5 things every small business website needs (and 3 things to get rid of immediately)

What's your website done for your small business lately?

Is your website hanging around the internet just sitting there acting like an online business card?

Or is it something that's actively working for you and sweeping business in your door?

Because it should be the later.

Your website is like a virtual salesperson who's super-dedicated to you, is ultra-loyal, and loves working for you 24/7. 

Make sure your small business has these 5 essential components so you can attract customers like bees to honey.

And then make sure you're not also making these 3 HUGE mistakes that drive customers away.

5 must-have elements for your small business website.

1. Your website needs to be mobile-friendly.

Since Steve Jobs put a computer in back pockets around the world, people have been finding your small business using a mobile device. 

Especially in travel communities *ahem—Cape Cod*.

With smartphones being ever-present the ability to search things on-the-go has never been easier, or more widely used.

For instance, I know from my specific web analytics that there's at least a 48% chance you're reading this on your smartphone. If this site wasn't optimized for mobile, it's extremely likely I'd lose 48% of you right off the bat.

I just had my business website redone, susanpeaveytravel.com, and I have to say it is absolutely beautiful.

It really makes you feel like you want to be in the picture. I love it and my guest have said how nice it is too.
— Susan Peavey of Susan Peavey Travel

According to Dimensional Research, of all customers they surveyed, 90% said that they are significantly influenced by online reviews when buying products or ordering services.

When a site posts their customers' reviews, 63% of visitors stated that they are more likely to make a purchase.

It's a no-brainer to have these testimonials on your website.

Figure out what your customers biggest and most common pain points are.

Then choose a few of your best testimonials that support how you can fix those problems for them. 

RELATED ⇒ Do NOT list 30 testimonials that are listed end-to-end and have a scroll length of 8-fee. No one is going to read that.

Pick your best and your most recent reviews and display them logically. Imagine you were your customer. How would these testimonials make you want to hire your company.

5. Have Google Analytics installed on your website.

Google analytics is free and it hands you a wealth of information so you can better understand your target audience. 

And just as important, it helps to determine if you're doing a good job serving them with your web content.

5,000 hits might make you feel all warm and gooey on the inside but what does it really mean when only 2 of those hits are customers that might buy from you?

Sure, 5,000 hits feels good in the short-term, but it doesn't do your business any good.

If you don't dig any deeper in Google Analytics than these vanity metrics—you don't have any idea if you're headed in the right direction, or off a cliff.

 Traffic referral chart from Google Analytics tells you how people are finding you.

Traffic referral chart from Google Analytics tells you how people are finding you.


Some of the basic things that Google analytics will help you understand are:

  1. How many people visit my site? 
  2. Did they stay or did they bounce?
  3. Where are they coming from?
  4. Are my ad campaigns working?
  5. What page did they last view before leaving?
  6. Am I getting traffic from your social media pages?
  7. Am I meeting my growth goals?

And my personal favorite...

Do I have a demographic of customers I didn't even know I had?

When we started to dig deep into Harborview Studios analytics, we expected to find the usual kinds of things that brides-to-be search for online. 

But what we discovered is that some of the people visiting his site are women between 18 & 25 who are on DATING SITES.


If you don't dig any deeper in Google Analytics than these vanity metrics—you don't have any idea if you're headed in the right direction, or off a cliff.

This revealed that his sales cycle was much longer than he originally thought and it helped him to adjust his marketing accordingly. 

But Google Analytics has the ability to hand you much more information than you can imagine.

Goal conversions, clicks off of your website, forms submitted, items put into shopping carts that were then abandoned, an endless mine of information that can improve the experience you give your customers.

3 Things you need to take off your website—right now.

1. Flash.

Flash is dead.

Adobe officially announced it will no longer support Flash in 2020.

Flash is a security risk—which is one of the reasons why Steve Jobs banished it from the iPhone back in 2010.

You might pine for the good ol' days of Flash and rotary phones but it's time to come to terms that technologies come and go. 

If you have Flash on your site or your entire site IS a Flash site, you need to  replace it ASAP because pretty soon your website will become 100% obsolete. 

2. Autoplay music, anywhere.

Unless you're a band this feature has no place on your website. Not anywhere.

Mariachi music is charming and relevant on a Mexican restaurant website, but it's utterly jarring when it's unexpected.

Especially when you're supposed to be working. But instead you're figuring out what kind of margarita you're going to have with the girls later on—and your boss is just a couple feet away.

Busted! (And incidentally... your visitor is going to talk about the negative experience they had with your website.)

TAKE AWAY ⇒ Don't add features onto your website just because it's "cool". It needs to have a specific purpose. Aside from being tacky, music slows down your website. 

Let it go.

3. Mobile pop-up forms. 

Beginning January of 2017, Google started penalizing websites with pop-up ads on their mobile pages.

Unless it's legally required (ie, liquor companies verifying ages to enter a site) they have been labeled a disruptive experience.

This is not surprising considering how annoying they can be if they're implemented poorly (check out how to create pop-up forms that don't suck). 

While pop-up windows can be a very useful—a lot of marketers have used them for evil, in other words, lazy SEO practices.

Google is very focused on the user-experience and so they created a rule to deal with that and mobile user experience is very important to Google.

 Hubspot's example of bad and good mobile pop-up forms

Hubspot's example of bad and good mobile pop-up forms

If you're using a pop-up tool, like the one in Hubspot's free marketing tool, you have the option to remove your pop-ups from small screens in general.  

Even With These 5 Essential Elements, Your Work Isn’t Over….

These are the most important elements of a website that will generate leads and drive business.

    This is just the beginning.

    Know that you're website is never going to be "complete."

    It's not an As See On TV rotisserie—you can't set it and forget it. 

    Much like your business, your website evolves over time (which is why it's important that it's easy for you to update).

    You're going to want to adjust things, add new language, take old pages off, and keep up with emerging technologies that are going to keep you connected with your customers. 

    Keep your website healthy and working for you so that you can continue to generate sales and bring in new leads. 

    Continue building on your new success.

    When your website basics are covered think about adding even more enriching elements: 

    • Links to your social media accounts
    • High quality graphics and photography from a professional
    • Consider a blog to add valuable content for your customers
    • Improve your SEO ranking
    • Install several Facebook pixels for retarget marketing

    Do you use other strategies to keep your website fresh? Have questions on the ones I mentioned above? 

    I'd love to hear them. 

    Leave a comment below, or reach me on Twitter @igcdesign.


    IN GOOD COMPANY DESIGN is a design shop that helps small & local businesses grow through recharged branding and easy-to-use Squarespace websites launched in 2-weeks.


    Get hand-in-hand guidance and working with your dream clients today.


    Cindy Caughey

    In Good Company Design, Barnstable, MA