Four Keys to Creating a Great Small Business Website

Last week, I was speaking to a group about small business marketing and touched on the topic of what makes a good small business website. Whether you are DIYing or hiring a website expert, make sure you’re hitting these four key points to small business website success.

What services do you provide?

You would be incredibly surprised how many small business websites don’t say in the first 10 words what product/service their business provides. For Mason Street Strategies, I use a simple welcome statement that says “we help businesses grow.” Boom. That applies to the small businesses we work with and equally to larger companies, and also lets you know that we mean business.

So in just a few words, what value do you provide for your customer? If I visit your website, it should be one of the first things I see, because it sets the context for the rest of the site. Personally, I don’t think it’s the place to get artsy, it’s the place to be really direct, but that’s a case-by-case thing.

Honestly, as a small business you might be able to get away with any number of website “sins,” but not this one!

Why are you the expert or the right choice for this customer?

Ok, so now I know what you do, but why are you a good choice? If you’re a coffee shop, why is your coffee the best? If you’re a consultant, what makes you an expert in what you consult on?

I’m writing this from one of my favorite coffee shops, La Colombe, which bills itself as offering coffee that’s just plain better than competitors. “America Deserves Better Coffee” they say, and they’re right. Up front, they’re telling potential customers that 1) they deserve better coffee, and 2) that La Colombe serves better coffee.

Why are you a great choice?

Make people feel smarter by visiting.

People aren’t visiting your website for fun. Your business might be fun, but people come to your site looking for information. So you need to do everything you can to make them feel smarter when they leave.

In today’s competitive world, it’s not enough to just present your products/services and call it a day. Tell people more, let them go deeper, and make them feel your expertise. One great way to do that is a blog, but there are a bunch of other ways too! A coffee shop might talk about the sourcing of their beans, or even film a video teaching visitors how to steam milk for cappuccinos at home.

The bottom line is, there are millions of sites on the internet, and lots of options for your customers, so helping them “level up” and understand your business is a great investment.

Give people a Call to Action / Next Step

Finally, tell people what the next step on their customer journey is. So many websites, even otherwise great ones, hide their contact information, or aren’t clear how to proceed. Your website is simply one stop on the customer’s journey with your business, so you’ve got to let them know what the next stop is.

Big, bold calls to action and buttons can help do the job, but it really starts with understanding the end-to-end journey and moving them along it.

But wait, there’s more!

Applying these four principles to your website can be hard, so we’ve come up with a checklist to help you improve your business’s website.

And of course, if you are looking for professional help with your site, we’d love to meet you! We’re based in Boston but work with businesses everywhere, so don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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