The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed how small businesses operate, with digital-first transactions gaining a massive amount of steam this year. But surprisingly, there are many businesses that are still hesitant to join the online revolution. In fact, some 29 percent of small businesses recently surveyed said they “planned to begin using a website for the first time in 2020.”
At this point, if you don’t have a website in place, you could be losing business. And even if you do have one up and running, you should check what’s on it to make sure it fits in with what today’s consumers are seeking.
Check out the following reasons why you need to optimize your website.
1. Faster Page Loads Lead to More Visits
There’s no question that visitors will leave your website if it loads too slowly – and quicker load times will also help you boost your conversion rates, one study found. In addition, another study found that sites that load within five seconds see 70 percent longer average sessions than those that load in 19 seconds. The more time consumers spend on your site, the more likely they are to show interest in your products or services, so keeping them interested is essential.
Not only that, but faster load times can increase your standing with search engines. Google has revealed that page speed is one of the ways its algorithm ranks pages, which means that slow load times can cause your site to be indexed lower in search results.
2. Many Consumers Are Viewing on Mobile
Do you know how much of your website’s traffic is derived from mobile devices? You can determine this information from your Google Analytics dashboard, and it may provide you with some surprising insights. Many business owners are stunned by the number of visitors that come to their site via mobile devices, and if this describes you, then it’s a good time to make sure your site is optimized for mobile traffic.
This means designing your site with mobile at top of mind, so that both desktop and mobile viewers are happy with the experience. In addition, you’ll want to use simple navigation and compressed images so your pages load quickly. And if possible, ensure that you use accelerated mobile pages (AMP), which strip your pages down to the essentials so they load quickly and yet they’re still easy to read.
3. Outdated Information Turns Away Customers
Have you ever visited a website to get quick answers to your questions, only to find that the site hasn’t been updated since the business launched a decade ago? This can often happen when a company gets so busy that website redesign is pushed to the back burner. But if customers don’t find what they want on your site, they may just visit a competitor.
Therefore, it’s essential that you maintain your site periodically and include current products, pricing, contact information and location news. If your business closed due to the pandemic, note when your reopening will be, and (if applicable), what your adjusted hours are. Remember that your website is one of your sales tools, and if you don’t treat it as such, you could lose sales.
4. Simplicity Leads to Conversions
Although some business owners feel compelled to share every detail possible on their website, some details can be saved for personal conversations you have with customers. Multiple studies have proven that simple website design delivers higher conversion rates. Consumers want “just the facts,” so be sure your site is simple enough to provide them with the information they need without having to first read paragraphs and wade through videos and slideshows that auto-play as soon as they land on your page.
5. Consumers Want to Contact You in a Simple Way
Your website is an avenue to open a conversation with potential customers, and many of them want to continue that conversation by speaking with you directly. Ensure that your site gives them an easy way to do that, whether it’s a phone number, email address, contact form, physical address or an instant chat. If your “contact us” page is buried somewhere among your team bios, customers may give up and move on out of frustration.