2018 Website Checklist For Small Businesses
Development / Jan 7, 2017
With the new year in full swing it’s never been a better time to take stock of your website and online presence. For those businesses that already have a website it’s the perfect time to examine it and see if it’s meeting goals. If you don’t already have one, well then it’s not too late to start planning your own! And really, you should have one.
To help, we’ve put together our list of the most important things for a website to have going into 2018. These key items are essential to having a quality website, and a strong web presence in general. Whether you’ve had a website for years, or about to build your first one, make sure you hit all the items on the list for web success!
Keep in mind though, there are literally hundreds of other items to consider when evaluating your website. We’ve made this list not as an exhaustive list, but one that has the most big wins. The items here are meant to provide big wins for the least amount of effort.
A Modern Design
To start off, having a modern design is important for building user trust. A website that looks good gives users a good feeling, while a badly designed one can turn them off. While we don’t like to admit it, we make a lot of snap judgements based on look alone. Having a website that looks like it’s straight out of the 90’s isn’t going to do you any favors.
While you don’t need an award winning design, have one that looks professional and makes sense. It should be clean, easy to use, and leave things like scrolling banners and automatically playing music in the past where they belong. Your website is a representation of brand, so make sure it’s giving visitors the message you want them to receive.
Also, make it sure it falls in line with your brand guidelines. Keep your colors consistent across all platforms.
A Responsive Website
Having a responsive website means it looks and works fantastic across desktop, tablet, and mobile devices. Responsive websites create excellent user experiences regardless of the device used to access the website.
On the flip side however, websites that are not responsive create unintuitive and disjointed experiences. This can easily frustrate users, and eventually drive them off your site!
With more and more web traffic coming from mobile and tablet devices each day, it’s easy to see the importance of having a responsive website. It’s no longer an optional item, if your website isn’t responsive you’re a decade behind.
Do You Have Clear Call To Actions?
A call to action is essential to any sort of lead generation strategy. A call to action is a button or link on a webpage that prompts a website visitor to take a specific action. In general, this is your money action, but it might be different depending on the purpose of the page.
Each page should have a clear call to action that you want the user to take. This could take various forms like a “Get Started” button or a contact form. Make it easy to find and understand, and tailor it to the content of the page. If you offer multiple services making the call to action on each page specific to that service can help convert higher than something more generic.
While you’re at it, do your best to not overload the page with call to actions. This serves to confuse visitors, and in the end lowers conversion rates. Try to limit each page to 1-2 specific calls to action, and try to keep them at different points on the page.
Clear Contact Info
If you’re not giving your users and easy way to contact you then you’re missing the point of the website. Your website is a marketing tool, and should make it as easy as possible for visitors to start the sales process.
This is as simple as having your primary contact info (email, phone, address) easy to find on your site. In most cases, sticking this info in your footer or header (or both) makes it easy to find and where most visitors will look for it.
It’s also a good idea to put in on a contact page as well. This way, a user can get all the info they need to get in touch with you in one place.
Are Your Forms Asking For More Than You Need?
Most users don’t want to spend a lot of time filling out forms and are especially reluctant to part with lots of their personal information. If your contact form is too long, you may be losing potential leads who simple abandon your site before filling it out.
Examine what forms you have, and the info required to fill them out. Ask yourself how necessary each field is to the follow up process afterwards, and consider removing those that aren’t justified. Creating easier to use forms can help increase the odds of a busy user actually taking the time to fill it out.
There is a flip side though. Too short of a form could encourage tire-kickers and other non-qualified leads to start filling out your form. The key is to strike a balance between accessible, but still enough to do a bit of preliminary vetting for you.
Are You Blogging and Is It Fresh
A blog is not only an essential part of any SEO strategy, but also a great way to build trust and authority. A blog is your opportunity to educate potential buyers, and create content that appeals to every step of the buying process.
If you’re not already blogging then it’s time to start!
In addition to having a blog, it’s important to keep the content on it fresh. This means consistently publishing quality content. You don’t have to be publishing every single day. More important is to pick a schedule and stick to it. For most small businesses, a good goal to shoot for is once per week. This might seem a bit daunting at first, but once you get in the swing of things it becomes second nature.
Do I Have a Content Strategy
Building off the previous point, any good blog, and marketing plan in general, has a solid content strategy. A content strategy outlines the types of content, the topics of the content, and a distribution plan for that content.
Having a well outline content strategy keeps you on track with the types of content you’re going to be post and what it’s supposed to be about. It should ideally also outline the steps after the content of published on how to distribute and market it.
Without a solid strategy it’s easy to get overwhelmed or simply forget about consistently creating content. If you don’t already have one, start one so that your blogging and marketing efforts stay front and center in your mind.
Am I Utilizing Social Channels
If your company is on any of the popular social channels then it’s important to call these out! This helps keep users engaged with you and your brand, and provides an outlet to connect with past and potential customers.
In most cases, having your social links in the header or footer of your site is great way to get them out there. Other times, you might want to get a bit more involved and potentially pull in content from these channels onto your site. For example, pulling in Instagram photos is a great way to build a deeper level of integration between your site and social platforms.
If you’re not already on these platforms, then it’s time to start using them. With millions of people on each platform, it’s an easy way to start reaching a larger customer base and connecting with past ones. You don’t have to go crazy and register for every network under the sun, start with 2-3 popular platforms and expand from there.
Setup tracking and goals
Once you’ve done all the work to improve or build your website you’re going to want to track the results. To start, Google’s Analytics platform is perfect for most businesses, but there are alternatives that offer different features.
In addition to that, it’s important to set up and track goals for your website. Google Analytics provides a dedicated “goals” tab that allows you to create and track custom goals. This can be everything from filling out a form, navigation to a page, completing a purchase, and anything in between.
It’s important to pick out a couple of key revenue driving actions and set these up as goals in your account. That way you can measure the success of your website and see where improvements needs to be made.
Having a successful website is an ongoing process. Keeping up with trends, trying new ideas, and measuring results is essential for success. Hopefully you’ve got some new ideas and things to try in new year to help your businesses website succeed!
Get In Touch
Interested in getting your project started off right? Then Drop Us a Line! We're always happy to discuss new projects and help launch dreams!
Tel. (312)-572-9732Contact Us