Having a website increases awareness for a business and generates more opportunity for it to succeed. According to Search Engine Journal, business websites that were on the first search results page of Google owed 92% of their traffic to the search engine. Even though the benefits of having a small business website are clear, challenges and difficulties may be preventing these companies from creating a business website. Leaders may not know what steps are needed to create a website or if they have the proper technological tools available.
Managers may believe that a website is too costly of an investment or that there aren’t enough benefits. And those organizations that have looked into creating and maintaining a website may have become discouraged because the process was too difficult or time-consuming. Thankfully, various resources and affiliate marketing tools can help.
Qualities of an Effective Website for Businesses
When building a small business website, leaders and managers need to consider the elements that are fundamental to its success.
- User experience. User experience (UX) refers to what a visitor sees or experiences when visiting a website or webpage. For example, if a website takes too long to load, this could detract from the UX and result in fewer visitors and business opportunities. Information that’s presented neatly and organized on a website improves the UX, engages more visitors and generates potential business. Beyond just advertising and presenting information on what the company offers, it’s important to consider how visitors will be experiencing the website and whether it’ll motivate them to contact or conduct business with the organization.
- Strong search engine optimization and lead generation. The statistic provided by SEJ earlier shows just how vital search engines are in bringing visitors and building awareness for a website. This shows why it’s important that businesses creating websites embrace strong search engine optimization (SEO) strategies and techniques. For example, a small company that offers discount medical supplies in the northeastern United States should look into popular search terms and phrases for related items in that area and ensure that these terms and phrases are incorporated in regular articles and other types of new content on its website.
- Mobile functionality. Laptop and desktop users may have no issues accessing the website for a health clinic. But when users access that same site on a smartphone or a tablet, they may have issues when trying to pay for services, or the appointment scheduling function that had worked seamlessly on a desktop is now inaccessible. Small businesses need to consider how their website looks and feels to not only laptop and desktop users but also mobile users and consider if additional tools are needed to help make their site run more smoothly on mobile devices.
- Fresh, engaging content. Consider this scenario: The founders of a prescription delivery service have created a website that’s stylish, easy to navigate and highly trafficked. But over time, the service’s leaders notice that the website’s traffic has been declining. Even though the website itself is functional, the lack of new or engaging content, such as articles, photos and videos, being published on it is likely contributing to the decline in traffic. Websites need to create and offer new content to visitors regularly. This helps to bring in more visitors — potential customers — and creates an incentive for current customers to revisit.
Affiliate Marketing Tools and Strategies for Building a Website
After small business owners have an understanding of the elements that make up a high-quality website, they can use various tools and strategies to help maintain that site’s strength and performance throughout the future.
Website Building and Optimization Tools
There are numerous affiliates and tools that can help small business leaders when creating and optimizing a website. According to PCMag, the top-rated website building tools for 2019 include Wix, Duda, Gator Website Builder, Squarespace and Simvoly. Each of these tools has certain functionalities and features that the others may not have. Company leaders need to consider their objectives before selecting a business website creation tool to ensure that it has the functionalities that are most needed and most beneficial to their audience and customers. Small business owners can also enlist the help of professional website developers when building a site, although their fees may be higher than those for platforms such as Wix and Squarespace.
When maintaining a website, small businesses can perform A/B testing, which essentially looks at how specific elements of site performance would be impacted if certain elements were changed, such as if more visitors would come to the site if the text in the page title was reorganized or if different colors for buttons on a page would lead to more clicks. HubSpot, an inbound marketing software company, offers a list of different A/B testing and web optimization tools, such as Optimizely and VWO, that may be a strong fit for small businesses. Additional tools, such as Google Analytics and Google Optimize, may also be beneficial to small business owners.
As with website building tools, there’s not necessarily a “best” optimization tool for small business owners, but more depends on the specific needs and functionalities of an individual company’s website.
Connecting with Outside Partners and Influencers
Affiliate marketing, which Entrepreneur magazine describes as “a way for a company to sell its products by signing up individuals or companies (‘affiliates’) who market the company’s products for a commission,” may be an effective channel for growing a business. An example of affiliate marketing is a company that creates partnerships with influencers: individuals with large social media followings who can post information about the company on their own social media accounts. Then, if a user signs up for that company’s services based on the link or other information that an influencer has provided, the influencer can receive a commission. The partner doesn’t always have to be an influencer; the partner can be another business or organization that has the ability to create awareness of the company’s services. For example, company A can promote an upcoming event or a product release by placing an ad on company B’s website. Clicking on this specific ad on company B’s website will redirect visitors to a specialized landing page for company A. Because the landing page is specialized, this will enable the individuals at company A to see how many visitors clicked on that specific ad. The individuals at company A can then determine how many unique visitors they received thanks to the ad on company B’s website, and then company B will receive a commission from company A.
Even after building and maintaining an engaging website, leaders at companies and organizations still can benefit from additional marketing tools, affiliate partnerships and unique services outside of website creation and optimization.
This can include search engine marketing (SEM), which helps to promote and raise a website’s ranking within the search engine results. A common way of doing this is through Google Ads, in which companies pay for ads that can appear when certain audiences search for specific keywords. For example, a medical supply company in Boston can create a Google Ads campaign that targets keywords that residents in that area are searching for and help to increase the frequency of the company’s website in the top search results. Social media optimization (SMO) is another strategy that can help small businesses increase awareness. This can include purchasing ads on social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, that would appear to potential customers as they navigate these platforms. SMO can also include creating social media pages for a business itself, creating partnerships with influencers, and actively engaging with followers and communities to build awareness. Businesses must evaluate their objectives for their website SEM and SMO strategies, as well as the brand messaging and persona that company is trying to maintain. It may be appropriate for one organization to adopt a more casual tone when communicating on social media, but for another, that casual tone may negatively impact the company’s brand value and reduce the number of potential customers as a result.
Additional Small Business Website Tips and Resources
There are also tools that may help organizations in specific industries as they’re creating and maintaining their websites.
- For organizations dedicated to helping manage client funds and investments, TradingView offers charts and values of certain stocks that are easy to include on a website. Organizations that may need to process monetary transactions from customers and clients online can also use payment gateways like Amazon Pay, which enable websites to accept credit card and other types of payments for goods and services, and tools like Veem, which help to manage and organize the money received. This is according to Fundera, a financial services company that provides resources and information to small businesses.
- Google AdSense is a helpful way that many marketing, advertising and media companies can generate additional income from their websites. Based on how much traffic a website receives, a marketing or an advertising organization can earn additional income from Google AdSense ads that appear on that website and reach those additional visitors and individuals who click on these ads. But organizations should also consider whether these strategies are applicable or suitable to them. The ads on Google AdSense may benefit one company or organization, but may not be in alignment with the brand or values of another.
- E-commerce. For people who create and sell their own products, they’ll need to create a business website and use digital tools that can help them collect and process payments from customers. PayPal is a platform that offers quick, reliable payment services. Additionally, e-commerce website owners and operators will likely want to reach their current and potential customer base in as many ways as possible. This is where services like Mailchimp can be beneficial in measuring the effectiveness of certain email marketing campaigns.
- Health care. Health organizations can take advantage of online appointment and scheduling functions to provide a more convenient alternative for both patients and health administrators. Capterra, a software review and consulting company, provides a list of the various benefits of certain online appointment software and products.
As technology continues to evolve, so will industries as they adopt new tools in their efforts to reach new audiences. Entrepreneurs and small business operators and managers can now easily create effective websites and leverage affiliate marketing and other strategies to propel their success.
Capterra, Appointment Scheduling Software
Entrepreneur, Affiliate Marketing
Fundera, “How to Accept Payments Online”
Gator Website Builder
HubSpot, “8 of the Best A/B Testing Tools for 2019”
PCMag, “The Best Website Builders for 2019”
SEJ, “60+ Mind-Blowing Search Engine Optimization Stats”