Small website updates that can make a world of difference.

A website is the public face of your business. It’s your storefront, business card, and introduction to customers. This is true whether you’re a globe-spanning enterprise or a local brick-and-mortar store. No business is too small to have a website. According to PR Newswire, 71 percent of all small businesses have websites, and those that have them often want to make upgrades or improvements in the site itself or how they manage it. This article suggests six ways you can make your website stand out.

Tips on what to update on your website.

You’re convinced you need a better website but you’re not sure where to start. You don’t want to waste your time and money on upgrades that won’t make a difference for existing customers or attract new ones. You can find design tips for the most beautiful website in the world, but it won’t make a difference to you or your customers if it’s not useful. This article will help you decide where to focus your efforts to create a local business website users can find — and that they will keep coming back to.

A small business owner taking photographs of their products for their website

1. Tell customer stories with testimonials.

A customer testimonial is a review from a customer that confirms the quality of their experience with your business. It’s human nature to make decisions based on what other people are doing, and knowing that someone else has had a good experience lessens the risk a customer takes when trying your product or service for the first time. Reviews don’t need to be posted on third-party websites. The most powerful place for them to appear is on your website.

Testimonials from happy customers often help to bring in new customers. Well-written customer testimonials humanize your business and act as evidence to back up your own claims. It’s one thing to say that your business delivers in a short time frame. It’s quite another for a customer to say that they’ve never had a similar product delivered so quickly and professionally.

2. Make your site findable.

Your customers are going to look for you on Google. Sitemaps can improve SEO for the different sections of your website if you submit your sitemap to Google Search Console. This way, when someone searches specifically for your hours, contact information, or About page, the different subsections of your website will come up in their search results.

3. Put yourself on the map.

If you rely on in-person business, make sure customers can find you easily in the physical world. Make sure to list your address prominently and include other information about how to get to your brick-and-mortar location. Verifying your address on Google my Business will allow customers to more quickly see your address and find your location through Google Maps. It will also allow potential customers to verify that your business is still in operation.

4. Show off your products with optimized photos.

Your customers want to see what you have to offer. Not only do you need professional-quality photos, but you also need to present them well. You can use Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom to help touch up or edit any of your photos. Make sure all of your photos are captioned and labeled with alt text. This will help them show up in Google Images search results, increasing the likelihood of customers finding them.

Make sure your images are properly sized. Image files that are too large or not properly compressed can lead to slow loading times and poor-quality images. If you are converting an image from a JPG to PDF or from a PDF to JPG, it is important to format files using an effective tools for editing documents. Test the target page for usability after you upload the images.

5. Highlight your numbers and demonstrate growth.

Like testimonials, profit and growth figures offer concrete evidence to back up any claims your business makes. They’re especially beneficial when presented visually, like with a graph. Including this information on your website demonstrates credibility to not only your customers but also potential partners and investors. If you do display this information, update it regularly.

6. Offer incentives or coupons.

Everyone loves to save a little money. Incentives and coupons, when you use them strategically, are an effective way to draw customers to your business. They can be a valuable way to get customers to try your business for the first time, come back for loyalty perks, or try out a new product. Match your offers to your products, customers, and business cycles.

Websites are so much more than just information — they’re a public display of your business model, identity, and goals. With a good layout and excellent content, you'll create a website for business that will reflect who you are, give customers what they need, and become an important part of everyone’s good experience with your business.

A small business owner keeps her website updated.

Why keeping your website updated is important.

You might think of website updates as a costly, inconvenient chore that you don’t need to consider until you’ve grown enough to justify the effort. However, whether your products and services are local or global or anywhere in between, an updated website can give life to your business as a relevant source of information and a reliable way of communicating with your customers. When you think carefully about its design and its features, customers will know they can trust you, and they will keep coming back.

An updated website can improve your credibility and reputation, increase sales, and help you gather valuable data.

Credibility and reputation

A website tells the world what you are about. When it’s beautiful and useful, it signals to your customers that you know what you’re doing — you are organized, successful, and dependable. Many consumers’ first priority is customer service, and a useful website demonstrates to customers that you prioritize their experience.

You can also become a trusted source of information when you use your website as a content marketing tool. Blog posts, articles, infographics, and videos are all forms of content marketing. When customers come to your website for the real content value it offers, they will stay for the additional goods or services you sell.

Increased sales

Whether B2C or B2B, customers increasingly expect to complete the entire sales cycle online. They want to find your company, make a selection, and complete a transaction on your website. By continually updating your website and its content, you can expand the reach of your business website online. You can also serve more customers at once when you automate the process.

Customers today do their research online before making a decision, and they expect to have their questions answered on a company’s website. This is the most important place to think about how you are branding, showcasing, and explaining the features of your products or services. A page detailing product features might be your only opportunity to convince a potential customer. It needs to be complete and easy to navigate. For that reason, a clunky, outdated website can be a serious detriment.

Valuable data

An updated website is also a great way to do market research. Use a short landing page survey to ask a few crucial questions. You can also offer some kind of content in exchange for their time. If it’s quick, your customers will appreciate your interest, and you will learn critical information that will help you grow your business.

Now that you’ve created an award-winning, business-generating website, you might think you’re done and you can move on to other activities. But a successful site needs to be updated consistently — on a daily basis, in real time. Especially if your customers are looking for information about products and inventory, you want to be sure that your website is on point. You don’t need to fiddle with branding, logos, and evergreen content every day, but evolving product information — such as availability, specs, and pricing — does need to be monitored closely.

Don't forget:

• Use online PDF tools to share your website copy for feedback before making updates.

• Let leads reach out to your business by learning how to create a website contact form.

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