Employee using tablet

Website Tech Tips Every Small Business Owner Should Know

Small business technology changes rapidly, but the need to have an online presence is a mainstay. Here are some general tech tips every small business should bear in mind when setting up or maintaining its digital front door.

Design well, stay current and have a call to action

Arguably one of the most important pieces of small business technology is a well-performing website. Few things frustrate a customer, partner or potential employee more than a glitchy website whose pictures and videos don’t load properly, whose text is illegible, or whose pages take forever to load, and information is outdated.

Several website Content Management Systems (CMS) platforms are well-suited for small business owners. For instance, WordPress is a commonly used platform for creating, managing and analyzing web pages; Weebly is oriented more toward blogging; and Magento is a popular platform for managing an ecommerce site. Small business owners should research online reviews to find a platform that is intuitive to use and whose functionality matches their business goals.

Regardless of the CMS platform selected, there are several design and content tips small business owners should follow to get the most out of their digital presence. A good first impression online is critical, which makes a website homepage an important piece of real estate. The website homepage needs to be visually appealing and have a clear “call to action.” Whether it asks the visitor to take advantage of a promotional offer, sign up for company emails, or learn more about a product or service, the call to action should be highly visible, enticing and current. A quick way to turn away potential customers is to promote a product, service or price that is no longer available.

Websites should have a healthy balance between text, images and video. Text content should be up-to-date, well-written and tailored for a business’ target market. Too much text, however, can be a turn-off. Break it up with iconography, infographics and images so that the website is visually pleasing and easy to scan quickly. Consider hiring a professional photographer for the best results. Video is increasingly a top click driver. How-to videos about products and services are helpful, as are “about us” and customer case study clips. Again, consider hiring a professional for the best results.

No matter the industry, customers seek out small business websites for the same general reasons – to find out what products or services it provides, learn more about the owners and management, and figure out how to get in touch. That’s why it’s important to have landing pages that answer each of those questions. An “About Us” page should describe the company and its mission clearly and without industry jargon. A well-organized “Products/Services” page should make clear what the business does and the benefits of its products or services. A “Contact Us” page should make it easy for customers to get connected by phone, postal mail, email and social media sites. A good tech tip: link directions to your business through Google Maps to make it easier for customers and partners to find.

Once you have a great-looking website created, keep in mind that it’s all for naught if it doesn’t translate seamlessly to a mobile interface.

Ditch the desktop

These days, most website traffic originates from smartphones or tablets, not desktops or laptop computers. There are now approximately 3.3 billion unique mobile Internet users and mobile-influenced offline spending is more than $1 trillion. Mobile users expect a website to load in less than three seconds. Therefore, a small business website must be “mobile responsive” – it must fit on a mobile screen and load quickly. Website design and payment processing must all work just as well on mobile devices as they would on desktop computers.

In addition to a mobile responsive website, many small businesses have also developed mobile apps. Apps for restaurants and retailers often allow customers to use a check-in option to earn rewards or discounts. When a customer checks in, the app can send an email or text message with a confirmation or discount code to redeem on the customer’s next visit. This incentivizes foot traffic and repeat business. Once in, owners can also encourage more online engagement with in-store displays to ask customers to check out the business’ website or let them know about online promotions.

While a website is a crucial tool for any small business, there are many other aspects of small business technology. Look for more small business tips in other posts on the EMPLOYERS blog.

The information provided is intended to provide a general overview. This information is not legal advice and should not be relied on as such. EMPLOYERS® makes no warranties for the accuracy, adequacy, or completeness of the information provided, and will not be responsible for any actions taken based on the information contained herein. If you have legal questions or need legal advice, please consult an attorney.