Small Business Websites Melbourne: What Makes a Site Outstanding?
You may find these tips helpful if you have a small business website. These web tips can increase your perceived trustworthiness and expertise. We have identified nine areas or suggestions to make an outstanding website and more than 23 points that you can work towards to produce the best small business website in Melbourne.
9 Tips to make an outstanding website
- Fast loading website
- Website that clearly shows your offerings
- Attractive and error-free website
- Excellent user experience — Easy to navigate
- Comprehensive and helpful website content
- Create a trustworthy website
- Transparent vision and pricing
- Be authentic
- Offer a Guarantee
1. Fast loading website
Annoying your users
A slow website can annoy your users to the point that they bounce off and don’t see what you have to offer. According to Kinsta, 40 per cent of website users will abandon a site if they have to wait longer than 3 seconds for your website to load. It is critical to have a fast-loading website, particularly on mobile, if you wish to have an outstanding website.
Ranking first page
If your website is not fast loading, it’s possible it will not rank. The mobile version of your website is assessed for speed by Google. It is now a ranking factor, especially Core Web Vitals. If your site is not fast to load, Google can penalise you by ranking you in the boondocks or not at all. To assess your website speed, test it using Lighthouse or GTMetrix or Webpagetest. Start by looking at what is required to get the Core Web Vitals into the required zones. You may need to pay a developer to fix some issues, but certainly, ask your web designer to design for speed from the beginning.
2. Create a website that clearly shows what you offer
What do you do exactly?
Have you ever noticed how many sites don’t clearly explain what they offer? You might not have the patience to read through or search the site for more explanation. The key is to be clear in the Meta Title and to have the Meta Description describe and entice customers to your website in a few words and match the web page’s First Heading and content. Following your content, you need a Call to Action to help the user to know what to do next. This might sound common sense, but it is certainly not always followed.
Once you create the landing page or home page, do some testing. Organise a focus group or even family and friends to rate the clarity of the introduction, title and meta description. The title and meta description are not found on the website but on the Search Engine Results Page and can be set up in the back end of your website. Again, get your designer to ensure these all match from the outset. If you structure these elements this way, you will achieve better search engine optimisation and be easier for your user to understand.
Where are your services?
Make sure your services are spelled out clearly and leave no room for doubt as to what you offer. If your site is clear it is more likely to leave a good impression on your audience and help them buy from you. By adding your services clearly and in the main menu, you are also helping Google bots understand your site. Google bots must understand the keywords and purpose to deliver the site for the appropriate keywords..
Where are your prices?
Having prices on a website is a debatable area. If you sell something online, clearly showing all costs, including shipping, is essential. If your pricing is complicated and dependent on other factors, then perhaps pricing on the site is not appropriate. I always try to put myself in the position of my users and ask if they would expect prices to be listed on the website. If the answer is yes, then make sure you are transparent about what is expected.
3. Attractive and error-free website
Undoubtedly, we all judge by first impressions when it comes to websites. Sometimes we don’t even know what it is we like about a site, but it has a flavour that appeals. You can break this down by checking the details. What font is used on the main headings? Is it modern and simple, or elegant and expressive? Does it have serifs? Serifs are little feet extending off a font character’s main lines. Some serifs can aid in readability. Serifs tend to be on older-style fonts, but not always. Fonts have a history of usage, which can subtly bring feelings to remembrance. Perhaps you relate a font to a significant brand or an era. Fonts are fundamental to setting the tone for your website. Generally, your web designer will ask for your Logo to start your website’s design, which may contain a particular font. If you intend to change your Logo, be sure to let your web designer know before starting, as this can completely change the style of the pages. Make sure your typography is large enough to be easily read and has generous line spacing, as this will bring more ease for reading.
Images, photographs and graphics are crucial elements that make an outstanding website. I was recently asked to look at a website that offered services in the design industry. I was looking to see if there was a reason to trust this organisation. The thing that raised a red flag was the lack of images. Images provide proof, especially in the design industry.
Images add a flavour to a brand, and they also help to explain complex situations. Images can be used to add a break in a large chunk of text and show more about you, your business, and your products.
Consider employing a professional brand photographer to capture your brand and products when looking for images for your business. These images can be an excellent investment and provide a years supply of pics that you can use to display on the website, your social media and other areas of marketing.
You may consider stock images if you need a different picture here and there. They are not as authentic as shooting your own, but they might be sufficient for your purpose. Remember, stock images cost you roughly $16-36 per image. Please choose an image that is the correct proportion for the location it needs to go. For instance, if you want a banner image, this probably needs to be broad and narrow. Don’t choose a vertical/portrait-shaped image or one that doesn’t crop well into the required shape. Also, remember a banner needs to be large enough and of good quality. You will require an image of approximately 1920 x 1080 px for this purpose. The other consideration is if you want the text to go over the image. Is the image too busy to accommodate the text? This might be something you leave to your designer to help you choose. A final thought— it’s required to have alternate text on all of your images to aid accessibility and SEO.
The Logo of your website is an essential feature of the website for branding. You want consistent branding across all your marketing, so your users will identify you quickly and you can gain a reputation. Often a designer will use your Logo to help set the look and feel of the website. If you plan to change your Logo soon after designing the website, then please let your website designer know this detail. It will save you a good deal of time and expense.
One mistake many business owners make when designing their website with their Logo is to make the Logo very large and feature on the page. This is a mistake because your website needs to be focused on your user. The Logo helps establish your identity, but the site needs to be user-focused. The old saying is, “People don’t care what you do as much as why you do it and how you can help them.
Spelling and grammatical errors
Have you ever gone to a website and noticed several spelling mistakes? How does this make you feel? For some people, this doesn’t seem right and sets a bad feeling in terms of the trust. Remember, it might not bother you, but it will undoubtedly irritate some of your users. Try using a spelling and grammatical checker like Grammarly before posting your page.
Plagiarism is a big problem for more than one reason. Firstly, it is stealing to plagiarise someone’s else work, but the second problem is duplicate content. Search engines will rank your page poorly if your content is similar or the same as some other webpage. Robots can quickly tell if there is more than one copy of a page and which is the original based on date and domain authority and this can also apply to images taken from other websites.
If you just published your website, you likely have low domain authority. Domain authority is a ranking on the world wide web that positions you in a page order when searched by keywords. It will help if you improve your domain authority by providing great content and value to your users, bringing trust and organic links to your pages. These links are called backlinks or Off-page SEO and are crucial to your site’s visibility on the internet.
Error Free Website
An error-free website is crucial to give that trust factor. When looking for statistics for this article, I found a site that did testing. Still, in the same location, I saw a prominent warning (see image below) that items were missing or broken and errors on the page. Immediately my trust in this site and its proof went out the window. I’ve pasted a picture of the warning message below. These warnings can happen simply on your website because of a lack of web care and diligence. It is essential to look after the maintenance of your website and be sure that errors are not printed onto the page as was this one.
4. Excellent user experience and easy to navigate
Don’t you find it irritating when you hunt all over a site to see a particular page? If you lay out your pages clearly and concisely within categories, not only do you assist your users, but you can gain extra points for ranking. Keywords used in a navigation system can also help you rank better.
Consider creating pillar pages in your menu. A pillar page consists of an over-arching topic menu item and a breakdown of sub-topics listed under this menu item. The sub-topics should cover every area of the over-arching topic, including detailed and helpful information that clearly shows your authority in this area that you specialise in.
Here’s an example using Websites as the over-arching topic. Web Design might be the main menu item with a dropdown list of sub-items such as Web Development, Website Maintenance, eCommerce, Content Management Systems, Hosting, SEO, and Content Creation.
The beauty of this information structure —it is search engine optimised and will help with your authority on Search Engines.
No hidden items
I was recently on a site looking for a particular form to send a message. I didn’t find the web form, but I found an email. The email owner quickly responded and pointed out that they had a web form on the page. I didn’t see it immediately because they had hidden it with an image that needed to be clicked to find the form. It wasn’t clear to me to click the picture to access the form. This is an example of poor user experience. It’s important to follow standard practices to make it easy for users to find what they want. It also saves your business time having to explain where to go.
5. Comprehensive and helpful website content
Up-to-date and fresh content
Having fresh content is always paramount. This is Google’s number one area of focus for ranking websites, which is very valid, as we should use our websites to assist our potential customers. It is vital to provide them with unique and helpful content.
If you supply prices, ensure they are accurate across the site and have no contradictions.
Consider the burning questions your users might have, write the question on the page, and then answer them. This is an excellent Search Engine Optimisation technique.
Ensure other sites pointing to your website, such as Local Directories and Socials, are also up-to-date.
If you are blogging, and have the date on the post, then be careful to keep your posts fresh. There’s nothing more off-putting than something that’s not been touched for years. It suggests you are not doing much business, negligent, or closed.
When visiting a website, it is common to be unable to locate the contact details. If your clients are likely to want to contact you, then put your contact details in a logical place where they can quickly be found. Classically the contact details might be in the menu or footer, or the phone number could be placed at the top of the page. These are three locations where people are used to finding contact details.
As well as this, use social media icons to help your users find further information and gain further trust in your organisation. Make it easy for your users to communicate with you, learn about your services and ultimately buy from you.
Clear descriptions of offerings
People want to see what you offer from all angles. That might include a detailed description and photographs of points of interest. People might want to know the size and scale of your product or the colour. They will want to see your product in action, i.e. being used for the purpose it was made. You could use case studies to describe your offering. Without these details, your users may feel apprehensive about buying from you.
6. How to create a trustworthy website?
If your website is not fast to load, you may be flicked before you are even seen. If you are not fast to load, Google can penalise you by ranking you in the boondocks. The websites listed on the first page of Google are considered more trustworthy than those on subsequent pages.
Reviews are expected on eCommerce sites today. Without great reviews, you are unlikely to be found in the rankings; Shoppers are looking for those five-star reviews. Find a system to get your customers to review you. If your customers are in the mid-to-late age bracket, you may need to think outside the box to encourage them to use technology and create a review.
Behind the scenes look
Your users want to know who you are. They want to know you are a real person that cares about them. Adding an about section, with images and bios, creates trust with your users.
Some simple steps are crucial to take for security on your website. Firstly you need to have an SSL certificate. You can tell if you have one of these if you have a small ‘s’ at the end of the https:// part of your URL. The s stands for security. You can check if your certificate is valid by looking at the small lock at the beginning of your URL (web address). If you click the lock icon, you can see the certificate. This image shows that the connection is secure. When you click the second arrow it tells you who verifies the security.
There are different security certificates; some cost a bit to provide the appropriate security, while others can be free. Certificates can expire, and it is worth knowing how to discover this detail. You can check if your website has up-to-date security using the Chrome Browser.
- Open your website in the browser.
- Click on the three dots –ellipses menu at the top right of your browser.
- Choose ‘More Tools’ then ‘Developer Tools’ from the pop-out menus.
- When the new window opens, choose ‘Security’ from the top menu.
- You can then see the first message, which tells you if the page is secure, valid and trusted, or not. (see image below) By clicking the blue ‘View certificate’ link, you can view the actual certificate, which will tell you when the certificate expires. (below) If you have a free certificate, the web host will often renew it for you. Still, if you are paying for a more secure site, you will need to pay and ensure it is up-to-date by the date provided.
Display Trust Icons
Some further steps may be appropriate for you, depending on your website. Some people display trust icons such as McAfee Secure and Norton Secured to borrow trust from an official organisation. There are other trust badges, such as VeriSign Trusted, which have been tested to increase use by 42%. bluefountainmedia
Paypal Verified, or Secure Payment Stripe, may be good badges to display on your shopping cart or shop page to bring a little further trust. You could also consider a free shipping badge or a 7-day free trial icon.
Another great idea is to put your awards on the page. If you have won any awards, add these icons or certificates to your page. Often you see websites display logos of those who have trusted them to provide services. This is a terrific way to provide proof of good service and trust. Your customers would be thinking, and if this big company trusted them, I can also.
Terms of service and privacy policies are also crucial for assurance and trustworthiness. Privacy policies are required by Australian law on websites that collect customer data, such as via a contact form. And if you are operating a shop using an eCommerce system, Shipping Policies and Terms of Service are all significant features which need to be kept up to date to help users confidently buy from you.
No broken links
Broken links or links that go nowhere do not bring trust. Get your web designer to create an informative and engaging 404 page to redirect your users to where they want to go. By clever communication, you may get them back, but often, they will leave to find someone else. Test your pages with a broken link checker regularly and update the broken links found. There are many such tools on the internet. Here is just one —deadlinkchecker
7. Offer Transparent Pricing and Approach
Again, providing as much detail as possible is essential because there is so much competition at your fingertips. If you have a straightforward pricing structure, perhaps it’s helpful to have it on the page. Consider your competition. Do they have prices, and would your customers feel more comfortable buying from you if the prices were on the page?
When describing services write your approach or vision, not in a way that is all about you but about your customers.
8. Be Authentic
Authenticity is very popular today. With business primarily going online, that personal touch is perhaps missing, but it doesn’t have to be. Creating an enticing persona and brand story can attract users interested in you, your look and your brand. Some businesses have become sensational overnight. They have created a brand that shows many details of their everyday life that draws followers. These followers regularly devour their content. Consider who your tribe is and what they want from you to provide that authentic experience.
9. Offer a Guarantee
A guarantee might clinch the deal, depending on the product. I wish beds came with a guarantee that they would remain comfortable for at least their warranty period! Consider giving a money-back guarantee which tells customers you firmly stand behind the quality of your product. Some businesses offer a 14-day or 30-day money-back trial to assure satisfaction.
We are an Australian web design company that has organically grown due to providing quality and customer satisfaction, plus our interest in search engine optimisation. Today, over 3000 web design companies within Australia compete for business, ranging from backyard organisations to those offering enterprise systems. So, if you are looking for a web designer, consider which end of this spectrum you want to enter. If you like to look someone in the eyes and talk about what you need, you should look for a local business. Sometimes some situations cannot be easily explained over the phone or face-to-face online.
With the advancement in online video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Join.me, Microsoft Teams, GoToMeeting, and Cisco Webex, to name a few; it is feasible to hire a website builder /designer that operates in another part of the country. If you choose someone internationally, you must consider other aspects such as language or cultural barriers.
The website designer discusses your requirements and gets you to send them any files, such as logos or website articles and images. From this information, they can put together the design required and organise reviews at scheduled times. If you are happy with how things are going, you can approve or discuss changes, and the process can go back and forth until the completion date.
Hopefully, the points mentioned above will help you understand more about what is required for an outstanding website before you begin and help to get your new website off to a successful start.
Don’t hesitate to contact us here if you want us to create your website, optimise it for search or provide website maintenance or content creation. We are more than happy to assist.
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