When designing a local business website what is the most important feature to get the client lots of business?
A lot of developers and designers get all hung up on design the latest frameworks and spending hours and hours talking shit about how this call to action will do xyz. I can tell you from our experience 90% of it is bullshit.
The most most important feature of any local business website is to put your contact details right at the very top of your website!
If you are a local business, firstly you need to be online with a real website, not just a Google plus listing. In the real world, most of your clients already know about you or are ready to use your service and just want to contact you to give you money! Make it easy for them. Put your details right at the top in nice big fonts, suitable to your market, so they can call straight away and you can close the sale.
Do not hide your details within your website. Make it easy for people to contact you.
There is no sound logic behind hiding it in the footer or buried in the contact page. I Just don't buy the theory of making people look at your site, because they need to find your contact details like some type of hidden Easter egg. What really happens is users leave in frustration and find someone they can call. This is more pronounced from mobile users. Then the bad news is if you are a local company in Australia most of your web enquiries will be coming from mobile, according to Google. This type of web traffic also has a very high conversation rate, according to Google. So it makes sense to make it easy for a mobile user to find your details easily, whether it be just a phone or a link to open a map with directions.
Personally, I've lost count of how many times I have done a search on my phone looking for somewhere that does XYZ while I'm out and been totally frustrated with the lack of easy to find contact details, ending up going home empty handed.
From our perceptive as SEO/online marketing professionals we see noticeable conversion increases from simply adding contact details into the header. For some clients this can mean the difference between a financial loose or a good profit. Sometimes it is the little details that make a sizable financial gain on websites.