Since I started working at the SBDC, I’ve been rather surprised at the number of people who don’t have a website for their business. Having a proper website not only provides legitimacy to your business, but also gives your customers a place to navigate your services and products. Sure, having a social media page for your business is important, but having an active Facebook or Twitter presence doesn’t mean you don’t need a website.
The thought of building a website can be intimidating, but if you’re not a computer wiz, there’s good news – you don’t need to be! Building a website is actually a lot easier than people think, and with hosting sites like WordPress, Wix and Weebly, you can build an attractive, simple and efficient website without a degree in computer engineering. Everyone needs to start somewhere, which is why I’ve outlined some tips to keep in mind when building your business website.
Decide what the purpose of your website is
First things first, you need to come up with a clear goal for your website. If you want to focus on selling products/services, you need to build your website around that goal. If your goal is to drive customers to contact you directly, then make that the focus. If you don’t have a clear goal in mind when building your website, it could end up costing you time and money while providing no real benefit.
Own your domain name
If you want to create a website that conveys professionalism to your clients, you need to purchase your domain. You could have a great business model that provides many benefits to your customers, but www.yoursmallbusiness.wordpress.com sounds a lot less professional than www.yoursmallbusiness.com and it could end up affecting your sales.
Don’t use stock photography
Some business owners don’t want to pay for good, high quality photos and end up using cheap stock photos that tell nothing about their business and have been seen around the internet a thousand times. If you’re not going to invest in good photos, then skip the photos all together.
Include customer testimonials
You could talk all day about how you provide unrivaled customer service, but if you don’t have any customers to back that up, people might think you’re blowing smoke. Contact some of your best customers and ask if they would provide a testimonial on their experience with your company. Start building a decent supply of positive feedback and feature them on your website – it will help build your business’s credibility.
Make sure your website is mobile-friendly
The latest data has shown that 80% of users access the internet from their phone, which makes it clear that if your website is incompatible with smart phones, you’re driving customers away. However, it is important to keep in mind that you need to make sure the customer experience is consistent between desktop and mobile devices. Consumers should not have to struggle more with mobile websites than if they had accessed your site through their laptop. Be consistent, keep it simple.
Don’t feel confident building your own website? HIRE A PROFESSIONAL
This is crucial. Yes, I know I said that you don’t need to be a computer wiz to build your own website, but if computers and technology don’t even graze the top 20 skills you possess, it’s probably time to hire a professional. Having a terrible website is worse than having no website, so if you don’t have confidence that you can do this on your own, don’t do it. You want to hire someone who will listen to your ideas and concerns regarding your website, but you also want someone who will be open and honest with you about what will and will not work.
If your business is up and running and you’re ready to promote your brand, having a professional website can do wonders. Just remember to own your domain, use good photos, and provide your customers with a website that is easy to navigate and simple to use. Remember, if you’re not comfortable with building it yourself, hire someone. It could be a pricey up-front cost, but a good website will legitimize your company and bring credibility to your brand.