What small business owners need to know before creating their website
Having a website in this millennial age of technology for any company is important, but especially necessary for small business owners. A company’s website is a significant source to attract new customers, promote services, and target trends that can assist in growing the business. Let’s face it, the days of cracking open a telephone book or relying on word-of-mouth aren’t as effective when most people find it quicker and more convenient to pull up a company’s website on their smartphone.
Luckily, thanks to the advancement in technology, there are software companies who have removed the hassle of learning code out of the equation. Nowadays building a website can be as simple as pasting text and arranging media. However, if it was that easy then why doesn’t every small business owner have a fully functioning web page?
Quality content; it’s not just what’s on the outside that matters but what’s on the inside
You’ve spent an entire day designing your company’s website, now what? Sit back and watch all the online customers roll in, right? Not quite. An attractive website doesn’t mean you’ll automatically drive new and returning prospects to your site. Having good copy is just as equally important as the site layout. The quality of your content accredits to your site’s professionalism and trustworthiness when it comes to the user experience. In addition, the quality of your copy will play a role in the strength of your SEO. Is your content relevant to your target audience? Is the material engaging? Can the user rely on your content being trustworthy? These are questions that should be at the top of your list during brainstorming sessions.
Give them something to talk about
Posting regularly assures the user that you are accessible, enhances SEO, and creates a habit of the visitor returning to website to see what’s new. When your visitors are seeing updated content they are conditioned to feel that they can contact the business through its website and expect a response in the appropriate amount of time. Whereas, if the webmaster is not posting regularly then they may feel that the website has been abandoned, thus not feel inclined to reach out to customer service. Nonetheless, remember the golden rule of quality over quantity.
Cross your T’s and dot your I’s
Another practice to implement is getting in the hang of updating the website. Regardless of the size of your website, maintenance of the material can be a daily task. You can think of a website like gardening—it is a constant ongoing job especially as your website starts to expand. Small business owners should be comfortable with going on the backend of their website to make updates as necessary or until someone is delegated to take on that job. Common maintenance can be adding special announcements, fixing broken links, correcting typos, or updating images. These small tasks may seem minute but it will not only help to keep your website up to par, it will also prepare you for social media marketing.
Marketing around the clock
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and now Snapchat are some of the big contenders that companies are taking advantage of to scale their business. Using platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to market your business can significantly increase your company’s growth. However, this type of marketing is not as easy as it seems. You would think it would be as easy as a few hashtags here, a compelling sentence there, and a great photo to bring it all together! While those things are beneficial, there is a lot more to it that meets the eye.
For instance, Facebook for personal use versus Facebook for business require very different skill-sets. While Facebook has published how-to articles for navigating their Facebook Business Manager it is still typical to anticipate a considerably large learning curve. Lauren Griffith, owner of K-Drama Connection, an online store specializing in Korean drama collectables shares her experience of starting her online business presence in 2016. When learning how to use Facebook Business Manager and social media marketing “you can expect to put in the hours of a full-time job. Content, campaigns, and overall maintenance is a never ending job; it is all trial and error”. Lauren, like many small businesses owners find that Facebook groups are a helpful resource to be able to connect to other like-minded entrepreneurs. In addition, Youtube tutorials, Reddit forums, and other accredited blogs can be used to gain knowledge on how to market on social media like the pros.
SEO for the Business Owner
In the world of “google it” business owners should take interest in making sure they are keeping a competitive edge by making use of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is one of the fastest and most cost-effective ways to organically attract traffic to your website. A common oversight new business owners make is not investing the funds and effort into their SEO. A website can be stunning aesthetically, but what’s the point if internet users are not finding your website.
Search Engine Optimization essentially is implementing tactics that strengthens your website’s visibility in search engine results pages (SERP). Website credibility, repeat users, user experience, site navigation, and content are all key points to strengthen SEO. For example, if your company’s information such as name, location, telephone number and website link are on authoritative websites then that will contribute to a verified citation in SEO. An example of this is having your company pull up on directories such as Google Places and Yelp.
Of all places. Google Places.
Being listed in Google Places provides prospective customers with the company’s address, hours of operation, forms of acceptable payment, and any other relevant information that the company would like to share. A benefit of being listed in Google Places is that it compliments SEO and can better help a company’s ranking in search engine result pages. A Google Place listing also visually stands out more in SERPs. In addition, new prospects will be attracted to your Google customer reviews ratings that are shown in plain sight. Last but not least Google Places has a built-in call to action so that mobile users can easily dial your business telephone number with a click of a button and pull up navigation to your company’s location in an instant.
Hostess with the mostest
GoDaddy, Bluehost, and HostGator are only a few providers that small business owners are leaning to for web hosting. Similar to leasing office space, web hosts are the virtual rental space for your business website. Reliability and before all else being able to reach customer service is imperative when comparing providers especially since your company will be paying a monthly fee for their services.
For your safety
With internet users being only a few keystrokes away from accessing billions of websites it goes without saying first impressions are everything. Have you ever been a website that your browser notified you was not safe to visit? A warning like that will significantly affect your business online presence. By staying up to date with security measures for your website will ensure you and your customers are happy. Above all if your website plans to collect information from the user then it’s essential to put in place a firewall and obtain appropriate security certificates.
The Bottom Line
Similar to having a business card, a company website is a must-have, however, unlike business cards there is a lot more time and effort to put into the details. This can seem overwhelming for the average small business owner, who is also juggling the business expenses, conversion rates, and improving existing products.