An up-to-date and easily navigable website can lend authenticity to customers and prospective employees.

In these digital times, every small business needs a good website. But that doesn’t mean it needs to be all-encompassing. A website that’s both easy to navigate and informative can give your company a sense of legitimacy.

Three years ago, when Lana Pol, President of Geetings Inc., a trucking and warehousing business in Pella, Iowa, and owner of several other small businesses in and around Pella and Des Moines, launched her newest business, Mowbility Sales and Service, she spent a lot of time thinking about a new website. Like many small business owners, she outsourced the building of the website to another company, which turned out to be a good learning experience for her and her daughter, Tiffany Van Zante, the company’s Vice President.

“I asked a lot of questions: ‘What can you teach me? What can you allow us to do on our own?’” says Van Zante.

Understanding how to make small changes, like fixing a typo or adding in a promotion, is crucial for business owners and can save time and money. Here are five essential website updates and tips to help you gain control over your online presence.

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Gather Current Contact Info

Broken links and emails that bounce back can result in lost business. Make sure the company staff list is current and phone numbers and email addresses are correct. This is important, says Van Zante, because many people use your website to get the big picture of who you are and what you do. If your company’s contact information or services aren’t accurate, you may come off as unreliable to current or prospective customers.

Opt for Smart, Simple Design

If you haven’t changed your website in a while, it might be tempting to take an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink redesign approach. However, it’s important to keep the homepage clutter free. “Your design should flow and be easy to follow,” says Pol. “Nobody likes having to click on 10 links to get to what they want.”

As you consider what goes on the the homepage, keep in mind that you don’t have to include everything about your company on your website. You can deploy some of that information—especially photos—to your social media accounts, such as Facebook and Instagram.

Keep in Mind Mobile Load Time

In 2018, 52 percent of all worldwide website traffic came from mobile phones. That means your website has to play nicely on a mobile device—and it has to load quickly—because 53 percent of mobile users will abandon a site that takes longer than three seconds to load.

Offer New and Relevant Content

If your website always looks the same, that doesn’t give people much reason to come back. Update your website’s content regularly, even in small ways.

Van Zante suggests having a spot on your homepage to list upcoming events and new promotions or services. She also recommends adding the company website link to social media sites so that if you post a new photo, video, or blog post on social media, it automatically appears as an update on those channels. One thing that you should never allow to get old, says Pol, is the year your website was last updated, which is often visible at the bottom of the page. If the visible year is four years old, it might appear to users that your website has not been updated since then—a potential red flag to customers.

Keep it Social

If you didn’t have direct links or follow buttons for your social media profiles before, you should now. Consider your website and social media accounts as partners, with each platform helping inform the other. Social media is a great way to disseminate information to your customers and encourage them to share it, too.

As a small business owner, there are several things competing for your time and money, but making updates to your website is something that can really pay off.

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