Still need a business website when social media is so popular?
Whether you’re a builder, in the creative industry making personalised products, a restaurant owner or a training provider, businesses of all sizes need an online presence to gain new customers and expand – in fact, it’s business-critical.
These days pretty much every man, woman, dog, cat and street dancing toddler is online with their own website or social media channel, both forms of media are interwoven like a hand-knitted jumper. More and more services are going digital and, while products and services are often delivered in person, people tend to search online first for local services and businesses to use as part of their purchasing decision making.
The current generation of consumer will get straight online to search for what they are after and whether that’s through Google or social media they will be asking for recommendations of website links, they will be searching through website after website, to validate that you are who you say you are, reading reviews and feedback so your business needs to be found online easily and quickly too.
Website vs Social Media
One without the other is like going on a car journey without some form of Sat Nav, they just go together these days – like a package, most websites will list 3, 4 or 5 social media channels and the social media channels with list the website address because the decision-making process involves research, validation and determining how trustworthy and reliable your products and services are. Consumers are savvy people, they are all too aware of bad experiences online and will do their homework.
Pay attention to the stats
Currently, in the UK there are approximately 55 million smartphone users. That’s around 82.2% of the population and, according to Google “82% of smartphone users use a search engine when looking for a local business.”
Website need a reboot?
Well before getting online to search for a website development company the first thing is to sit down and create a plan, whether you create notes on your iPad or get out the post-it notes, pens and paper take the time to know who your target audience is and what you want your website to do and what message it needs to deliver.
What will the purpose of the website be? This is an on-going process. Is it to promote what you do and to encourage people to email or call you for more information or to get a quote or are you expecting to sell your products and services from your website? Once your action plan starts to build up then think about what you want your website to say about your business, so as part of your overall website planning create a separate document for your content, call it a Content Plan. By planning your content first and not rushing into the design and what it should look like it will be more productive to map out your content so then you can visualise how that content should be best presented, i.e. the design element.
Sure, design is very much a key factor, your website needs to look great, be easy to navigate and showcase your product range and what you do but planning your content first is what we advise our clients to do first so it helps them to think about their marketing messages and to have clear and relevant information on each webpage as when the build of the website starts we will use that content to optimise each page for the major search engines for you. The better your website content, by better we mean the quality of information, product and service descriptions, what you do, what makes you different, the areas your business covers, what your customers are saying about you, etc the higher it will rank on the likes of Google.
Once you’ve created your content plan share it with other people, ideally from your target audience, to get feedback. Is your branding clear and concise, have you said too little or repeated yourself so much it’s likely to put potential customers off?
Here are a few pointers to consider:
- Keep content concise and to the point. If you find you’re writing long paragraphs, then consider breaking the content down into sub-sections or subpages or maybe include a “call to action” button so users can quickly enquire to learn more.
- Make it easy for visitors to contact you. Use language that encourages your visitor to take an action. Known as a CTA (call to action) these should be readily available, whether that’s a call us, email us, sign up, use this offer code, etc, these CTA’s need to be part of your content plan.
- Photos and more increasingly video can enhance user experience so get out with a camera or smartphone and take some photos of your office building, shop front, etc. Good quality imagery will really bring your website to life, it will allow visitors to see you and get to know more about you. If graphics and photos are vital to your branding, then consider employing a graphic designer or photographer. The same applies to your company logo, high-resolution graphics will be required to make sure they look as sharp and clear as possible and can be enlarged without looking grainy or distorted, so a minimum of 300DPI is recommended.
Right, so that’s the content plan in place so what’s next?
Choose a relevant domain name
This is another vital part of your website strategy document. We have covered this topic in an earlier post so instead of repeating what we have already said about this it’s worth making a coffee and having a quick read of this article:
We did say it’s best not to repeat the same things on your website, so we won’t!
How to get the website built
Now that you have your plan written down, if you haven’t done so already do some research into competitor sites, draw up a list of likes and dislikes in terms of visual appeal, impact, colours, graphics and it will help you to conceptualise how you want your website to look. If you have something very specific in mind draw it out, if you don’t then this will, of course,e be discussed at your meeting with a website design company (we hope that’s us!) to establish whether they (we!) can bring your vision to life online.
This is where factors such as will the design work on both desktop and mobile devices or will it lose its branding. This is the sort of question to raise in your meeting, which we hope will be with us! We will also show you a selection of demo websites to choose from so you can see from the outset how your website may look once it’s live and discuss website features and functionality in more detail to ensure it caters to your business requirements and does what you need it to.
Additionally, our website packages include one domain name as standard, 1 email address and the hosting of your website on an all-inclusive monthly fee so when getting quotes it’s important to ask what is included in the overall fee and what may be extra. For example, stock photos may be a chargeable extra if you don’t have photos as well as merchant fees for credit card transactions if you are planning on processing payments through your website. We will create a detailed proposal for you outlining each component of your website build including monthly support and website maintenance should it be required. It is highly recommended that you factor in keeping your content up to date as it will be off putting for visitors to see that the last time you updated anything on your website was 2 years ago so once again we can create a tailored website content management plan for you to keep your product and services pages current and fresh.
To arrange a free and no obligation meeting with us to discuss your requirements or to talk over the phone just give us a call as we’d love to have the opportunity to work with you.