness and ultimately grow sales.
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At It's All About the How Marketing Consulting we offer expert marketing support and practical tools to help improve your brand awareness and results. We can help with all aspects of your small business or non-profit marketing needs from developing strategic marketing plans to weekly blog content. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out our website at www.itsallaboutthehow.com.