Owning a website business is a little bit like having a baby. You can’t just deliver up a website to the world and then leave it to fend for itself. You have to nurture your online business and give it all the love it deserves to ensure that it thrives!
Unlike having a baby though, there are a few tips and tricks that actually really and truly do work to ensure you are able to sleep through the night! And we’re not going to be one of those smug mom’s who doesn’t share the secret to her baby sleeping through the night either. We are here to tell you everything you need to know about owning a website business… because it takes a village.
Do I Really Need a Website?
First off, let’s start by explaining why yes… yes you do need a website (if you don’t’ already have one). Especially in times like these where the online world is a lifeline to, well, everything in the outside world.
For one thing, already way back in 2014, 81% of people admitted to researching for a business or service on the Internet prior to making a purchase decision (Adweek). Then, by last year, 2019, the e-commerce industry was responsible for about $3.45 trillion in sales (Hosting Facts). In other words, if you don’t have a website, you are missing out on 81% of the action, and your piece of that 3.45 trillion pie. (That’s a lot of pie!)
For another, while you can sleep through the night, your website won’t – it stays up 24/7, burning the midnight oil and potentially making money for you.
Owning a website business also adds credibility to your off line business: 56% of people stated that they won’t trust a business without a website. What’s more, it puts you in the driver’s seat and in control of your brand. Your website acts as a platform for your messaging. It is able to shape the online, and increasingly, the offline perception of your business in a way that your social media channels (where everyone else can have their say willy nilly – hello, Trolls) can’t.
Finally, a well-nurtured website can offer a better return on investment, both in terms of money and your time, than any other form of advertising.
Need more reasons? Check out this step-by-step beginner’s guide on how to build a website from scratch.
5 Things You Must Know About Owning a Website Business
So you’re on board with owning a website. That is, really taking ownership of your website and giving it the love and attention that every website needs and deserves. As a reward, we will now give you our top 5 easy(ish) tips and tricks to ensure that your website has all the right elements to be effective and can work 24/7 for you, worry (and insomnia) free*.
* Disclaimer: keep in mind that while these tips and tricks WILL work, don’t expect overnight miracles – online success takes time and patience. Implement our tips, stay dedicated, tap into your nurturing side, and owning a website business can be a success.
1. What’s in a name?
A lot, actually. Having a good domain name – i.e., your URL or web address – for your website is key. It not only tells visitors who you are and what you’re about, it tells Google et al who you are and what you’re about. This makes it an important factor in search engine optimization and whether or not your website ever even gets found in search. (This is one game of hide and seek you don’t want to lose if you want to be found first, by the way.)
Top tips for choosing your domain name:
- Choose a domain name that is clear, succinct, and an obvious descriptor of what you do/offer, for e.g., your business name. If your business name doesn’t cover all these aspects, consider adding a short descriptive word. For e.g., Bob’s Boot business is called Big Bob. So Bob may want his domain name to be BigBobBoots.com.
- Make your URL short, memorable, and easy to type
- Where possible always choose a .com domain rather than .net or .org
- Avoid using hyphens or numbers
- Check copyrights on your name
- Register your domain name with a trusted service
- Register your domain name for a long period to ensure ongoing ownership and, ultimately, ongoing brand recognition
2. How can you stand out from the crowd?
We’re not in middle school here: you really do want to stand out from the crowd. We’re also not in kindergarten: not everyone’s a winner and not everyone gets a prize. Our point? You want your website to stand out from the crowd and there is NO SHAME in conducting a bit of competitive research to make sure that you do exactly that in comparison to your direct competitors! Owning a website business also means you need to own the online space, if you know what we mean!
Top tips to help you dominate your search space:
- Start with Google: search for websites
- in the same business as you,
- in the same region as you (where relevant, i.e., if you operate locally as opposed to nationally), or
- even in a business space related to yours.
- Look at their colour themes, their web design, their content, then think about how you can do it better, bolder, (b)righter.
- Take the time to perform a proper SEO competitor analysis. It’s not as tech-ey or as hard as it sounds – we give you all the tools and take you through it step by step here.
3. Are you easy?
To contact that is!
Your contact information –
- your phone number
- email address
- physical address/location (where applicable)
- hours available
- online support / chat tool, etc.
These need to be front and centre on your website: easy to find, in your visitors’ faces.
Giving potential customers at least one way, preferably two, to reach you, has been proven to generate leads and sales. It also vastly improves user experience, something Google and other search engines are placing increasing value on.
Top tips to make your website human-friendly:
- Visitors to your site shouldn’t have to search around blindly to discover how to get in touch with you. Yes, we are living in an increasingly online world, but this doesn’t mean people don’t still want, even crave, human contact and support. Talking to a real live person, and knowing how to do that without having to look too far or too hard, is still key to business, and success when owning a website business.
- Make sure your contact information is visibly present (Captain Obviously present) at the top of every page, and/or that your online support chat box is available on the bottom right of every page, so even if a visitor navigates away from your home page, they can still contact you easily without having to hit the back button or search again.
4. Do you have a strong call to action?
In other words: is it obvious to visitors to your site what your primary purpose in life/business is? What you want them to do? And how they can do it?
For example, if the primary goal of your small business website is to make sales, make sure you include a relevant, obvious, strong call to action that compels visitors to convert. In the case of sales, then, this CTA might be ‘Buy Now, Save 10%’ button in a spot they can’t miss it. Or, if you want to generate leads, you might have a bright button with a clear statement that says ‘Get a Free Quote’, which then links to either a contact form, an email address, or a phone number.
Top tips to get people to act:
- Emphasize the importance of your call to action with clever placement and striking design.
- Place it at the top of the page; use a striking colour or design element to allow it to jump off the page; or, even better, make use of personalization apps to personalize your CTAs with repeat visitors names etc.
- Don’t be afraid to be obvious – people like to know what you want, where to go, what to do (even if they won’t admit it).
5. Have you embraced the power of Google?
Search engines, and how you play with them, can make or break you when owning a website business.
Investing in SEO – search engine optimization – especially local SEO can help your website rank better in organic search results; thus helping more potential customers find your site; thus, ultimately, generating you more leads and, ultimately, making your more money.
SEO has many faces, and can be implemented in many places:
- Content optimization just grows and grows in importance, which means the more
- well-written content you can provide,
the better it is for your visitors, the better it is for search engines, and the better it is for you;
- Keywords within content continue to play their part (no matter what anyone else tells you), so be sure to find your 3-5 primary keywords, or longtail keyword phrases, specifically related to your business, and include them within your website’s copy;
- Metadata optimization is a fairly simple, painless place to start – including your keyword(s) in the meta title, description, and tags for each page, as well as in the meta titles of your images, can vastly improve how search engines find, and therefore rank, your site;
- Site structure, and SEO thereof, can also affect your site’s performance in search – talk to your web developer about making sure your site format and structure is search-engine friendly. Or, you can learn more about how to do this yourself, or at least understand it better, here.
Top tips to help you rank like a boss:
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. SEO experts exist for a reason – they are trained to tame Google and all their pesky search algorithm changes and regulations as quickly and professionally as possible without ever falling foul of the rules. Which means they can take your site from the graveyard of the second page of search to the page one winner’s circle.
It wouldn’t be hyperbole to say that, particularly now, your website is the very backbone of your existence. Online or otherwise. It’s what connects you to your customers. Without your customers, you’d have no business. Knowing this importance of your site, combined with knowing your brand, what you do and what you can do for people, will help you for years to come when maintaining and nurturing your site to be the best it can be.