Here are a few tips to consider when creating or re-designing a website for your small business.
1. Generate traffic to your website
It takes time to build your website ranking in search engines like Google and Bing. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) will generate traffic to your website once your site is ranking well, however SEO is an on-going process and does take time to generate lasting results. Some other options to consider are:
- Listing your website on relevant business directories
- Creating a social media campaign/ social media advertising
- Google Ad Words (pay per click)
- Banner advertising on other websites that generate significant traffic from your target audience (e.g. eBay)
2. Be clear on what your web designer needs from you
To ensure the development of your website is a smooth process, discuss with your web designer at the start of the project what is required from your end e.g. content, images, sign-off process etc. Avoiding unnecessary delays will mean you can launch your website sooner and start generating more business sooner.
3. Choose a common website platform
Where your website requires custom functionality a custom website platform may need to be built to meet those requirements. However, where the functionality you need is quite standard, to reduce longer term costs to maintain the site, it is encouraged to select a common platform with a Content Management System (CMS), such as Wordpress, Joomla etc, as future upgrades can be managed more easily and will give you the option of managing updates to the content yourself.
4. Optimise for google indexing
Search engines like certain elements in websites. Things like: A clear structure, sitemaps, meaningful URLs, relevant keywords in titles, etc. Your website should be built with at least basic SEO in mind. Choosing an SEO friendly CMS like WordPress is a great place to start. There are also more companies that are able to support websites built on a common platform.
5. Choose a reliable web hosting company
A good web hosting company will offer good data security, good performance in terms of speed and uptime, and good customer service. Read feedback and/or get references from people who have used the web hosting company previously before making a decision on whom to host with.
6. Select a clean and simple design
It is important that your website is user friendly. This means you should be asking yourself what visitors to your website would think of things such as ease of navigation, read-a-bility, clean aesthetically. De-clutter your website, keep the design and content clean and simple. Your website has a very small window to engage with its visitors before they click away so don’t make your point at the end of ten paragraphs, be clear and make your point upfront!
7. Ensure your website is responsive
More and more people are surfing the web using their smartphone and/or tablet. This means there is a very high chance visitors to your website will be viewing it in a small screen. Responsive design is important so that your website re-adjusts to cater to the visitors screen size therefore making your website more user friendly.
8. Avoid Flash
Say no to flash! Unfortunately flash does not work with most tablets and smartphones. This means your visitors may be seeing error messages or blank screens where flash elements were meant to appear.
9. Capture email addresses
For email marketing it is important to capture visitors email addresses. This gives you the opportunity to keep in touch with your visitors and entice them to visit your website again in the future.
10. Keep your website current and relevant
Make sure your website content is update to-date, that links still work and that the content is still relevant and with the times. The same goes with your website design, having an out-dated website does not make for a good impression with potential customers. Ensure your website looks like it was built this decade, after all your website is reflection of your business!