The 7 MUST-HAVE Essentials for Your Business Website

Ohhhhh maaaaan do I love website makeovers. I mean, with just a few tweaks here and there...you can go from a minor leaguer to a super-pro, all-star, mega-winner (that's a sports term, right?)

Here's the real deal behind my passion for websites: It is arguably your most important marketing tool. Your website should be professional and beautiful yes, but if it's missing some core bits of info, it's going to be useless to your customers. Which means they'll probably spend their 7 seconds browsing your homepage ('cause that's how long most people spend, on any site, unless they have a reason to stay, FYI) before jumping ship FOREVER.

Let me repeat that: you have about 7 seconds before you risk losing your customer FOREVER. 

Now, even if your site is a hit-and-run kind of a deal (this is particularly true for you restaurants and coffee shop types where people quickly go for key bits of information), that's totally OK, but be sure to include the info your customers want to see.

Example: if your customer Judy wants a quick bite to eat, but isn't sure if you're open yet, or not sure exactly where you're located - you better have that info front and center on your website or risk making Judy pretty pissed. 

Now, to help keep that from happening to you, I've rounded up my very favorite--no scratch that, YOUR MUST-HAVE WEBSITE ELEMENTS: 

  1. Make sure it's smart phone friendly. This is 2016, you have no excuse.
  2. Include your LOCATION, STORE HOURS and PHONE NUMBER right on the homepage, like in bold letters.
  3. Don't forget to mention any SPECIAL FEATURES, like if you happen to be pet friendly or offer free wifi. Also, if you're near any metro stops or parking garages.  
  4. A PHOTO of your location and/or YOU (bonus points for a video.) Photos of business owners and even the staff are especially impactful now, when most consumers want to put faces to the businesses they frequent. 
  5. CUSTOMER SATISFACTION. This can come in lots of forms. It can be a link to your Yelp reviews, it can be excerpts of positive blog articles, quotes from your most loyal and raving customers, or even before/after shots, if that applies to your business.
  6. Invitation to join your EMAIL LIST.  I feel like brick-and-mortars are just now getting around to caring about this, which is really unfortunate, since email marketing is wiping out every other form of marketing in terms of conversion to sales. And it starts with collecting email addresses from website visitors. To do this? You can pretty much offer anything you think will be enticing to your customers in exchange for their email address, but coupons and access to exclusive promotions often do the best for brick-and-mortar businesses.  
  7. A CONSISTENT MESSAGE. 

Is your website missing some critical info? Forward this to your web designer STAT! Got other website must-haves you'd like to share? Post them in the comments below! XO

Val