5 Essential Features Every Tasmanian Small Business Website Should Have In 2024

February 27, 2024

Unlock the potential of your small business with our guide to the top 5 essential website features for 2024, from fast loading speeds to voice search optimisation, learn how to stay ahead in the digital landscape.

As we continue to move through 2024 (it's hard to believe we're almost a quarter through the year already...), the Hobart digital marketing landscape continues to evolve at an unprecedented pace.

Small businesses, in particular, face the challenge of keeping up with these changes to stay competitive.

From the brick and mortar stores of Hobart to those thriving fully online, the need for a robust online presence has never been more critical.

As we draw insights and lessons from our recently rebranded Wakeford Digital, and also a business in the Tasmanian community, we thought it was a great opportunity to sit down and have a serious think about five essential features we feel that every small business website must embrace this year.

We'll delve into why these elements are important, particularly in 2024, but also how they can be effectively applied, drawing insights from our own passion for digital marketing services like web design, SEO and social media.

Watch The Video:

If you're looking for an overview on the key website features - check out our video in the player below.

As a summary, the five essential features every small business website should have in 2024 are:

  1. Fast Loading Speed
  2. SEO Optimisation
  3. Optimised for Search Intent
  4. Voice Search and Smart Device Optimisation
  5. Local SEO and Google Business Profile
  6. (and a bonus inclusion)

Ready for more of a written deep dive? Let's jump in.

1. Lightning-Fast Loading Speeds

The average human attention span is around 8-seconds (Source).

It shouldn't come as a surprise that in an age where time is of the essence, your website's loading speed can make or break the user experience.

A delay of mere seconds can lead to lost opportunities and a higher bounce rate, meaning visitors don't engage with your website beyond the first instance (hence the bounce phrase).

This isn't something to fear however as optimising your website's load speed isn't too much of a tricky task.

Firstly though, how do you test your website's speed? 

Google's own PageSpeed Insights is your best stop - where you can input your website address (or a specific page), hit analyse and then wait for the results.

A score of 100 is the best result across the four categories of: performance, accessibility, best practices and SEO.

screenshot of Google's PageSpeed Insights tool showing 96/100 score
Google's own PageSpeed Insights tool can help analyse your website's speed.

If you notice a low score then this suggests a great place to start, with some easy ways to improve your website speed including: 

  • image compression (or shrinking the image file size, which is related but different from the dimensions like width and height)
  • adding alt-text
  • adding lazy loading and
  • exporting images in a web-friendly format

TL;DR: It's important that your small business website has a fast load time because it improves the user experience and benefits SEO.

It's important to remember that a fast website not only improves the experience for your visitors but also scores (big) brownie points with search engines - which brings us onto our next point...

2. Search Engine Optimisation

SEO, or search engine optimisation, is often referred to as the lifeblood of online visibility.

Although social media advertising continues to emerge, there's nothing quite like the organic and continual traffic that a strategic SEO campaign can bring to a small business.

What is SEO? Check out our dedicated SEO Hobart service page to learn more about what it is and how it can benefit your local business.

SEO isn't just about sprinkling keywords throughout your content, but instead building a comprehensive strategy that aligns with search engine algorithms and, importantly, user intent.

A well-optimised website acts as a beacon, guiding potential customers through their journey of the internet straight to the digital doorstep of your website.

screenshot showing graph of SEO results
Free tools like Google Search Console can be a great place to start improving SEO for your small business website.

So, what can you do about SEO?

You can use free tools like Ubersuggest and Google Search Console to quickly check how your website is performing, including what keywords it currently ranks for and what searches or keywords you may be able to target.

Optimising your existing content, both the elements that are working well but also ones that may not be, is the next step.

It's important to ensure there's a clear focus or keyword that each page targets, as well as making sure visitors get what they are after.

Extending beyond this, developing new content to target specific keywords can be a really great addition to any SEO Hobart strategy - but it's also important to note that creating content for the sake of it (i.e. spam, keyword stuffing etc) can do more harm than good.

TL;DR: In 2024, your small business website should be optimised for search engines because it's such an important factor in driving consistent and ongoing traffic to your website.

3. Tailored for Search Intent

Here at Wakeford Digital HQ, we feel the term 'search intent' has been a regular part of our vocabulary in 2024 - and rightly so.

Understanding the 'why' behind searches becomes just as, if not more crucial, as the 'what.'

Search intent is ensuring that the content you create matches the goals and needs of the searcher.

For example, someone looking for a lemon cake recipe is looking for things like ingredients, method and tips - not a 3,000 word, long paragraph blog post.

screenshot of google search showing how to buy vision pro
Matching content to search intent is important in 2024.

Your content should not only attract visitors but address their specific needs and questions.

To help ensure you're meeting search intent, a good starting place may be deep diving into the different types of search intent and then crafting content that speaks directly to your audience.

Some examples of search intent include:

  • informational intent (i.e. how to tie shoelaces)
  • navigational intent (i.e. Wakeford Digital services page)
  • transactional intent (i.e. how to buy Apple Vision Pro) and
  • commercial investigation (i.e. top web design business in Hobart)

Particularly when it comes to creating blog posts for your business, identifying search intent can make or break success both in terms of engagement and SEO.

TL;DR: It's important that your small business website content matches search intent because it helps visitors stay on your website and meet their goals, instead of visiting your competitor.

4. Optimised for Voice Search and Smart Devices

With the rise of smart devices and voice assistants, optimising for voice search is no longer really an optional.

Voice search is where instead of typing a result into a search engine like Google, people use smart device technology (like Siri) to simply say what they're after.

The question that stands out however is, "how do I optimise my website for voice search and smart devices?"

One strategy involves incorporating natural language across your website, as well as question-based queries and structured data into your content strategy.

As an example, adding a frequently asked questions section can help as people are more likely to search for 'best bakery in Hobart for birthday cakes' as opposed to 'bakery Hobart'.

screenshot of faq page by wakeford digital
A frequently asked questions or FAQ page can be useful to target voice search.

As voice searches become more prevalent, ensuring your website can be easily found and understood by voice assistants is paramount which not only enhances user experience but also positions your website to capture a growing segment of the search market.

TL;DR: Optimising your website for voice search and smart devices means more opportunity to increase website traffic as well as improved local SEO. On that note...

5. Local SEO and Google Business Profile Optimisation

Even more so in the Hobart and Tasmanian context, for small businesses, the local market is your bread and butter.

Therefore it should be no surprise that optimising your website for local SEO and your Google Business Profile can significantly increase your visibility to potential customers.

If you're a business owner wondering how to do this, here's some tips: 

  • start by claiming your Google Business Profile
  • optimise your profile to include your business information and service areas
  • encourage reviews
  • ensure your NAP (name, address and phone number) are consistent across all platforms, including social media
trout tales google business profile showing local searchh
Optimising your Google Business Profile and website for local search is a must for small business websites.

Not sure how or where to get started with Google Business Profile? Wakeford Digital's success stories in Hobart underscore the importance of a strong local presence, driving foot traffic and fostering community engagement.

TL;DR: For most small businesses, local presence is a must in 2024 - thus your website and 'off-website' presence such as Google Business Profile and social media should be consistent and maintained.

Honourable Mention: Mobile Optimisation

In 2024, we'd hope that for a small business website that mobile optimisation is a given - it didn't make the original list because hopefully, it's something that's already done.

With the majority of internet users accessing the web via mobile devices, a mobile-friendly website is essential.

This includes responsive design, touch-friendly navigation, and optimised loading times for mobile.

While Google has retired a few of it's mobile testing resources, options such as Google Lighthouse and other free tools exist to test how mobile friendly your website is.

Wrapping Up

As we continue to navigate the complexities of the digital world in 2024, particularly with trends such as AI and SGE (Search Generative Experience), these five features stand out as actual tangible yet non-negotiable for small businesses looking to thrive online.

From the technicalities of SEO optimisation to the finer nuances of search intent, we feel that these elements are crucial for building a robust, user-friendly and visible online presence.

By following the insights, it's our hope that small businesses in Hobart, Tasmania and beyond can look forward to a prosperous and digitally savvy future.

As always, if you've got any questions on the above or aren't sure how your website or online presence stacks up - discuss your project with Wakeford Digital and we'll help create a step-by-step digital marketing plan to help your business grow online.

Thanks for reading.


profile image of dominic standing on timber board walk on bruny island looking
by Dominic Anastasio
Owner and Creative Director Wakeford Digital

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