When you start to design a website for your small business, you might have visions of greatness even before you begin. Great websites are more than a cool-looking design. Before you hire the web designer to make it look good, make sure you take some time to consider your website in the grand scheme of your business. Some thoughtful planning can make sure your website lives up to all of your expectations.
1. Know How Your Website Fits Into Your Marketing Strategy
Is your website going to be the single source of information about your business? Do you already have billboards, pamphlets, and TV advertising that you want to support with your website? Maybe you’ve had a Facebook page for years and that was good enough, but now you need to get your small business online like a real company.
You should also consider your typical customer. If your customer is looking for pictures of your product, you’d better have that front and center. If your customer is easily persuaded by a lot of customer reviews (and you have some good ones!), you’ll want to feature that on your homepage. Knowing how many of your website visitors might be mobile, tablet, or laptop users is important too.
Taking even the shortest time to consider your marketing strategy and how it relates to your website will affect each of the next three steps.
2. Put the Right Content on Your Website
If you have a clear strategy, you will more easily fill your website with relevant content. You might have blog posts that answer your users’ questions, technical specs of your products and services for easy comparison, or rich bios of your staff. The factors that are going to draw in customers are the exact things that will affect the sitemap of your site and what goes on each page.
E-commerce websites need to have details about the product and direct the consumer through the checkout process. Websites for lawyers, surgeons, or consultants might start by educating a potential lead and then guide them to a form to collect their contact information or trigger a phone call. A blog will keep your website fresh and possibly fuel an email newsletter to keep in touch with your customers.
The content on your website might come from our in-house copywriter, a contracted writer, your staff, or you may already have it written. You’ll want to review it to make sure it suits the strategy defined in #1 and is sustainable. (Pro Tip: Don’t call it a “Weekly Blog” unless you are ready to write a weekly blog post. In fact, don’t call it weekly, monthly, or anything like that. The people looking for helpful information don’t care how often you write new stuff, as long as it is helpful and relevant!)
3. Use Design to Intentionally Showcase Your Content
Now that you know what you want to say, and why you want to say it, you can focus on how you want to show it. Many times, people start with Step 3 by saying, “I want a website like this!” However, you have to build #3 on steps #1 and #2.
People love to look at pictures, so show your products and services with lots of pictures on your site. Stock photography makes general images readily available, while custom photography lets you be very specific. Visual content on your site will also help people share your site for you via Pinterest and Facebook.
Proper website design will also look good on phones as well as computers. Google reports that 61% of people use their phone while visiting a restaurant or a bar. If you are trying to capture leads during a dinner conversation, you want your website to easily convert customers on their phones.
4. Give Your Website the Web Host and Technology It Deserves
Finally, once you have a perfect marketing strategy, high-conversion content, and a beautiful site, don’t host it on some penny-nickel web hosting company. Like that billboard with a big tree growing in front of it, a sweet website on a bad host doesn’t make your business look good or your boss proud of you.
A professional website will require daily backups in case something goes wrong. You’ll also want to be able to edit the content and publish new blog posts to the site without getting your web designer involved.
If you want design improvements down the road or bigger development, you want to make sure your site was put together by a professional and not someone who didn’t use industry best practices.
Get a Great ROI on Your Website
When you build your website, hire a team that can cover as many of these 4 things as you can. Make sure they have hosting and technology experts on board, marketing and strategy experience, developers, and content marketing experts. Get estimates and quotes from different agencies and companies to be fully educated about what you are getting and what you are paying for.
Of course, we do all of these things for lawyers, construction companies, surgeons, industry, small business, individuals, and groups. We are also happy to work with other agencies if you are only missing a pillar or two. Give us a call and tell us your plans. Lieberman Technologies is at your service to help build your business online!