In today’s digital age, it’s vital for your small business to have a fully functional website to attract and retain customers. While larger businesses are able to hand website development to their team or outsource it, small-business owners may have only themselves or a small group of people to work with.
Creating and maintaining a website while wearing all of the hats in your business can be overwhelming, and you may not be aware of some of the best practices your more established competitors are following.
To help, 15 Forbes Agency Council members shared some commonly overlooked best practices for small-business owners who are managing their own company website.
1. Consider A Static Website
Depending on the cadence of posting content to your site, you may not actually need a CMS (e.g., WordPress) and all the hassle that comes with maintaining it. For many small businesses, a static website based on a Bootstrap theme is sufficient, and also lightning fast, which is great for SEO. To add a dynamic “gallery,” simply integrate your Instagram feed and, voilà, no maintenance is required! – Justin Cook, 9thCO Inc.
2. Get An Outside Opinion
Small-business owners view their own companies through different eyes than their clients. Even if you have the in-house skills to build your own site, you’re too close to the business to make objective decisions, and you’re too busy to make timely updates, optimize SEO and create fresh content. We are an agency, yet we outsource our own site development and management. Best thing we ever did! – Bruce McMeekin, BKM Marketing Associates, Inc.
3. Measure Your Site Performance With Analytics
Optimize web analytics to measure and benchmark your site performance. You can connect your site to analytics even if you do not have a roadmap or specific strategy regarding how you want to use this data. Let your analytics start accruing information from your website that will be there when you’re ready to evaluate key performance indicators that will drive your business. – Ana Miller, A2 Communications Group
4. Optimize Content For Voice Search
Less than 5% of companies have optimized their online content for voice search. Not only does this mean that businesses are missing out on valuable searches, but it also indicates there is a huge market to capture. By servicing consumers who use voice search queries to find products, your business can be one of the first entrants to this budding digital advertising channel. – Laura Cole, Vivial
5. Think Like Your End-User
This suggestion might get a few eye rolls, but our clients always have a hard time thinking like users when they’re internal at organizations. This user-centric approach will make you stop and ask, “Do users need this?” and then go from there. Horrific PDF menus with QR codes are a good example of a bad user experience. No one wants to pinch and zoom. – Lee Salisbury, UnitOneNine
6. Strive For Continuous Improvement
Pay attention to analytics and maintain a discipline of continuous improvement. Know your audience as well as you know what you want them to do when they arrive at your site. From navigation and page flow to view times and clicks times, how your audience is engaging is key to managing websites that successfully convert. – Patrick Nycz, NewPoint Marketing
7. Keep Your Site Regularly Updated
Your website is a living organism. Keep it healthy by updating it regularly. Set up a spreadsheet with checks to perform on an annual, quarterly and monthly basis. Some things, such as updating the year in your footer or performing a thorough content and SEO audit, can be done every January. Other tasks, such as updating company and leadership data, should be done monthly. – Mary Ann O’Brien, OBI Creative
8. Ensure Seamless Desktop And Mobile Experiences
A small-business owner should always make sure that both the desktop and the mobile experience have the same ease of use and user experience. The mobile experience can sometimes be overlooked in development, which can be a critical mistake when the majority of users are browsing via mobile. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC
9. Provide A Good Experience For Consumers
Many businesses focus on the marketing activities that generate traffic to the website and often forgo the most important element: Does the website provide a good experience for the consumer? Websites don’t need lots of bells and whistles to be effective. Instead, focus on a digital storefront that looks good, is easy to use and clearly communicates your expertise. – Carey Kirkpatrick, CKP
10. Prioritize Local Search
Make landing pages for your local customers, which are easily searchable on Google. Work on your local presence with good reviews on platforms such as Google My Business, Yelp or Google Maps to give your brand good visibility. – Mandeep Singh, SEO Discovery Pvt Ltd.
11. Check Your Site Content Monthly
Many marketers take months to build the “perfect” website, and then think the job is done. But site content must be refreshed and reworked on an ongoing basis in order to stay fresh and have a positive impact on your Google site ranking. Make a calendar reminder to check through your site content at least once a month and make any required updates. – Jason Wulfsohn, AUDIENCEX
12. Hire The Right Developer
Stop reinventing the wheel or overpaying for custom backend development. Small businesses can easily build massively successful websites using open-source software such as WordPress. I’ve seen $80,000 “custom builds” recreated for $10,000 in WordPress. Do you have concerns about WordPress? The build is as good or as bad as the developer. – Damon Burton, SEO National
13. Think Of Your Site As A Library
Does your site have all of the “books” you need to properly educate, inform and assist your prospects and customers? If it doesn’t, work to create them. Move away from the assembly line and, instead, build and optimize the library so that your customers can easily consume it. – Douglas Karr, Highbridge
14. Outsource Your Web Design
My best piece of advice for a business owner regarding the management of your company’s website would be to delegate it to someone that specializes in web page design as soon as possible. Web design is a full-time job in and of itself. That factor coupled with the fact they need to be updated on a regular basis to stay effective is a great reason to get it off your plate. – Garrett Atkins, VIE Media
15. Optimize Your Blog Pages For SEO
You might easily overlook the structure of your headers, the number of keywords you include in the content and what you place in the meta tags. Each page has to be made with the intention of improving SEO. If you do this, I guarantee your website is going to get more visitors than before. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS