Getting your small business a web presence with as little hassle as possible
Getting your website up and running, or doing a major overhaul, is often a lot more work than you imagine before starting the project, especially if you want it to be perfect. Check out our small business website design tips to help you get a head start and make the process easier by knowing what is important and what you can let slide.
1. Write out a clear idea of the purpose of the website before you begin any work on it.
Most people skip this step because they think it’s obvious, but it’s important to complete this step first thing. What is the number one purpose of your website? To bring in new customers? To advertise current promotions and specials? To build trust in potential clients before even meeting them? Or simply to keep up with the Joneses?
All are valid reasons for having a website, and most likely you will want to take advantage of all of these (and more) benefits of having an online presence. But unless you have a clear idea of the number one result you want to get from your site, it’s unlikely you will manage to achieve it.
2. Decide early if it’s important to get free search engine traffic.
If it is important to get free traffic, then your designer/developer needs to know this as early as possible, as it will affect how they code the website.
In fact, if it is important to you, then the next thing you should do is make a list of keywords, or search terms, that you think your future customers will use to find you on the internet. (If you wait to do this step until some or all of the pages are built, your designer will need to spend extra time changing things, which is money out of your pocket.)
3. Stay objective.
It’s tempting to fall madly in love with your new virtual ‘baby’, especially if you built it yourself. But beware… Down that path there be dragons.
If your number one goal is to bring new, paying customers to your business each month, and if the search engines don’t know you exist because your website code is too difficult for them to understand, they won’t be able to send you visitors that will hopefully turn into customers down the line.
Or if 90% of the people who come to your site get lost and can’t find what they are looking for, they will leave before you are able to convert them into customers.
So stay objective and be willing to let certain “bells and whistles” go, if they don’t contribute meaningfully to the main goal of your web site.
4. Be prepared to work a bit.
I know, everyone says that building a website is a must and it will really help your business, but the truth is that what you get out of a website is directly related to how much you put into it. Even if you have hired someone to do the technical stuff, you still need to provide them with some or all of the content. Testimonials are great and often overlooked on small business websites, probably because it takes time and effort to contact customers and get something written up, but don’t underestimate the tried and true trust-building power of the testimonial.
Also, writing a few articles or blog posts on things you feel strongly about will not only help your traffic results, but can also go a long way towards establishing yourself as an expert and building trust with the reader before they ever meet you.
5. Pick a good website designer.
First, be sure you have at least done step 1 and step 2 above. Once you have a good idea of what results you want to get from your website and whether or not free search engine traffic is important to you, then you will find it easier to know when you have found a good match or not.
Be sure to look at the websites in their portfolio to see if you like their style, and speak with the designer or project manager that will be handling your web site, to make sure you “get” each other. We recommend Veronica Kirchoff, who handles all of our web design, hosting and maintenance.
Create a website outline If you are having trouble thinking up things to write on the spot, try creating a website outline and then filling it in piece by piece. No more writers block!
Writing content for your website or blog According to all the experts, a good website and a good blog are supposed to be essential pieces to building your business. But when outsourcing is not an option, how in the world can you keep up with writing enough content?
If you liked these small business website design tips, take a look at the Seattle IT Consulting and Computer Tech Support Blog for more useful information.