If your business doesn’t yet have a small business website, you may be intimidated by the idea of creating one. Well, don’t be. A study by BrightLocal surveyed over 800 customers about how business websites affect their buying decisions and what information matters most to them on a local business website.
The good news for small business owners: What consumers care about most is very simple information that can easily be conveyed on the most basic of websites.
The four “P’s” of websites are product, price, phone number and place. A list of products is the most important information consumers want to see (cited by 12 percent of respondents), followed by a price list (11 percent), phone number (11 percent), physical address (10 percent), and hours of operation (10 percent). Less important, but still valuable to some consumers, are a contact email (6 percent), map and directions (6 percent).
Interestingly, some of the factors that small business owners stress out about adding to their websites matter far less to consumers than one might think. Images, testimonials and fast website speed were cited as important by just 3 percent of respondents, while a mobile site, blog and frequently asked questions (FAQs) were cited by only 1 percent.
So what totally turns consumers off a local business’s website? Having no phone number was the number-one turnoff, cited by 15 percent of consumers as something that would keep them from patronizing the business. Next on the list were no price list and poor content (i.e., typos or misspellings), each cited by about 13 percent.
What do these findings mean to you? First, keep in mind that BrightLocal focused on local businesses—so if your website is intended to convert prospects regionally or nationally, your results may vary. Second, just because factors such as images, blogs or testimonials are not as important to customers doesn’t mean they don’t matter. The survey points out that such elements help boost a website’s SEO, which can lead to more customers finding your site in the first place.
However, the good news for small business owners is that if you’re seeking to capture a local customer base, a few simple steps are all it takes to create an effective Web presence. Start with a basic website that lists your phone number, address, hours, products and prices. Take it up a notch by including a map or directions as well as a way to email you. Finally, add one or two quality images, such as your location’s interior or exterior or a popular product. That’s really all you need to get started boosting your business from local customers.