In this digital age, websites are an essential marketing and operational tool for small businesses.
In 2023, 97% of users searched online to find a local business, according to SEO agency Safari Digital. Your customers are definitely online. A website is an essential step in the customer journey that can provide your current and future clients with key information about your business while driving sales and conversions.
Having a professional website builds your credibility as a business and allows you to share your brand story and create connections with customers from wherever suits them best.
Your website’s purpose
Before building your website, it’s prudent to think about its intent. This will help you create a clear strategy that ensures your site provides value and meets the needs of your business and customers. Some objectives you may choose include increasing brand awareness, offering product and service information, driving lead generation, and encouraging online sales. Each of these may require a different approach, so by clearly defining your objectives, you'll be better able to meet your goals.
Next, you can identify key features and functionalities. Your website will be unique to your business, so its features—like contact forms, online booking systems, e-commerce capabilities, interactive maps and email marketing or newsletter forms—should align with your objectives and target audience. Setting a clear purpose while creating features that fit your target audience will build a website that showcases your brand and lays a foundation for a powerful online presence.
What every website should have
Websites don’t need to be complicated. In fact, simple is best. Even if your website is only going to consist of a handful of pages, you’ll want to consider how you can incorporate these key elements:
- Primary contact information (phone number, email and address)
- About us section (your mission and value proposition expressed simply and directly)
- Description of how your business helps your potential clients and customers
- Descriptions of core products or services you provide
- Clear call to action (CTA)
Choosing the right platform
Creating a website yourself has never been easier, and many affordable options popular among small businesses are available.
But there are compelling reasons to hire a professional or agency to help.
|Create using a web design app
|- Cost effective and cheaper than professional services
- Creative control makes a specific vision possible
- Build new skills and knowledge
- Flexibility and knowledge to make changes when needed
|- Time consuming: learning web design is a significant time investment
- Lack of expertise: website may not be as polished and functional
- Limited features: only a access features provided by web design service
|Hire a professional or agency
|- Professional quality: visual appeal that aligns with industry standards
- Time saving: focus on other key areas of the business
- Customization: implement advanced features and optimize loading speeds
- Ongoing support: technical support and maintenance to ensure website functions properly
|- Cost: hiring a professional can be expensive for a small business budget
- Limited control: less creative input
- Communication challenges: articulating a vision and undergoing revisions can lead to a long process to achieve the desired outcome
- Dependency: using a professional means they may need to make updates or changes
Search Engine Optimization : the basics
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a set of techniques used to improve website visibility and ranking on search engine results pages. Search engines like Google use algorithms to determine the relevance and quality of websites when generating search results. The goal of SEO is to drive organic—meaning you don’t pay for it— traffic to your website by ensuring it appears close to the top of query results.
To implement basic SEO on your website, you can use a few different techniques. Do keyword research so you can include relevant words into your content. Having a user-friendly website structure and fast-loading speeds will also help. A good social media presence can boost your search results as well.
That said, the most impactful thing you can do is create high-quality content that people want to share. Having reputable backlinks is a bonus.
It's important to stay up to date on SEO trends and follow best practices to keep visibility high. You can monitor and analyze your website's performance using tools like Google Analytics to make data-driven decisions and adapt your SEO approach accordingly.