#1 – Strong Security
In 2021, cyber risks could be considered one of the biggest threats for small businesses.
According to the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, 65% of Australian businesses have been interrupted by a security breach in the past year alone.
Small business websites are an exciting target for bad actors, due to the fact that security is often an afterthought, and unlike large businesses, small businesses tend to have looser processes and policies in place when it comes to managing security risks.
If your website has a contact form (which it should!), your website is likely processing PII (personally identifiable information).
In the event of a security incident where your website is breached, you may be required to notify all potentially affected individuals. For most small businesses, this could cause a catastrophic loss of confidence and trust from the local market. This risk is particularly important in Tasmania – where word travel fast.
Having a strong (and up to date!) plan in place to manage the security risks involved with operating a website is crucial in 2021.
Sarox offers a simple, fully-managed hosting solution which includes daily security monitoring and updates to vulnerable software. Contact us to find out more.
#2 – A Clear Next Step
So you have a fantastic product/service, and your website explains it perfectly to potential customers. What’s next?
Generally, customers do not like experiencing friction throughout their purchasing journey, and will jump out of the funnel if you make it too difficult to proceed down it.
You need to make it easy to convert visitors to leads and remove any points of unnecessary friction.
The exact way you do this will depend on the type of business you operate and the way your customers transact with you.
General tips include:
Make your call to action visible at all times
A visitor may make up their minds as to whether they want to do business with you at any time during their visit. Ensure that wherever they are, they can easily see – and perform – the action you are hoping for.
This can be as simple as adding a pre-header with your phone number and email address, that remains visible when the user has scrolled down. It could also be a button that links to a pop-up contact form, or a number of other things depending on your business.
Have contact forms EVERYWHERE
This tip applies even if you operate an e-commerce store where customers transact without the need for human input – but is especially important if you offer services, where human contact is often necessary to convert a lead.
By having contact forms on every page of your website, you give your visitors an easy way to jump into your sales funnel at any stage of their journey. This removes the friction of the customer having to wait for your contact page to load before they can reach out.
Contextualise your call to action
You should ensure your contact forms and call to action buttons are contextualised to the content on the page. This encourages your lead to move smoothly through this step of the funnel, by not changing their state of mind.
Don’t put a generic contact form on a services page! Instead, contextualise the form fields to collect information relevant to the service, and/or add a title above the form which encourages intent (eg. “Can’t find what you’re looking for? Get help here” or “Request your free quote”).
Clearly articulate what you do, how you work and what customers can expect
On a page designed to convert visitors to leads or customers, use the content of that page to paint a clear picture of what it is like to be a customer.
Explain what will happen after a visitor takes the action you want them to. This is often overlooked, but extremely important! Nowadays, people can be anxious about transacting online, whether that’s purchasing – or even submitting contact forms.
If you operate an e-commerce site:
explain your shipping times, costs and any other relevant information.
If you operate a service business, or another business where you need to make contact with a customer to complete a sale:
explain why, how and when you will be in contact, and let them know what information, if any, they will ideally have available by the time you reach out.
Use mandatory fields sparingly
Even if you need that information from a customer to complete the sale, it’s a bad idea to make the field required/mandatory within a contact form.
The aim of the game at this stage of the sales cycle is to secure the information you need to contact the lead and complete the sale – we do not want to increase the friction for the sake of collecting information that you can easily ask for once you have their contact details.
Think – if the customer doesn’t have that information readily available and the field is required, they may leave your site and never come back. If the field is not required, you will get their contract information – which you can use to retrieve the other information you need.
You do want to make at least an email or phone number field mandatory, to ensure you can contact the lead.
If you trade on “exclusivity” however, this may be an important part of your strategy. In general, these tips are not a blanket rule – they need to be contextualised to your business.
Ask Sarox to conduct a review of your website and provide actionable suggestions for improving your user experience and removing friction. Contact us to get started.
#3 – Social Proof
If the nature of your business allows for it, you should prominently display “social proof” throughout your website.
Social proof can be:
- Genuine reviews
- Screenshots of positive comments/posts from social media
- A “Featured In” showing publications you have been featured in
- Video testimonials
- Portfolio of work
…or many other things.
Social proof assures customers that you are a legitimate business and that your products/services are high quality – which is a huge source of anxiety for consumers in 2021.
Need a reliable website partner for your business? Work with Sarox to add social proof to your site quickly, according to best practises and by Hobart’s top rated local team of web designers.
#4 – Newsletter Sign-Up
I know….this is a bit “old school” – but email marketing still works!
Offer a newsletter sign-up form on your website, and you can build a list of people who are interested in your business – a number of which are likely future customers!
Need help setting up your email list and integrating it with your website? Contact us for a free quote.
#5 – Internal Linking
Internal links are links from one page of your site to another page on the same site. The links in your navigation menu are a good example of internal links.
Internal links are important for small business websites for a few reasons. In our eyes, the two most important reasons for focussing on your internal linking strategy are:
- They allow your visitors to find their way around your site; and
- They allow search engines to develop a better understanding of your website and the relationship between content on different pages.
Moz has a great article explaining internal links and their impact on SEO. Click here to be taken to their article in a new tab.
Contact us for assistance in your overall search engine optimisation strategy.
#6 – Live Chat
In today’s world of instant communication, it makes no sense to force your prospects to fill out a form and wait. By the time you check your emails and get back to them, they may have already purchased from a competitor.
Installing a Live Chat widget on your website provides a quick, seamless way for prospects to reach out and ask questions during their purchasing decision cycle. Most people are used to instant messaging with their friends, and it feels like less of a commitment than filling out a form and waiting for a call.
There are so many options available when it comes to live chat providers – we use a custom system at Sarox which integrates with our CRM.
However, you may find Facebook’s free live chat option to be perfect – when people message using the widget on your website, it starts a Messenger conversation with your business.
Your customers want to speak with you in real-time! Contact us to set up Live Chat on your website.
#7 – Useful Tracking and Analytics
Useful tracking and analytics tools can help you understand how your visitors interact with your website. This information is extremely helpful when it comes to making decisions in your business.
Google Analytics is the de-facto standard for website tracking, and provides a huge amount of useful information to website owners. It is free, easy to set up, and the data dashboard is quite user friendly for the amount of information that is available to analyse.
HotJar is another useful tracking tool which analyses website behaviour to generate “heatmaps” which show you where users are clicking on your page. You can also “record” website sessions to see how an average user interacts with your web page.
Both of these tools will help you understand how visitors interact with your website. Together, you’ll not only understand which pages are most important, but also understand how visitors interact with the elements inside of those pages.
Need help understanding what to measure and how you should measure it? We can help! Our Digital Natives can work with you to determine what’s important to track in your business, and help you integrate the tracking platforms with your website. Contact us for a free consultation.
#8 – Blog/Newsroom
You need a place to keep your clients, prospects and members of the general public up-to-date on what is happening in your business. While you can simply post updates to social media (including Google MyBusiness), we recommend posting updates to your website in the form of blog posts, and sharing those across your social media.
In addition, a blog is a useful way to share your expertise with potential customers. We use our blog at Sarox both to share company updates, and offer value to readers in the form of posts like this.
Post like this increase our search engine rankings, demonstrate how our services can provide value to a business, and generally improves the legitimacy of our company.
#9 – Abandoned Cart Emails
A must-have if your operate an e-commerce store!
Have you ever shopped on Kogan.com? If you have, you may notice that if you add items to your cart but don’t check out, they will follow up with you.
Annoying? For some.
According to moosend.com, an average of 69% of online carts are abandoned by users.
They performed an analysis and found that when an abandoned cart email is sent to these users, 50% open the email. Out of that 50% who opened the email, 21% clicked to complete their purchase. 50% of those people who clicked the email ended up completing their purchase.
That means that if you sell 100 products per day via your website at $100 each, you could increase your daily sales by 10 – and add an extra $1,000 to your daily takings!
Setting up abandoned cart emails requires setting up a mass mail service (such as Mailchimp), linking it with your website and configuring the relevant automations. If you need help at any stage in this process, please contact us – our Digital Natives will get you set up in no time!
#10 – Apple Pay/Google Pay
Another must-have for e-commerce store owners!
In 2021, more and more web traffic (and e-commerce sales) come from mobile devices. Mobile users now dominate the online space and demand fast, frictionless transactions – even more so than regular users.
By including Apple Pay and Google Pay options on your e-commerce site, you are giving your users the ability to make purchases in one or two taps – their payment and other relevant information is already in their Apple or Google account, so there are no forms that they have to fill out.
BigCommerce surveyed 7 brands that use their platform, who all say that they have noticed an increase in conversion rates and a decrease in abandoned carts since implementing Apple Pay.
If you are not comfortable working in the “back-end” of your website, you may prefer to have Apple Pay/Google Pay installed by a professional who can ensure everything is working – and most importantly, secure. Our Digital Natives have extensive experience integrating websites with payment providers – contact us if you need a hand.