COVID-19: Take advantage of your time and revisit your small business website
Now that brick-and-mortar retail stores are closed or severely limited in working hours, it’s time to take advantage of the growing need for online presence. As things slow down, spend the extra time you have as a business owner on updating your website to create a reliable sales channel that turns visitors into customers.
For the foreseeable future, most of your business will be coming from your e-commerce website.
So here’s a list of tasks that can be done with your website to increase sales during these uncertain times.
1. Think about the user shopping experience.
Look at your website from a first-time visitors’ perspective. What do you want them to see first?
How would you like them to perceive your business and your products or services?
Analyze your website from a shopper’s point of view and see what needs to be improved.
- How many clicks does it take to get to any item that is sold on your website?
- Is the store easily understood at first glance?
- What do you see first when landing on the homepage?
- How do you feel when you first see the website (in terms of design and look & feel)?
- Are your exchange and return policies readily available? Do you have a contact page with an e-mail address or a phone number to call?
- Do your menus display bestsellers and most searched products?
Looking up information about your business should be easy, and navigation should be intuitive. Utilize tags and categories so that customers can easily filter your products and find what they’re looking for.
2. Keep your target audience in mind.
It’s always helpful to have a clear understanding of who your customers are.
- What are they looking for on your website?
- Why did they come to you, and not your competitor?
- How can you make your products/services appear more relevant and essential to their lifestyle, and how can you reflect that in the design of your website?
Create a target customer profile (user persona) to better understand your audience so that you can tweak design elements of your website (i.e. product images vs videos that offer a 360-degree view of the product).
Think beyond colors and fonts and address usability and shopping habits.
3. Improve SEO to get more traffic
There are countless ways to enhance the search engine ranking of a website.
Make sure that your website’s text looks great for both engine crawlers and humans.
SEO is a primary way of getting good quality traffic from search engines in the long-term, so finetuning these elements is definitely worth your effort and time.
Start by upgrading page copywriting and product descriptions and add target keywords to your URLs and page titles. Also, add “alt” text to your images since people often use an image tab of Google search.
Additionally, consider starting a blog to support your website with fresh keyword-rich content that highlights your business, whether it’s the products that you sell or the services that you provide.
It’s a great way to add value and to advertise your products or services without being too “salesy”, while also ranking higher in search engines.
4. Deliver value to create leads.
In times of crisis, people start being more frugal with their money. That’s why businesses need to be more creative about the content that they deliver.
A blog can definitely help with that!
You can create gift guides (Mother’s Day is coming up!), product comparisons, or write about a product category that you have, highlighting the best products of each. Write about the practicality and quality of your store’s products so that every purchase feels like a sound investment.
In the descriptions of your goods or services, rethink the value that they provide and sharpen the copy. Focus on what customers will get out of using them instead of just listing the features and make sure that they give your customers a reason to spend their hard-earned cash that is in limited supply right now.
5. Add testimonials or product reviews for social proof.
Utilizing the power of product reviews and testimonials adds credibility to your brand by showing that others like what you do and sell.
Add a review plugin or service to your product listings to highlight customer satisfaction. Additionally, create a separate page that features screenshots of the feedback that you’ve received through e-mails or social media.
It’s best if reviewers have pictures and names or social media handles so that customers can see that these are real people and not ‘bots’, stating their high opinion of your products.
You can do that with the help of services like Yotpo.
Also, if you or your business has ever been featured in an industry magazine or local news, be sure to include that on your website.
6. Make sure your website loads well across all devices
Over half of all Internet traffic is now mobile. Make sure that your website design is responsive, meaning that all website elements adjust to any size and orientation of the screen that they are viewed on, including phone screens.
- Are buttons big enough for a finger to click on?
- Is the navigation easily opened and understood?
- Is text large enough to be read easily?
Additionally, a mobile-optimized site should load really fast. Mobile wi-fi connection tends to be spottier than the connection on PC, so don’t overwhelm your site with functionality that lack responsiveness.
Test the checkout process yourself to see how long it takes to complete it.
- Is guest checkout available?
- Are keyboards optimized for various data entry ( for example, card expiration date vs last name)
- Are there any long drop-down lists that are hard to use and scroll through?
7. Test the speed of your site.
The probability of “bounce” (when someone enters and leaves the site on the same page and doesn’t continue to other pages) goes up 32% when page load time goes from 1 second to 3 seconds.
- Optimize your images and videos to load fast.
- Get rid of any 3rd party apps and extensions that take time to load – if you need them, maybe there are better solutions out there.
- Abandon sliders and other redundant functionalities that don’t work too well or don’t add value.
Redesigning your website with customers in mind has always been a good way to boost your sales, but now it is something that will make or break your company. While traditional retail stores are closed, companies - including yours, need to adapt to recover from this setback.
If you’d like to discuss what can be done with your website to make it better, contact us and we can explore the options together.