What are the top 10 tips I should know for my small business website?

As a small business, it is always difficult to spend too much time, effort and expense on your website as you are often having to do all the other things. It is important therefore that you initially get a good start by investing some effort up front which enables you to do things right and quickly in the future.

Here are 10 top tips for small business websites that will set you on your way.

1. Know your audience

Don’t just assume you know them, get some data to back it up. There are lots of online tools to help you out such as Google’s Keyword tool.

2. Business objectives

If you are about to create your first website or update your existing, use this time to focus on the business objectives of your company rather than what your website is going to look like. How do you actually want the site to benefit your business?

3. Web engagement strategy

You will definately need a plan. It is important to get the points and ideas from as many of your team as possible when creating an engagement strategy so that everyone is happy to follow it.  Always remember that web engagement complements all other customer engagement and is not a fifth wheel to the business. If you are a very small one-person business, the plan should reflect this as your time is very limited. If you are struggling with this, I would recommend you get some help from a web professional.

4. Multi channels

Don’t forget all the other channels available and build these into your engagement plan. However you don’t need to go mad and sign up to everything, it is far better to be realistic with the resource available and contribute quality not quantity. Twitter and LinkedIn are the obvious ones but setting up Google+, YouTube and if your plan calls for it, Facebook are all easy to do. If you are a very small business then just keep it simple with 1 channel.

5. Relevance

Build relevance from day 1. Everything about your online presence should be relevant to your business goals. Your messages should be succinct and relevant.

6. Reputation

Small Medium Enterprises in particular have a great opportunity to build a reputation. After some great service, people are much more likely to recommend their local business then a large corporate chain. Build opportunities for people to rate and like you into your engagement plan.

7. Size matters

SMEs can react much quicker than larger companies where go-aheads are made by several people in several departments. Make sure you have everything ready to react to events at a moments notice. This usually means being able to add content correctly including images and categorisation

8. Competitors

Be their customer when it comes to their marketing. Sign up to their newsletters, email alerts and promotional offers. Get a sense of their personalisation and frequency of content.

9. Social Media

Set up alerts for your area of expertise. Reply with relevant answers, be friendly and helpful. – Don’t however blatantly try and sell your product or service, that won’t get you many followers.

10. Keep it simple and cut out the words

Keep the message simple, make sure you always have a call to action and cut out any content that is not relevant. A website doesn’t need to show everything you have ever done.