Credit: Website development image via Shutterstock
Ready to build a business website? Odds are, if you're like most people, you've given a lot of thought to how it looks, but not as much to its functionality. In order for your website to drive traffic to you, it needs to contain key information and tools to draw in local business. Here are seven tools your website must have.
A clean and concise home page. "You have only a few seconds to make a first impression on your home page, so make sure you showcase your products and services, a call to action such as subscribe, donate, free gift with purchase and 'share it' buttons, etc.," said Mike Samson, co-founder of crowdSPRING, a marketplace for crowdsourcing creative content such as websites. "Do not make it content-heavy— only 28 percent of visitors actually read homepage content."
The address of your business, including ZIP code and city. Phone number and store hours are also helpful. "Do this in actual text and not an image, as the search engines can't read the images that well yet," said Katie Hellmuth Martin, founding partner of 'PRENEUR, a member-based community and education center for entrepreneurs. "Get this on every page of your website if possible, but at the very least, the home page and contact page. If you are a service business, use the address of your office or shared workspace. If these are in text, a potential customer is searching on their phone, the number and address will automatically be live numbers on smartphones."
A store locator by ZIP code. If you have a retail site, customers need to find you, but this is also important if you are selling a product, Samson said. "Customers should be able to find your products locally and there should be a corresponding map," he said.
Details about your services. "If you're a restaurant, post your menu; If you're a hair salon, list your services," Hellmuth Martin said.
Facebook and Twitter icons that link to your accounts, which you are keeping active. "Recently, a grocery store executive opening a new store in a new market asked me: 'Is Twitter toast?'" Hellmuth Martin said. "Nice headline, but no."
Video and rich media. While the need for media depends on the type of business, visitors now expect more than just text when they go to a website. "It is becoming more affordable to incorporate video and much of the complexity has been taken out of the process of adding video to your site," said David Simon, vice president of ad solutions for at Local Corp., an online media company. The site should include Flash and HTML5 so that the media can be viewed on a variety of devices, he said.
Lori Chavez, Local Corp.’s vice president of marketing, said that posting video on sites such as YouTube in addition to your own website can help boost your company’s digital presence. “It is like a spiderweb,” she said. "The more places that link appears and links back to your site, the better your search rankings."
Meta tags that are plentiful and meaningful. "They should provide a good description when they come up in a search,” Chavez said.