Have you confused social proof with selling?
I've worked with many small business owners who need help with the basics about website design for small business. Often the business owner has paid to have a website but after that, she doesn't pay much attention to it or try to get traffic to it, either. She may believe that having a website isn't necessary because she has a presence on social media.
A few months ago I had dinner with a women who has owned her own business for 5 years. In all that time, she's never paid much attention to her website. She's a firm believer that social media is the most important way to gain visibility for her business.
I totally agree that social media is an important way to gain visibility for your business. But gaining visibility is not the same as making sales, is it? These two things are separate and related, and one can't substitute for the other.
Not long into our dinner, I realized that this woman has confused visibility (social proof) with selling. They are not the the same. We need both in order to have a financially successful business. Social proof – building up that important know, like, and trust (KLT) factor leads to selling – but it isn't selling. It doesn't make you money by itself.
I told this hard-working woman my view – that using social media is great, but use it to lead your followers to your website. Otherwise, you are sort of standing on a busy street corner yelling at the top of your lungs “look at me, I have a business” and you're not telling anyone where to find your business. People will just drive by, notice you, and continue on their way.
Don't confuse social media marketing, content marketing, and social media advertising as substitutes for giving your business a solid online home. Your website does that. So knowing the basics of website design for small business owners is important for your business. Your website tells everyone where you are and what you offer. It houses your sales pages and links to your shopping cart. It's the core of your online business.
Make sure your website has these 8 key elements
Here are 8 elements every single website in the whole wide world should have – including yours! These 8 things will help you gain traffic and sells.
- A menu (navigation system) that is easy to follow. Keep it super-clean and super-simple. Avoid nesting pages within pages. That's old-style website design. Most people won't take the time to dig deep into website navigation, so keep your signposts simple.
- A way to search your website and your blog. You can see what I mean if you go here and look at my blog. You'll see a “search” box. Whatever topic you are looking for, you can search for it right on my blog and see what I have for you in a quick second.
- A “contact me” page. Offer an email address, a snail-mail address (someone might want to send you a note or card), and a phone number. People like to do business with folks who don't hide. Be findable.
- A way to sign up for your free offer and event information. Give people the chance to get on your e-mail list. Your goals for your website are to show people who you are and what you've got to offer, and move them from your website to your e-mail list.
- Links to your social media. Let people know where you are on social, and invite them to connect with you. That helps boost your visibility on social and lets them see your personality.
- An “about” page and “media” page. Create a downloadable one sheet (click here to see my one sheet and you can use it as a model).
- Clear branding – let people know right away what your mission is. Be succinct and clear.
- New, fresh content uploaded to your website at least once a week, at least. Do this with new blog posts, new lead generation pages, and updates to your existing pages.
There's lots more to know about website design for small business, but at least get these 8 things nailed down and working well for you. They are a good start toward a clean, compelling website that people will stick on for more than a quick second. Having these 8 elements in place will help boost traffic to your website.
Don't be out there yelling at the top of your lungs without telling folks where to find you. Your website is your business home. Make sure to put out the welcome sign and tell people all about what you offer.
You can download a PDF of this article if you'd like to have a list of these 8 elements. Just click on the “want to read this later?” button at the top of this post. Use the list to refresh your website, and you'll have a great start to website design for small businesses that will help convert social media followers into buyers.