I Need a Website for My Small Business – Where to Start?
So after spending hours on a certain domain name registration site – you know, the one with the female race car driver as its spokeswoman — you’ve finally found the perfect domain name for your small business. Now all you need to do is find a web designer and tell him to get going on the website, right? Wrong! In today’s digital world, an effective website is the cornerstone of any small business’s marketing strategy, so it’s worth it to start off on the right foot. Here are a few things to think about before your initial meeting with your web designer.
First, you need to decide what the function of your website will be. What exactly do you want it to do? Will it primarily serve as an online business card, with basic information on you and your offerings, along with a way to reach you? Perhaps you want to capture the names and email address of prospective customers by having them sign up for a newsletter or free report. Or maybe you want to give out helpful tips through a blog, or even sell your products or services online. Whatever you want your website to do, it’s extremely important to determine all the features you’ll need before any of the work begins, or you may end up wasting a lot of valuable time (and money) adding functionality later on in the development process.
Next, how hands-on will you be when it comes to maintaining the website? You may just want to let your design firm handle everything – even writing and posting to your blog – so that you can concentrate on other business tasks. On the other hand, you might want to be able to publish a blog post, change an image, or update your product or service offerings yourself without on waiting for someone else to do it. Your decision on this matter will most likely affect the technology used in constructing the website, and so your level of involvement needs to be determined early in the process.
Finally, how will people find your website? Putting your domain name on your business cards and marketing materials is a no-brainer, but ideally you’d like potential customers to be able to find it through other means, as well. Proper search engine optimization (SEO) can help your website rank highly in the search engines, thus increasing traffic. Integration with social media, email marketing, and other online and offline marketing methods can also help get more traffic to your website. Whatever methods you use to get viewers to check out your website, make sure it’s worth the visit by making it easy to use, up-to-date, and engaging.
Now you’re ready to schedule that meeting with your web designer and get cracking on your website!