Are you a small business owner with an online presence? Have you positioned your website to deliver on performance that will boost your business?
If you have a small business and want to grow and transform your business, then you need have your number one online asset in place – your website.
It should be at the center of your marketing strategy and be optimized to support your marketing efforts. But for this to work, you need to put some things in place.
To help you get result with your website we have put together a checklist for you to use.
It details what you need to take care of in every section of your website for optimal performance.
This checklist will help you ensure that your site is ready to receive customers, no matter how many they are and from any part of the world.
For ease of use, it has been broken down into categories:
The design of your website is the overall representation of your business online. Its primary responsibility is to give your prospective customers an excellent first impression of your business.
The design of your website is also responsible for catching your potential customers’ attention within those first vital minutes they land on your site.
You can only say you have designed your site for success if you have already considered the following points:
- First, your website must be compatible with all the browsers available today. People use different browsers such as Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari, Microsoft Edge, etc. to access the internet. And so, your website must be designed in such a way that your visitors will have no problems accessing and navigating your site from one page to the other.
- You must ensure that your website is highly responsive i.e., it must be compatible with all kinds of screen resolutions and devices. The advent of technology and the internet has made it possible for people to access the internet via smartphones, tablets, and laptops. And research has shown that mobile accounts for half of the internet traffic worldwide.
In the first quarter of 2020, for instance, smartphones generated up to 51.92 percent of global web traffic, and this has been the case since the beginning of 2017. Therefore, in order to get an excellent slice of web traffic, make sure your website works remarkably well and looks exceptionally good on mobile devices.
- Your website’s logo should be positioned in a conspicuous place, usually at the upper left of all your webpages. Make sure the logo has a link to your homepage. This ensures that any visitor that clicks your logo anywhere it appears will be taken to your homepage.
Place your search box – if you need to use one – at the right side of your webpage for accessibility. Your site’s favicon – i.e., that small image that uniquely represents your site in the URL bar of the browser – should be correctly and clearly displayed as well.
- It is not every website that has a footer. But having the footer in yours can boost your credibility or authenticity in the minds of your audience. The footer contains the company name, the current year, and the copyright symbol.
You should also include the link to your organization’s social media pages, distance seller regulations (for eCommerce sites), and a few links to your site’s major pages.
- Are your images and videos optimized for the web? If not, ensure that they do. You should also check for assigned alt tags and pixelation. Alt tags typically describe your image and contribute significantly to helping your website rank well in search engines.
- Check to see how simple your navigation is and whether or not everything is functional. Find out whether or not your HTMLs and CSS are validated and very clean.
This aspect has to do with the interactive characteristics of your website. Your website must function correctly.
This aspect will involve extensive testing – and retesting – of any application, forms, tools, widgets, etc. that has been integrated and accessible by your prospective customers.
One crucial point to take note of is that if you run an eCommerce site, you should enable it to accept credit cards.
eCommerce business owners that facilitate online payment processing can use up several merchant accounts, especially when they find the best provider.
The #1 goal of maintaining an eCommerce site is to convert website visitors into paying customers. Your merchant account must, therefore, be set up correctly.
It is vital to proofread, copy edit, and test your website content, especially if you plan to host a blog on the site. But then, even if you don’t want to host any blog, your website copy should read remarkably well.
A persuasive copy should include a well-crafted description of services and products and calls to action to purchase these products and services. It is an excellent idea to have at least two or more persons to proofread the content on your website. You will be able to get ideas or different perspectives while catching all the errors.
Therefore, these must be in place:
- Get rid of all test content and generic content.
- Post highly relevant and valuable content based on hard facts to add value to readers. It must flow well from beginning to end.
- Ensure your text or content is easy to read against the backdrop.
- Images, audios, and videos are appropriately cited or licensed and placed correctly.
- Calls to action are placed strategically throughout the website in order to encourage customers to click through and purchase services and products i.e., if relevant.
- The content on the site must have been copy edited or proofread more than twice for spelling and grammar consistency as well as typographical errors.
- Ensure hyperlinks to other relevant webpages or sections are not only available but working remarkably well.
- Make sure you hide all functions and scripts.
If you run an eCommerce, the following must be ensured:
- Users must be able to read both product descriptions and customer reviews.
- Potential customers should be able to locate your refund/return policy easily
- The types of payment you accept must be displayed e.g., PayPal, Payoneer, etc.
Analytics and SEO
Analytics and search engine optimization (SEO) often go together. If you have done your SEO correctly, your website should rank well and high on search engine results.
Analytical tools – such as Google Analytics, inform users how well their websites perform as regards conversation rates and quality traffic. They help users determine the segments of their websites they should work on so that they can be significantly improved.
When it comes to SEO, the following must be in place:
- Your URLs must be keyword-rich and clean coded.
- Every page title must not only be unique but also not more than 70 characters.
- All metadata should be in place for RSS feeds and social media content, if any.
- Every page must have only one H1 tag that also has the primary or main keyword.
- Every page description is not more than 160 characters and unique.
- Alt tags must be assigned to all images.
- Every important page must be available for Search Engine indexing. Take note that Google index pages, not websites.
- Both the Meta title and description tags must be unique.
- A specified 30 redirect should be in place if visitors come across the same content in multiple URLs on the site.
As for analytics, the following should be in place:
- Make sure you have appropriately integrated your webmaster tools as well as an analytics tool
- Ensure that an analytics tracking code is installed on your site
- Be sure that your analytics and planning software defines your funnels and goals.
- Ensure filters have been appropriately placed to exclude visits from your organization staff
- Make sure your website design agency does not own the analytics account. It is super crucial for you to have free access to your account so that you can make changes when necessary.
Backups And Security
Your valuable data can get severely corrupted if it falls into the wrong hands. This is why it is worth putting a lot of effort upfront into website security as well as regular backups from time to time.
By scheduling the backup procedures, you ensure that your site information remains safe for the long haul.
Also if customers know that it is safe to shop and share their information with you then they would stick around for longer.
Therefore, here is the following checklist to go through in order to ensure adequate security:
- Every computer with access to the admin account should be free of viruses or malware.
- An automatic protocol and website monitor should always be in place in order to give notice of any unusual event on the site to the administrator.
- Regularly schedule automatic or manual backups.
- Ensure that an SSL certificate is installed, especially if you run an eCommerce store
- Make sure the administrator passwords are strong, multi-charactered – i.e., mixed with symbols, numbers, and alphabets – and changed from time to time.
- All confidential information must be in a secure database or cloud storage.
- Ensure that your website runs on a secure HTTPS protocol if you store highly sensitive information – such as customer emails, etc. – or own and run an eCommerce store.
- Always carry out a load test and be sure that your website passes heavy traffic scenarios.
Prominent Contact Details
Potential customers and visitors to your site should be able to contact you without undergoing undue stress. They should be able to visit your brick and mortar store, ask questions, or request quotes. This implies that your ‘Contact’ page should display all the full details of how to get in touch with you or your business.
This may include a phone number, contact email, or physical address of your business premises.
You can also use the footer by filling it with your business’s contact information since it appears on every page of your website. This will make it easy for your prospective customers to find this vital information throughout the stages of their sales journeys.
If the contact information of a business is nowhere to be found, your website will look somewhat questionable.
Your potential customers can be put off and refrain from transacting any transaction on your website.
Customers need to be assured that they can go somewhere if something goes wrong when doing business on your website.
Therefore, having your contact details displayed prominently on your site boosts the trust element while assuring visitors of memorable user experience.
Having your address and phone number on your website can also assist local search engine optimization efforts. This is because it will give major search engines a clear and undiluted indication of where your organization is located.
Integrating Google reviews on your site is a quick and excellent way to show your prospective customers that you are the crème de la crème.
Give your visitors to read the raving reviews, browse star ratings, and the testimonials shared by old and existing customers.
Most countries that permit the use of the internet have several laws that website owners must abide by. Therefore, it is in your best interest to get in touch with a legal practitioner that is well-versed in these laws to ensure that your small business’s website operates in compliance with the local laws.
Some of the more common compliance laws are as follows:
- The websites must be accessible to users with visual issues or disabilities.
- Your website must be PCI-compliant if you operate an eCommerce store and accept credit cards as a form of payment or facilitate the use of several payment processors.
Users that visit your website should not leave without buying something, making a download or contacting you. Your job therefore is to make their experience on your website an enjoyable one.
It is understandable that everything mentioned might seem like a lot of work but it can be done.
Just take it one step at a time and be consistent. What else have you done to improve your website? Share it with us in the comments.