By Lauren Hill

In the small business community, a website is your most significant piece of marketing. Potential customers increasingly use a search engine query to find businesses when they don’t have one in mind, so it’s more important than ever to have a site that’s easy to find and navigate. A web page is only as useful as the information it does – or does not – provide. When your small business website isn’t getting the traffic you want or expect, one of these factors may be the culprit. Start with these tips to increase your company’s success.

1. Include Crucial Content

It’s amazing how many websites leave out key specifics such as location, business name, contact information, services or prices. City names are relevant keywords used during searching, and you should list them on every page of the site to ensure search engines don’t overlook your page. Customers often look for location information to judge a company’s convenience, and when they can’t find a piece of data they want, they may move on to the next company on their list. An easy step to ensure your business location winds up on every page is to include it in the footer of your site.

2. Use a Professional Designer

As entrepreneurs, each new business brings with it an opportunity to create something that reflects your heart and soul. It’s all too easy to take every step in the process personally when you view your business as an extension of yourself. Designing your own website is tempting, both to save money and ensure your vision comes to life, but it may be a mistake. Unless you have enough tech savvy to customize an existing template or create one from scratch, leave this task to the professionals. Consumers buy with their eyes first, and customers overlook sites that don’t reflect success. A modern layout, eye-catching design and clear format go a long way to catch the attention of your target market.

3. Clean Up SEO Content

Optimized website text isn’t just an extra anymore; it’s a necessity. Make sure that your SEO content is fresh and matches the feel of your business. Customers notice when you list keywords in the footer or cram them awkwardly into sentences. Stick to thoughtful, well-written blog posts, biographies and product descriptions with keywords artfully interjected. As important as the pace and diction of keyword use is the quality of the content. Poorly worded, confusing or fake content pieces may lure someone to your site initially, but they aren’t likely to stick around. You can easily outsource this part of your web page if you’re not an expert.

4. Keep Everything Up to Date

Copyrights, blogs, lengths of time and other dated material must be maintained in order for your site to stay relevant. Potential clients may be unsure if you’re still in business if the website seems out of date. Create an update and blog posting schedule and stick to it. That can mean posts once a quarter or even twice a year if that’s all you can manage. If you have a biography, be sure the dates match up. For example, if you list that you graduated dental school is 1985 and then say you’ve been practicing for twenty years, customers will think you haven’t updated your site since 2005. Make a note to update the timeline yearly, or use more vague language (i.e., nearly thirty years) to allow more time between updates.

5. Seize Call to Action Opportunities

Every page of your website is an opportunity to ask the customer to reach out and move forward with service. Don’t include a contact link in only one location and hope the customer connects the dots. Take every opportunity to list your phone number or email address or to connect them directly to the contact form. The goal is to close the loop between telling the consumer what your company can do for them and implore them to ask you to do business.

Your web presence is the electronic representation of your business. In this increasingly digital world, it’s vital to create a clear, concise and optimized site to attract traffic to your company. If you’re unsure about any part of your website, consult an expert. After all, as an entrepreneur, you know better than anyone how beneficial a specialist can be.