In my job, I get to talk with a lot of business owners. It’s one of the things I like best about what I do. During these conversations I often ask the business owner what they would like their website to do.

How can your website help you when you’re talking with your customers or clients?

When I ask this question, a lot of the time I’m told that they would like to use their website as a full-color brochure for their business on the go and in the field. This is my favorite answer! Why? Because it means that the website will have the opportunity to work hard for the business owner. It will be something that they’ll use and see value in right away.

Five things you can do to ensure your website works hard for you.

Keep your website current.

Outdated brochures, flyers and posters are often quickly discarded. However, I can’t tell you how many websites I’ve worked on that were 2-3 years old by the time I got to them. This always baffles me because outdated websites have a much broader reach than an outdated handout on the counter. I’m not saying discard your website like the flyers; just update it. If you don’t have ready access to your website, then you need to change that. Thinking about setting up a website for your business? Then make sure that whoever designs your website knows this and knows that you will be updating it. Easy updating should be built into the design.

Make sure it’s mobile friendly.

Studies show that the majority of internet users access the web on mobile devices like smartphones or tablets. If your website isn’t mobile friendly, you’re losing these potential site visitors. You may think, well the website still comes up on a smartphone. Perhaps, but the text, links, and menu or navigation are too small. If your website isn’t mobile friendly or responsive, it’s not working for the majority of internet users.

Include accurate contact information.

With folks accessing the internet on the go, they’re also looking for business hours, phone numbers and directions. Knowing this, websites need to make sure that addresses, phone numbers and business hours are current. Also, make sure your contact information and social media links are easily visible on your website. Having contact information like a phone number and a map for directions toward the top and bottom of pages is a good practice.

Invest in quality photography.

Even if you have a good eye and understand composition, you may want to invest in getting a professional to photograph your business location. A professional photographer not only pays attention to composition, but also has an eye for lighting, white balance, and more complex compositional structures. What does all of this mean? Good photos matter. Especially on websites.

Consider getting schooled in Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

As I’ve probably mentioned before, having a website is good. Having a website that’s easy to find is the bees knees. If your website isn’t coming up in search engine results for what you do or what you offer, it’s time to talk with someone who knows about SEO. SEO employs techniques and strategies that focus on getting websites seen in search engine results using the content of the website. Sometimes this also means adding more content. Nevertheless, it’s about ranking in search engine results without using paid ads (Pay Per Click ads or PPC ads).

If you want your website to work hard for you, taking these five steps will definitely help. Your website visitors will appreciate the time you take keeping the information fresh and accurate along with quality photos to showcase what you do. You’ll definitely see a difference in traffic if you make the move to a responsive, mobile-friendly site and optimize your site to be found in search engine results.