Having a website for your business is practically a necessity in today’s business world, and this is even more the case for small businesses. It’s not enough to just have a website though; you need to have a great website. Even if you already have a website, it is actually recommended you re-design it every two to three years. If you are new to website design, or if you just need a refresher course, there are a few things you will need to keep in mind as you design your small business website.
- Put Thought into Your Domain – Your domain name means a lot. Probably even more than you know. While an amazing product, incredible marketing, pitch perfect content and the most beautiful design in the world, all coupled with perfectly targeted SEO that brings in loads of potential customers will trump a bad domain name any day. But why chance it? Your domain, as well as being something you will need customers to remember, also has a hand in your site’s searchability.
- A Great Host – You have a lot of options for hosts for your website, and not all of them are created equal. When compared to your site’s potential for revenue, hosting costs are minimal. Compare prices of different providers, but more important compare their service. Look for band width and reliability. For many businesses, losing one or two customers because the host went offline is way more costly than a year or more of hosting fees.
- Choose Your Format – HTML is ideal according to everyone who knows about marketing, advertisers, SEO experts, and savvy business owners. Designers tend to like Flash. Don’t listen to your designer, listen to everyone else. Flash is slow, it clutters your site, it’s not compatible with a lot of browsers, it cannot be optimized and is difficult for search engines to catalogue, it looks cool, but doesn’t really sell anything.
- Branding – Make sure customers can recognize your brand the second they get to your site. Make sure they will remember it too if possible, even when they aren’t on your site.
- Clear Copy – You need proper and professional grammar, spelling and syntax, and your copy needs to be persuasive, interesting and unique. Content is the single most important portion of the selling aspect of your site. What you tell your customer about your benefits, product and service is what convinces them to buy. You may want to hire a professional copywriter.
- Great Design – Plan this out ahead of time. It needs to 1. Catch attention immediately 2. Keep readers attention and draw their eye to the important parts of your content 3. It needs to evoke an emotion.
- Custom site or Template? – A custom site is always preferable. It allows more customization, it gives your site a unique look and feel, and it has way more potential for optimization. On the other hand templates are really easy and really cheap. If you absolutely cannot afford a custom site a template is a viable option… You want a custom site though the second you have the funds for it.