Small Businesses Need to Focus on What Their Websites Do

These days, the vast majority of small businesses have websites of their own, which is becoming increasingly vital given the ways in which consumers tend to shop for new products and so on. However, many companies may not be seeing the best possible return on their Internet investments, simply because they have not optimized the ways in which their sites work. That, in turn, means that their vital dollars may be going misused.

Many businesses both large and small are now wisely pouring more money into building their online presence, but what may separate the former from the latter is that they have typically gone ahead and done a lot of work to roll out a plan for how they will do it, according to a report from All Business. But, smaller companies, which almost always do not have the luxury of having social strategists and web gurus on staff that their bigger competitors might, could be going about this the wrong way simply because they don't strategize as heavily as they should.

In fact, most don't even take the simple step of asking themselves what they want their websites to do for their businesses, the report said. For instance, there are many different kinds of sites: Those that are mainly informational, those which can promote goods or services, or even e-commerce portals that allow visitors to make purchases. Of course, these are all very different, and therefore should be handled with varied approaches, but if companies try to make their sites do more than one thing, they might not be doing any of them well enough for the average consumer's tastes.

The kind of site an owner wants his or her company to have will also dictate what kind of program they'll use to build and manage it, the report said. Those looking mainly for an informational portal can simply research various types of blogging software and see which fits their requirements best, because there are likely to be a wide variety of options and features provided by each. But those who want to start an online store will need to do a little more work, and perhaps invest some money, in using the best e-store solutions for their needs.

Organization is key
Once a website is past the planning stages, laying it out properly is vital to attracting consumers' eyes and then retaining their attention, the report said. In general, some of the basic tips all businesses large and small should follow in this regard is to keep the amount of information available on a company's front page relatively low. People may be turned off by a large amounts of words or pages that require them to scroll very far, if at all. The simpler a front page is in this regard – with maybe just a few short paragraphs of text, a good-sized photo that encapsulates what a business is all about, and a sensible layout – the more likely a visitor will be to find the site appealing.

However, that doesn't mean that this front page, or any other on a site, should be left alone once it's been put into place, the report said. Regular updates are required to make people think a company is on the ball, because if it's October and the last update to a site's front page is talking about getting ready for summer, that's going to be a big turn-off.

Of course, setting up a website isn't always easy, or cheap, and as such, owners may need to do more to prepare their companies financially. That could include cutting costs for small business insurance to save potentially large sums of money every year.