Your Business Website

For most small businesses, time is always in short supply. Small business owners have no end of things they can spend time on. Dealing with customers, suppliers, taxation, admin … the list is endless. It often makes it very hard to dedicate even a small amount of time to activities that will have a long term, perpetual pay off. Setting up your online marketing ‘mousetrap’ to send you a constant stream of new customers is well worth the time. Couple of things to think about before you get started.

Dedicate some time – Be realistic You won’t build your web presence in a minute a week. But nor do you need to spend hours a day. Most diets fail, because people start with unrealistic expectations – so too with web marketing. It’s better to get into the habit of doing a little bit often, than running into it headlong and then finding you neglect it after a few weeks. 30 minutes a week, adds up to 26 hours a year (even if you slack off a couple of weeks, you’ll probably be able to spend 20 hours on your site in the next year). That’s enough time to see some real results.

Creating a Website Not every small business has a website but every business should. Why? Because it’s an easy way for customers to find you, it’s a great way to tell them about who you are and what you do and most importantly it’s something that operates 24/7/365. Your own, automated marketing material. If you don’t have a website, then this is the first task. There are plenty of businesses that have been putting off getting a website for years. These business owners start thinking about the design, content, structure of the site – think it all sounds like a bit of a nightmare and quickly put it to the back of their minds. They focus on the negatives rather than the positives. That combined with a little self delusion and before you know it, you won’t think about it again for 6 months by which time you’ve missed 6 months of opportunity. Equally, some business owners will come up with a tonne of reasons why their business doesn’t need a website … people don’t look for online … invariably this isn’t true now.

If you don’t have a site, resolve to make this your priority. You’re not trying to create the next eBay here, you’re just trying to create your first foothold in the worldwide web. You can use services like the wayback machine to see that businesses go through many iterations of the current website over time. The key thing is to make a start.

You’ve now got 2 options. You could either pay a company to create a site or create your own. If this is your first site, then it’s often a good idea to use a 3rd party. To get the most out of your first website build you’ll want to decide what you need. At the very least, it’s going to be a page about your company and a contact page so people can get in touch (either by email, web form or phone). You can obviously take this a lot further, with more information about all the different products and services you offer. Again, more information is usually better – but a start is better than no start. If you’re using a third party, important questions to ask will be things like a) how much will it cost b) what design elements will they be including in the fee (the look of the site, logo etc) c) Can you update the site yourself, or will they do it – and if they do, how much will they charge d) will they be providing the webhosting for the site and how much will that cost on an ongoing basis.

Alternatively, you can create your site yourself. You’ll need a few things to start. A domain name, some basic hosting and then you can use a free CMS (content management system) like wordpress. This site runs on wordpress and while I’ve had the design tweaked it allows me to add content to my hearts desire. I’ll cover how to setup your website in a future post.

If you’ve already got a website (and if you don’t a good checklist to ensure your first site is as good as it can be) – then now is as good a time as any to ask yourself a few simple questions.

i) Does the site provide all the information prospective customers would expect to see? Both in terms of product/service information and also trust factors like physical address/telephone number. If relevant have you got your business opening hours on the site? Is it easy and obvious on what the next steps are – i.e. how to contact you?

ii) Do you find you get a lot of enquiries about the same sort of thing, that you don’t cover on your website? If so, now might be a great time to update your content. The more pre-selling your website can do, the more informed you can make your prospective customers. Obviously some people will never read information on your site and will just pick up the phone, but it’s still useful to provide useful information for the ones that do.

iii) What else can you add to your site? What other services, products don’t you feature on your site? What other important information about your business do you not have on the site? Are you a member of any trade organisations? Have you been featured in the press? These are all worthwhile to add – and while it might take a little bit of time to do, it’s an investment in the future that can continue to pay dividends.

iv) Do you have a strong call to action? There is nothing wrong with reminding people at the end of feature on your site that you are there to help them. Written a page about drain cleaning, why not add a link to your contact page at the end of the text, or put your phone number there – call us about drain cleaning on 0800 xxx xxx. Small changes, can have a profound effect on the conversion rate of your website.

Still reading? Great. Let me just close by saying one thing. Good enough, is good enough. What does this mean? It means sometimes people never get started because they want something to be perfect, it’s better to launch your site and improve it – than never launch it at all.

Leave a Reply