A good website needs to be easily found by search engines, easy for people to use, and easy for visitors to complete your desired goal for them when they get there.
Your website is your shopfront on the internet. Often your customers will check out your website before they visit your store or make a purchase.
A good local business website should have a balanced combination of usability, visuals, conversion and local SEO.
Clean Design and Layout
One of the most important elements of a good local business website is have a clean and uncluttered layout. This immediately improves your credibility and makes it easy for your visitors to find what they are looking for.
And please, no flashing text or “under construction” signs. It’s not the 2000’s any more!
Clear and ‘Sensible’ Navigation
Your navigation structure should group together similar topics, services or products – and make logical sense.
Use drop down menus if you have enough pages to group together into similar themes.
Pages any good local business should have are:
- About us page
- Contact page
- Services you offer – one for each
- Location pages
- Blog page
Phone Number on Every Page
Your phone number should be at the top of every page. A common spot to put the phone number is in the top right hand corner along with a ‘get a quote’ or ‘book an appointment’ button.
I would also include your physical address on every page as well. This could be in the header next to the phone number, or in the footer along with the rest of the business’ contact details.
Map and Directions to your Business
Don’t make it hard for potential customers to find you and get in contact with your business.
Give visitors a variety of ways to contact you – but let them choose how they want to engage with you.
On your contact page you should have:
- A map
- Driving directions
- Open times
- Phone number
- Links to social media profiles
- Any other important piece of contact information
Take a look at our contact page, a good local business will have all this information – and more!
Calls to Action
What do you want people to do once they reach your website?
Don’t make it hard!
Each page on the website should have a clear call to action that is easily accessible through a variety of ways.
Some calls to action for a local business might be:
- Book an appointment
- Book a table
- Download a menu
- Download a voucher
- Sign up to mailing list
- Place an order
Don’t make it hard for your customers. Make it clear and keep it logical using language your customers can relate to.
If your local business has several locations, you should create custom landing pages for each of them.
This infographic from Nifty Marketing shows what makes up a good local landing page:
*click on image to be taken to the full article
Good local business websites should be using structured data and Google Authorship to display more information about the business.
Here’s an example of a local podiatrist with this completed:
- In order to set up authorship, you can read the instructions by Ann Smarty on how to set up authorship on your website.
- You can check to see if this has been set up correctly here: http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets
- You can sign up for Google Authorship here: https://plus.google.com/authorship
Easy to Share Content
If you have a blog or information that is being shared on your website, you must have some social sharing functionality on your site.
Make it easy for visitors to share your blog posts or other content on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+ or any other social media site that is appropriate for your content.
Social sharing and engagement is a quality signal for Google’s ranking algorithm which is increasing in significance quickly.
The more shares, likes, +1’s, Tweets or Pins you have, the more likely this content is going to rank in Google.
So get sharing!
Responsive Website Design for Mobile Users
A lot of your customers will visit your website on their mobile phones or iPads.
Make sure your website automatically resizes itself depending on the technology they are using. Try it on this website – resize the browser and see how the site automatically resizes itself to the dimensions of your browser.
Google has stated that if possible, they recommend you go with the responsive design approach for mobile and tablet devices.
Who have you worked with previously? Place these logos on your website to show your visitors that your customers like you.
Also include links to your business profiles on review websites such as True Local, Eatability, Yellow Pages, Google+ and Urban Spoon and encourage your customers to leave reviews on these sites.
The Conversion Rate Experts testimonials page is an excellent demonstration of the power of credibility and trust through testomonials and case studies.
Try and replicate this on your own website.
Trust and Credibility Symbols
Is your business a member of an industry body? Has your business been featured in a national newspaper or other news website?
Display these logos and credibility symbols prominently on your website to show that you are good at what you do!
Fast Loading Times
A fast loading website is extremely important for usability. If a website takes too long to load, users will leave and find what they are looking for somewhere else.
A local business website does not have to have a lot of pages and content in order to be effective.
Work out the primary purpose that your website serves in the decision making process of your desired customers.
Are they visiting your website to:
- Find your phone number?
- Find your physical address?
- Download your menu?
- Book an appointment?
- See your opening times?
- Download a brochure?
Make it easy for your customers to do all of these things, and you will have a good local business website.