Back to Basics: Your Small Business Website
When it comes to building a website, there are parts of the process that you may not know about and that you should get a basic understanding of, I feel that a conversation needs to happen around the basic stuff that goes into that process.
1. Choose a team:
If you plan on creating a simple, one-page website to get “on the map”, this article is not for you. However, if you plan on generating sales or enquiries from your website, you should consider hiring a web developer and a web designer. A web designer specialises in the design portion of your site and a developer makes the whole thing become real. They are two different skillsets and they are not interchangeable. If you plan on investing a solid chunk of money into your website, do research and make sure you have BOTH skillsets on your project. And no, this is not the skillset of your IT guy.
2. Content Management Systems (CMS):
If you are a small business owner, I recommend using WordPress/Woocommerce or Magento. Those are personal preferences, I know the web development nerds will come out of the woodwork to tell me this or that platform is better but overall those are pretty safe. Sometimes your web developer will hook you up on their own system, but if you ever wanted to leave your developer, you would get stuck with some legal issues, as your CMS may be their legal property. Bottom line— why use some shady software when there are platforms made for millions and trusted by them?
I’ll keep this part short and sweet. Yes, it is possible to use a cheap (or even free) host but I don’t recommend taking that path – in fact I think it’s pretty suicidal. You get what you pay for and if something goes wrong or a problem arises; it will be difficult for you to recover from that with a host that makes you sit on hold for hours at a time or who has no support team at all. Be weary of resellers operating from home, who will not tell you who it is – they resell for, basically cutting off your oxygen supply (tech support) when you need it most.
Being mobile-friendly is VERY important and if you are getting a new site that does not work on mobile, you might as well just send a pigeon to your customers. Over half of the world’s internet traffic is done on a mobile device. Here’s a tip: If you have to squeeze to zoom and scroll every inch to navigate through your mobile site—it is not mobile friendly.
5. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO):
It’s important to write copy on your site that will rank well in search engines, so when someone is searching a keyword close to your business, the higher on the list you will appear. The better copy you have on your site, the more likely you are to receive traffic. SEO is tricky and quite important, so I recommend hiring a professional copywriter/team to take care of your SEO.
6. Clear Objectives:
Each page on your website should have at least one call-to-action on it. Lastly, make it a breeze to contact you otherwise if people have to jump through hoops to find your email address or phone number, they will likely look elsewhere. This is best done by having some solid design skills invested into your project.
7. Measure your traffic:
Woo hoo, your website is up and running! Let’s see how good of an investment your website was by measuring its traffic. My go-to is Google Search Analytics, it’s free and will help you measure the amount of traffic visiting your site. It also breaks it down to specific locations, demographics and interests that people have so you can get a snapshot of your target market.
8. Compound your DNA:
A website is only the dough of your cake, all your other digital efforts make the icing ( we all know what a boring cake looks like) – content generation makes the cake look appealing and Insta – worthy.. Get clear on your ‘WHERE NEXT’ and put all your efforts in becoming the go – to person of your industry in the knowledge economy.
I know creating and maintaining a small business website isn’t easy. My top tips are to get the right people on board, stay clear on your vision and do research to see what your competitors and others in the marketplace are doing.