This guest post is brought to you by VerticalResponse.

One of the first things we do as small business owners is to create a website so prospects and customers can learn more about us and purchase our products or services.

But, when was the last time you took a hard look at your website through the eyes of those prospects and customers and considered what you could do better? Today we’ll share three practical ways to improve your small business website.

Understand Your Web Visitors

It’s vitally important to understand where your customers are coming from, what parts of your website they find most useful, and how often they’re coming back.  How do you get this essential information? Enter Google Analytics. Google Analytics, a free tool, will show you where your website visitors come from, what keywords they searched that lead them to your site, what pages and content they viewed while they were there, and how much time they spent on your site– plus a plethora of other information like location and gender and a myriad of other useful tidbits. By understanding who is or is not visiting your website you can decide what type of changes to make to better attract the types of visitors that will be likely to purchase your goods or services.


Now that you know a bit more about who you want to attract to your website, you can consider the design. According to Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab, 46 percent of people say a website’s design is the number one criteria for discerning the credibility of a company. So don’t let a lackluster design ruin your street cred with potential customers. Your website should be a visual representation of your company that’s an extension of the overall customer experience.

Consider the following:

  • Are the colors consistent with your logo and other branding?
  • Is it easy to find the information visitors want?
  • When a visitor arrives at your site, is it immediately clear where they are and what they can do there?

If you answered “no” to these questions, you may want to consider a refresh of some of the basic elements of your site that most highly influence conversions.

Fast & Functional

Websites need to be built for speed. With more and more consumers browsing online via smart phones and tablets, if your site is slow to load, you can kiss your visitors goodbye before they even get through your website front door. According to Forrester, 61 percent of smartphone users agree they will click away from a website if they don’t quickly find what they need.  You may want to consider a responsive design for your site to make sure it looks good and functions well, no matter how a visitor is accessing it– whether they are on a desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone. You can also look at more simple details like:

Your Headline: Within 3-5 seconds, a visitor should know, “Where am I?” and “What can I do here?” A headline on your homepage should answer these questions but remember to keep it short and to the point.

Calls-to-Action: Your call-to-action, or what you want a visitor to do when they arrive at your site, should be crystal clear. Don’t make them guess, or they are likely to leave. Keep your call-to-action in a prominent place and try to stick with just one or two main calls-to-action so you don’t confuse visitors with too many choices.

By understanding your visitors, investing in your design and making sure your website is fast and functional, you can better attract customers that are likely to buy and return to your site again and again.

Kim Stiglitz is the Content Marketing Director at VerticalResponse. You can follow her on Twitter at @Stiggy1.