Where do you start when laying out your small business or startup website? The following are some important things to consider and steps to implement them, increasing traffic to your website and increasing your return on investment!

Begin with your value proposition.

Take a step back and think user experience first, before focusing on keywords. Google's Webmasters Youtube Channel is a great resource for understanding the basics of SEO and items Google and other search engines expect to see on your website. Start with the value proposition and build the rest of the web page and if possible, the entire website around that proposed value. Value propositions should about clearly and concisely communicate your services to a potential client in the fastest way possible so they can self-judge their need.

When building solid value propositions, you should have...

Minimize barriers to entry.

Free trials and free consultation are the most common tactic, but there are other tips make to make it as easy and harmless as possible for potential customers to enter information, helping your conversions. For service-based businesses, online signups are the quickest and easiest. They also allow use of existing Google, Facebook, or Twitter profiles as logins - a growth hack that has been key to the success of many services ranging from Airbnb to Pinterest. These APIs are readily available for developers and even have plugins for simple WordPress sites.

Reduce barriers to entry on your website by...

When possible always send an email confirmation of your inquiry, so there is an immediate feeling of action.

Every part of your website should support your value proposition.

Think of your website as a college paper. Your value proposition is your thesis. Most of the pages of your website should serve the purpose of answering the who, what, when, where, and why of your value proposition. While other pages may or may not directly relate to that goal, even things like security and privacy policies add to a value claim. As proper grammar and a good glossary will help your college paper, having good pages provides supporting evidence of your claim. Testimonials, case studies, and links to reviews will add the credibility both humans and machines need in order to trust any claim of value you make to your potential clients.

Be a contextually omnipresent thought-leader in your industry.

Big words, there. Within any industry, there are events, publications, and networks that are seen as the must-read, must-see, must-do - this is contextual omnipresence. A great small business or startup should not only "be there" but they should be contributing original thoughts and ideas to every venue of conversation. In other words, you should be writing and speaking anywhere and everywhere that makes sense. While it can be difficult to come up with topics to write about, the internet is full of tips and resources to beat the writers block.

Search engines will pick up on the links and co-citations of your content, and thus improve your search engine visibility. Meanwhile, the content you produce should be designed to saturate the minds of leaders in your industry and establish your brand as a credible authority on all topics that relate to your business and the problems you solve.

Wherever your website marketing takes you, think back on your primary value proposition and think to yourself, "does what I'm contributing reinforce my credibility to actually accomplish what I claim to do in my value proposition headline?"