A website is a great marketing tool for any business, it allows you to showcase your products and services and build loyalty with your customers. A website can be your digital shop window, allowing customers to find out more about you and what you offer at any time, from anywhere in the world. It is also possible to look more established than you really are with a professional website; allowing smaller or newer businesses to stand out and compete against competitors.
If you do decide to build a website for your business, or you are planning to give your current website a refresh, there is lots to consider. In this article we share our thoughts on some of the key points to consider when planning your new website.
The first decision you have when planning a website is whether to use a DIY website builder or a professional web developer. If you do use a website designer you will also need to decide whether you want your website to be built on a CMS Platform (content management system), as well as whether you want to use a professional template, or have the entire site built from scratch. All of these decisions have an impact on the end result, including the ability to upgrade the website in the long term, plus the upfront and ongoing costs of your website. Our article on DIY websites vs professional websites offers further advice on which to choose.
Mobile traffic now accounts for around 50% of all internet searches worldwide. With so many potential customers now relying on their phone to find businesses likes yours, you need to make sure your website looks as good on a mobile phone as it does on their desktop computer. Most of us have experienced that moment where we land on a non-mobile friendly website on our phone and struggle to read any of the content or navigate the site. Make sure your customers don’t get that feeling when they visit your website, insist that your web designer uses a responsive design that will adapt to all types of devices. Read more on mobile friendly websites here.
Branding is crucial to a lucrative marketing strategy and vitally important to small businesses. Branding is the promotion of a company and/or product by creating a name, symbol, and distinctive design. This should represent your company’s ethos and mission statement. Your design should be easily identifiable and distinguished from other services available. A professional and memorable brand should start by creating a logo. You should then choose some colours that you are going to use consistently across your website and marketing materials. If you don’t feel that you have a natural affinity for design, consider working with a branding consultant.
Whilst a website designer can build you a great website, you will need to provide them with the content you want included on there. This should include information on your business, your unique selling points (USPs), your team, and how to contact you. You should also write engaging descriptions for the services you offer. A good website will also have plenty of pictures. Where you can, use high quality original pictures of your products, team, and your work. You can also use stock images where needed but make sure you have the rights to use these. Also consider including a mission statement, client testimonials, videos, and links to your social media and partners. If you need more guidance, read our article on the 7 essential pages for your small business website.
A website blog could be a great way to keep your website updated. It provides a reason for visitors to regularly return to your website and can attract new traffic from search engine users. Blogs are typically used to either inform, entertain, or persuade readers to do something. You may use it to share news updates, discuss the products and services you offer, educate customers on industry specific topics, or share customer stories and examples of your work. The key to a successful blog is to pick a handful of related topics to write or video blog about. Focus on producing quality pieces that customers will want to read/watch and try to write regular blog updates. When done well, a blog is an excellent SEO strategy to improve your search engine rankings.
If you want to maximise sales opportunities, you should how you can utilise your website to sell your products and services online. With an e-commerce platform, customers can browse and purchase from you via the website at any time of day or night. Having an online shop can significantly reduce your administration time and allow you to focus your time on the customers that need assistance rather than those who just want to go ahead with a purchase. There are a number of ways you can set up an e-commerce platform so speak to your web designer for advice on the best solution for your business.
If you want customers to trust your website, then you need to keep it secure. Hackers may try to use your site for malware and phishing schemes. Google blacklists thousands of websites every week because of such schemes and this could affect your SEO rankings and put customers off returning to your site. Make sure your web designer adds an SSL certificate to your website to improve security; this is a digital certificate that creates a secure link between a website and visitors’ browser which is essential if you wish to accept payments through your website. Having an SSL certificate will also improve your SEO as Google recognises their importance. You should also make sure you use secure log in details for your website and ask your web designer what else they can do to make your website secure.
You need web hosting for your website to be available across the Internet. Web hosting services vary considerably in price and performance, and it is possible to buy web hosting from as little as £10 per year. At the other end of the scale, large corporates will spend millions of pounds on hosting for their websites and online services. The reliability and speed of your hosting service provider will affect the performance of your website which in turn impacts your users experience. Google also uses website load speed as one of its ranking factors. You don’t need to spend thousands on hosting for your small business website, however, don’t just opt for the cheapest option; look for premium web hosting and read reviews to ensure you are getting good value for money. £60 – £150 per year is a reasonable amount to spend depending on your needs.
If you are going to invest money on building a beautiful website, you want to make sure new customers can find you through search engines. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of improving your website’s visibility on search engines to improve the quantity and quality of traffic. On-page SEO concentrates on improving factors on your website; this includes both the content visible on your web pages and the performance of the website behind the scenes. It is helpful to start thinking about SEO from the moment you start planning your website as it will help you to plan your structure, write high quality content, and focus on delivering excellent user experience. This will make any further SEO work you do later more effective, as your website is already built on a solid foundation.
A Fresh Approach to Planning Your Website:
At FreshOnline we offer a full range of website design and digital marketing services. Because of the breadth of our experience, we consider all the above factors when designing and building a new website. We believe in working closely with customers and offering friendly advice to help make sure they maximise the potential of their new site. Please get in contact with our team of web designers to discuss how we could help your business stand out online.