Your Small Business Website: 6 Competitive Advantages
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Market competition is fierce and an online presence is almost mandatory if you want to stay relevant. These things are especially true for smaller companies, who can use innovative websites to develop a customer base.
Read on for some of the top things you should consider when building your website.
What to keep in mind
- If your website is difficult to be found, you’ll have much much less success getting noticed
- Having your own website will give your small business a competitive edge
- Positive user experience, high useability, and content relevant to your target group are all prerequisites for success
- Your website is an effective marketing tool: use SEO measures to rank in local search
Why is a website important for small businesses?
A report on inbound web marketing company Blue Corona shows that between 70 and 80 percent of users will research a small business online before either visiting in person or deciding to buy something.
Both the mobile and desktop status of your website will play a major role in how it is found by search engines like Google, Bing, or Ecosia. When a prospective customer fails to find you online, you’ll lose them to a competitor.
Beyond maintaining a visible presence for your company online, your website has the potential to promote trust in your brand, define your brand personality, and demonstrate uniqueness in what you offer. All of this can help differentiate you from your competitors.
The 6 competitive advantages to having an online presence
Below are some of the key advantages to having a good website:
- Trust and credibility
- Information transfer
- Presentation of products and services
- Customer acquisition
- Constant accessibility
- Data analysis
Trust and credibility
Building trust and credibility in your potential customer base is imperative when first starting out as a small business owner. Use your website to convey these things and to present the idealised version of your venture.
Positive customer reviews and comments from the press will add to the credibility of your website. These can be used when you integrate a ratings service like Trustpilot into your website.
Think about what customers might want to know about your company. Beyond the wares you offer, they might be curious about your founders, the size of your company and teams, what your brand stands for, and what you believe in.
More and more, customers are wanting to align their purchases with the ethical causes of companies. These fall under notions of sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Mention any relevant certificates, partnerships, or reportage on these topics.
Additional content, like a blog for example, can help your company become a thought leader on certain issues and an informed voice for your customers.
Presentation of products and services
Chief among your business goals is sales. Your website can be the ideal platform to present your wares in an attractive, enticing way. To achieve this, don’t skimp on web design or presentation—high quality images, sound, and videos solidify in the users’ minds that you offer only the best.
Product presentation in the online shop
Pay attention to the image descriptions, as well. People respond to both text and images, with some responding more to one than the other. Your descriptions should convey the advantages of your products in clean, clear copy, avoiding florid text and unnecessary detail. Make sure you triple check everything, too. Good spelling and punctuation weren’t just something you had to learn in school—they also convey professionalism.
To keep growing, your business will need customers. Appropriate search engine optimisation (SEO) practises will help customers find your business much easier.
The right keywords will help you rank on Google and other major search engines. In addition to achieving high rankings in searches, you should also pay attention to local SEO. This is about adapting your SEO practises to fit the location of your company, thus ranking highly in local searches.
Broaden your content parameters to reach a bigger customer base: newsletters, email campaigns, a social media presence, and special landing pages will help you remain easily contactable and fresh in the customer’s mind.
Even with staff, your availability will fluctuate. Your shop will close and you may not require through-the-night customer service for what you offer. Your website, however, can operate like its own 24 hour shop: browsing customers can check wares, gather information, read content, and make purchases whenever they please. With an auto-response feature for purchases made or a chatbot system, you offer customers a feeling of security—their actions have been acknowledged and their requests processed.
Make sure your customers will not run into problems trying to contact you. Your information should be easily found and you should offer multiple methods of contact: email, phone, contact form, social media, FAQ and chat bot.
Analysing your target group and familiarising yourself with their behaviour is only the beginning of your data analysis work. To gain further insight into your prospective customer base, there are useful analytics tools which you can install on your website. Using data collection software, these tools will help you adjust your techniques to better reach your target audience.
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Create your website in 4 steps
It’s easier than ever now to create your own website. Modular and Content Management Systems (CMS) supply you with everything you need to build a professional website, inexpensively and without any prior programming knowledge.
1. Find a domain name
For brand recognition purposes, make sure your domain name corresponds to your company or brand name. First, check whether your desired domain name is available and you won’t violate any trademark rights by using it. The most common domain endings in Germany are .de and .com. Find out whether a .de domain name is still available by checking DENIC. Search for the corresponding social media username at namecheck.com.
2. Choose a hosting service
Price is not the only factor when choosing a hosting provider. Consider also:
- How many domains are available free of charge?
- Are connected mailboxes available?
- What bandwidth do you get?
- How many databases do you get, and which ones?
- Are additional functions available – e.g. SEO tools?
- Is an SSL certificate included?
- GDPR: Is the server located in your country?
- Is there support?
3. Carry out web design
When using a homepage construction kit or CMS, your design choices are usually limited to the host’s available templates. The good news is, these catalogues are often large. You’ll likely be able to insert your brand logo with no problems and you can adjust the font and colour to suit your corporate design (CD). If these options still aren’t enough for you, you may have to create your own web design.
Whether you use a template or your own design, make sure that above all your website design is consistent and user-oriented. Place important content at the top of your website and make sure any call-to-actions (CTAs) are instantly recognisable. You also want a responsive design which adapts to the different display sizes: laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
4. Set up functionalities
The type of business you run may decide the tools you’ll need to increase functionality. Some are likely to be standard across the majority of websites:
- Clear navigation
- Search function
- Contact forms
- Social media icons
While others are more specific:
- A booking system for events
- Shopping cart and payment functions
Other tools are necessary for backend functionality:
- SEO tools for page optimisation
- a CRM system to manage your customer relationships
- a CMS to add content
What makes a small business website successful?
Creating a website, you want to attract customers, stand out from the crowd, and continue to grow. If you begin by prioritising user experience, creating an appealing design, relevant content, and accessible contact details, you’re much more likely to achieve your goals.
Follow these rules when creating your website:
- Make clear how customers will benefit from your business
- Emphasise your individuality
- Meet and surpass customers’ expectations
- Design an easy-to-use-website: clear navigation, search functions, targeted CTAs, various payment options
- Optimise your website for desktop and mobile devices
- Post regular updates to your website
- Ensure high loading speed
- Keep your customers safe during payment with good security software
Get a competitive edge with a website for your small business
Website creation has gotten easier thanks to user-friendly website development software. Without programming skills, entrepreneurs can bring their ideas to life in a few small steps.
Hopefully, with the advice outlined in this post, you’ll be able to use your website effectively and compete with the best.
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