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The Five Essential Functions Your Small Business Website Should Be Filling

Biz Strategy & Growth, Design & Aesthetics, Messaging & Copy

As a brand strategist and website designer, I’ve seen countless websites rise to the occasion and, unfortunately, some fall short of their potential.

Your small business website should do more than just occupy a corner of the internet — it should be a dynamic tool that fills multiple roles to support your business goals. So, follow along as we explore the five essential functions your small business website should be filling. 

1. Developing Your Digital Business Card

Your website is the first impression many potential customers will have of your business. Your online presence should invite your target audience in and make them feel comfortable. Start with a visually appealing homepage that reflects your brand identity, includes your unique value proposition, and establishes trust. Ensure that your contact details are prominently displayed, so potential customers know how to reach you. 

Your website should introduce your brand with flair and professionalism. Here’s how:

  • Brand Identity: Your website should be grounded in your larger brand identity — everything from your positioning to your core messaging and, of course, your visuals. Be consistent with your branding throughout your website to help potential clients get a feel for who you are and what you stand for.
  • Contact Details: Display your contact information prominently. Don’t make your customers play detective to find your email address, phone number or address. A form on your contact page can be helpful, but I’m also a fan of including an actual email address for people who don’t feel like completing it.
  • Value Proposition: Craft a concise yet compelling statement about what your business does and the value it provides. Think of it as your elevator pitch. Within just a few seconds, visitors should understand what makes you unique and why they should work with you specifically.

2. Delivering Information and Context

Your website should serve as an information hub, satisfying the curiosity of your potential customers. Imagine it as the encyclopedia of your business, where visitors can find everything they need to know. This isn’t the time for vague descriptions or unanswered questions. Provide comprehensive information about your products or services (including pricing!) so that there’s no room for doubt in your ideal clients’ minds.

When describing your products or services, go beyond mere technicalities. Explain the real-world benefits your customers will experience. Use clear language, highlighting how your offerings solve problems or make their lives better. Pricing information, if applicable, should be transparent. If there are any limitations to your products or services, don’t hide them. Honesty breeds trust.

Provide information that not only answers questions but also entices visitors to explore further. 

  • Service Descriptions: Detailed, jargon-free descriptions of what you offer are non-negotiable. Use clear language and highlight the benefits of your offerings rather than just focusing on the deliverables.
  • Pricing Transparency: Transparency builds trust. Even if you can’t provide exact figures (as in the case of custom services), provide a range or a guide to set expectations. This benefits you, as well as the client, because it helps visitors determine whether they’re a good fit for your services before they move down the funnel.
  • Availability: If you have seasonal or limited availability, make it clear. Nothing’s worse than falling in love with an offer only to find out you can only join twice a year or that spots are limited.

3. Building Customer Engagement

Your website should bridge the gap between your business and your customers, making them feel heard and valued. Incorporate tools like contact forms to make it easy for visitors to get in touch. Remember, the more accessible and responsive your website, the stronger your connection with your audience.

You want visitors to feel like they’re not just staring at a screen but having a conversation with your brand. Engage your audience with these tools:

  • Customer-Focused Copy: Do your research into your ideal clients’ lives, challenges, and desires so that you can craft copy that speaks to them.
  • Email Opt-Ins: Encourage visitors to subscribe to your newsletter for updates, promotions, and valuable content.
  • Social Media Integration: Link to your social media profiles. These platforms are an extension of your website and a great way to keep the conversation going.

4. Scheduling Appointments: Streamline Service Delivery

For businesses that offer services requiring appointments or reservations, the appointment scheduling and booking function is nothing short of a digital lifesaver. It’s like having a personal assistant who manages your calendar, ensuring your clients can book your services effortlessly, day or night.

By offering appointment scheduling and booking functionality on your website, you not only provide convenience to your customers but also streamline your service delivery. It reduces the administrative workload associated with managing appointments manually, minimizes the risk of overbooking, and optimizes your resource allocation. Additionally, it enhances the overall customer experience by giving your clients the power to schedule appointments on their terms.

Some elements to consider include:

  • User-Friendly Booking System: Ensure your booking system is intuitive, responsive, and mobile-friendly. Nobody likes a complicated booking process. I personally use and love Acuity. 
  • Date and Time Selection: Link your calendar, and allow customers to pick the date and time that suits them. The more options, the better.
  • Confirmation and Reminders: Send on-brand, customized confirmation emails or SMS messages and reminders to minimize no-shows.

5. Sharing Valuable Content: Positioning You as the Authority

It’s not just about filling pages; it’s about creating valuable, relevant, and engaging content that attracts and retains your audience. I often advise clients to start, revamp, or maintain their blogs, where they can regularly publish content that showcases their expertise, industry insights, and customer stories. 

Over time you can also start to focus on your SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Research and identify relevant keywords that align with your business and begin to integrate these keywords strategically into your content to improve your search engine rankings.

Quality always trumps quantity. It’s not just about churning out content; it’s about creating content that resonates with your audience and establishes you as an authority in your field. 

  • Regular Blogging: Use your blog to regularly publish relevant, informative, and entertaining content. Share your expertise, industry insights, and customer stories. This could also work as a podcast, provided you are using written show notes on your site to capture SEO opportunities.
  • SEO Optimization: Optimize your content for search engines to improve visibility. Use keywords strategically and create content that answers common questions in your industry.
  • Quality over Quantity: Remember, it’s not just about churning out content; it’s about creating content that resonates with your audience and establishes you as an authority.

Remember, your website is not just a collection of pages but rather a dynamic tool that can help your business grow strategically.

Each of these essential functions contributes to making your website a dynamic force that engages customers, drives sales, and builds your brand. But don’t worry, you don’t have to have all of these functions on lock today. The key is to start thinking about them and implementing improvements over time, as you can. When you’re ready, a professional website copywriter and designer (hi, it’s me!) can help you round everything out.