If you have a small business, do you have a website yet? And, is it mobile-optimized? Perhaps, you have one but you're not hitting the basics in terms of maintenance and updates? Let's unpack what your small business needs and discuss how some of these simple mistakes could be leading to tons of lost business.

Start here: Do you have a small business website?

A virtual place to call your own? An online "Open for Business"?  That www.myplace.com?

If not, you're unintentionally signaling to potential customers that you're not ready for their business. Harsh, but true.

In today's world, consumers hold the power from the moment they become aware of a product or service they need to when they reach out to a business they've found. These consumers like to do their homework while making decisions, and it's easiest for them to do so online.

Nearly 85% of searches for products and services are happening online. If you’re not there, you’re not being seen.

It's not just that a website shows that you're tech-savvy enough to have one. Even simple websites help potential customers figure out: 

  • What exact services you provide, at what rates (when appropriate)
  • If you cover their geographic region
  • What hours you're open for business and where you're located
  • How to even contact you to begin with

Better websites can share news about upcoming events, promotions or discounts, or allow shoppers to make online purchases.

A website is important. It's your virtual home, your space, your virtual front door.

Next question: Is your business website mobile-optimized?

Hint: It better be.

In 2015, Google released a new algorithm that boosted the rankings of mobile-friendly sites, subsequently penalizing those that are not. That's one strike against a website that's not so mobile-friendly.  

Now you have another problem... the consumer. 

Nearly 60% of online searches come from mobile phones. If a consumer lands on your site and the user experience is poor, they will simply exit out and move on to another site that is easier to navigate. (Fun fact: 40% of people will abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load.)

Of course that number depends on your industry and your customers, and the number is increasing every day. For example, during the holiday season, at least 75% of shoppers will be in retail stores looking at their phone to compare prices and look for discounts. That's almost everyone.  

Alright cool, so your site is mobile-friendly. Next...

How much time do you spend updating content on your site?

Updating and performing basic maintenance on your site is key, for a number of reasons.

Remember the questions a website can answer: hours, location, contact information? What happens when any of those change? Are you making sure to update the content on your small business website to reflect that?

This is important for your customers, but it's also important for SEO (or search engine optimization). Search engines like Google will love you if you’re consistently adding fresh content to your site. If your website is just sitting there with nothing new to offer, then it may be viewed as "dead."  

The more you update your site with articles, downloads, and new pages, the more often search engines stop by to visit. The more often they visit, the better your chances are of achieving a higher ranking for some of your key service areas or products.

So, you’ve got the basics. Now….

Next level stuff: Do you know what's happening on your site?

You've got a small business website up and running. Good.

It's mobile-optimized. Even better.

And you're adding new content on a consistent basis so you can soak in that search engine love. Fantastic.

Ready to kick it just a notch higher? Since you put in all this work, don't you want to know how people are using your site? For example:

  • How many people are going to your site?
  • How long they’re staying on it?
  • Which pages are they're spending the most time on?

You should, and with some handy web tools, you absolutely can.

What gets measured after all can be improved. You can regularly review what's happening online and then consider what steps to take in order to get more eyeballs on your site. More eyeballs equals more customers.

Which leads us to…

What are you gonna do to market your website?

Finally, just because you have a website doesn't mean people will go to it. You have to put it in front of them to let them know it's there. There's more than a few ways to do this that I'll briefly touch on here, but you bet we're going to be talking about each of these in more detail on the MLCworks blog (so, like hit that "Get the Latest" box below for email updates).

How does it happen? SEO, SEM (pay-per-click), and social marketing. Want to be convinced? Let's look at some of those sweet stats:

I've thrown a lot at you today, but with some work and virtual elbow grease, we can get your small business website up and running for tomorrow's customers. Give the crew at MLCworks a call today and we'll talk you through the process, from start to finish.

- Amanda Sulcer, Digital Marketing Consultant