In a world where technology is constantly changing and nearly everyone is connected to the internet in some way, shape or form – be that via phone, computer, or tablet; having an online presence has never been more crucial. Whether you are a sole trader, local small business or multinational corporation, having an online presence opens doors of availability to your potential customers. Putting your business products and services online gives you a more competitive edge in a very volatile world and communicates your business brand and ideas. The first method of finding information on a person or business is now to search for it online! So which avenue of online presence do you take? Social media based or website based? Why not both?
Why go online?
One of the most important things to remember is that the world is constantly changing, and your business needs to adapt. Having an online presence creates visibility, credibility and removes barriers to communicating with your customers. As a business owner, utilising technology is the smartest decision you can make.
Where to now?
So, you want to step into the technological realm and are considering getting a website, but don’t know where to start. We have compiled a list of the top 5 things to consider before getting a website to ease your journey!
1. What do you want to do?
This comes down to your goals and what you want to achieve from having a website. Your business, no doubt, has goals or a ‘purpose’. This is the most important consideration before setting up your website. Are you wanting to sell your products or services online? Are you creating an informative website to display a selection of information about your business? Are you a blogger and needing a space to display your work? Take the time to sit down and work out your business goals and how a website is going to assist with this. Research your potential customers to determine which type of website is going to reach them best. Your website is the online face of your business and if it isn’t clear what you want to achieve, it is going to more confusing for your customers and could end up having a negative impact instead.
2. Do you have the time and budget for building a website?
When it comes to building a website, people often underestimate how much time is involved and how much it is going to cost to build. Building a quality website is a complicated process; it’s not a 30 second job. It involves not only design expertise but coding, development, management as well as setting up a search engine optimisation strategy to ensure that your customers can see you online once it is launched and you are not wasting your time and money.
Before making the decision to start building a website, ensure you have allocated the appropriate resources to get the job done. Do your research and look at getting a professional website design company to assist you through the process. Generally, a professional will be experienced in all aspects of website design as well as quality assurance checks, after launch maintenance and SEO strategies.
Your web designer should be able to tailor your website to your specific needs, providing you with professional advice and a customised pricing quote to suit your budget. Very few web designers advertise their pricing online because each website is unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Unfortunately this can create situations where people pay far too much for a product or pay too little and end up with a product that doesn’t do what they needed – always get more than one website quote before proceeding unless you know the company well or have had a positive referral from a friend, family member or colleague.
It’s important to mention that given the advances in technology, setting up a website yourself as a DIY project is achievable through site like Wix, Squarespace or GoDaddy. There is a market for these website set up services because they can be user friendly and affordable – and they certainly work well for some types of businesses.
However setting up in this fashion can become limiting for your business in the future should your business needs change, because many of these systems lack the flexibility or advanced function to grow with you. Simple websites can still be built in a top-shelf CMS (Content Management System) like WordPress that are easy to edit and leave room for growth.
On top of this, generally the aftercare website maintenance and SEO strategies are virtually non-existent for DIY companies, and you must be equipped to create and implement your own to be successful with this.
3. Is your business branding and style up to scratch?
As stated previously, your website is your online face and business card, and as such should represent your business in a way that matches your already established branding. This means making sure your website design and style blend together seamlessly. This may include logos, colour, themes, fonts, and/or content. Having consistent, strategic branding presents a more united front and adds value and depth to your company, meaning that your customers can identify with you as a business and you gain unspoken trust with your customer. Branding is a visual and psychological cue – customers have an emotional response to an image they are familiar with, and you definitely want it to be positive!
When making the decision to set up a website, you need to consider whether your branding is portraying the business accurately – what image do you want to project? If you are lacking in this area, then you may need to get the advice and assistance of a graphic designer to bring your business to life. While this may seem like a large expense, having a unified branding image can mean the difference between failure and success, and it is often a sporadic expenditure. Most companies only refresh their branding every few years at the most.
4. Online integration and multi device friendly
Having a website isn’t the only way to get your business out there. You can still use traditional methods, such a print and word of mouth. However as technology changes, these methods are becoming less effective and appealing to smaller markets. So, in making the decision to build your website, you also need to consider which other platforms you are going to integrate in your business plan.
These could include social media outlets such as Facebook, Instagram, or Linked In. In Australia alone, 85% of the population have some form of social media presence; equating to over 21 million people. That’s a lot of potential customers who can be drawn into your website through social media channels. Social media is also a great way to promote your business, whether that be to assist in selling products, promote business services, promoting events or simply just getting your name out there.
It is also a very humanising tool – customers want to see who you are as a business and the casual nature of social media allows them a ‘behind the scenes’ glimpse. The more digital we become, the more important it is to keep in touch and connect with your customers as people, and foster a human experience. Social media isn’t going away anytime soon and as a smart business owner, you should definitely consider how you can integrate your website with social media.
It’s important to consider the fact that there are also more devices available on the market today than just your humble computer. More and more people are upgrading their devices to the latest models and sizes. As such, your website and its other integrated social media platforms should also be multiple device friendly; in geek terms, ‘responsive’. Modern website design incorporates functionalities to be able to adapt the various design components on your website to be compatible with multiple screen sizes meaning customers have more flexibility to view your website on their phone, tablet, or laptop. This is a win-win for everyone because customers have your business services at their fingertips, and you draw in more business by having a website to allow for this.
5. Be flexible
A good website design will be forever changing. New products and content will need to be updated on a regular basis to spark interest and encourage your customers to come back to you. When considering building a website, remember that it isn’t something you do once and then never touch again. It is an ongoing process of development with updates and maintenance required. You need to be flexible and available to make changes when required. CHoosing a flexible CMS like WordPress to build your site in is a great start, the second thing is being open to getting hands on.
The team at Jezweb provide our clients full access to their sites as well as face-to-face website training and video tutorials to help you when you can’t remember. Having and maintaining your own website doesn’t have to be intimidating – with the right support it can be a fun and easy part of your life.
So, what are you waiting for?
When it’s all said and done, having a website is a necessity for any business. Not having a website puts your business at a significant disadvantage, especially given the dependance on technology of today’s customers. By remembering the simple considerations mentioned above, you can make informed decisions about the online future of your business and take steps to make the necessary updates to push your business into the successful future.
If you are looking for a successful website design company who can help you with everything from start to finish, don’t hesitate to contact Jezweb. A local company, priding themselves on quality, great looking websites, a passion for supporting and training their clients and outstanding customer service – Jezweb is your one stop place for all your design, hosting and SEO needs. Contact them today for a no obligation free quote and bring your business to the forefront of the online realm.