A website is an online extension of your business and should reflect your brand. The goal of your website should be to generate leads, which turn into customers.
When a potential customer is looking for your company, the first thing they’ll likely do is look you up on Google. If you don’t have any web presence, they’ll discount you immediately and move on to a competitor.
Depending on your type of business, you might be able to get away with a Facebook page. If pricing or scheduling is involved at all, however, invest in a website so potential customers can easily check prices and times.
According to Joey Herzberg, Web Designer & Optimization Manager at TaxSlayer, small businesses and websites go hand-in-hand. A website is a great way to further the reach of your business and attract new customers. Jesse Nichols, UX/UI Designer at TaxSlayer, adds that any small business that doesn’t make having a web presence a priority will be lost in the shuffle.
Should I Hire Someone to Build My Website?
Once you’ve decided that you need a website, the next question is whether you can build one yourself or hire a professional. Wes Dollar, UX/UI Designer at TaxSlayer, says that you should be very involved in the process, even if you hire a professional. No one knows your business better than you do.
Do you have a good eye for desing? If not, hire someone to build your website.
How much time are you willing to devote to building your website? If you want it done in just a few days, hire a professional. If you have weeks or months to devote to building your website (and are willing to research and experiment), build your own.
If you want to hire someone on a tight budget, you certainly can. Look for brand new web designers, who are trying to build their portfolio.
Start looking for designers on college campuses. A lot of students are looking to build their portfolio before graduation. Post flyers near the technology building of your local college. Be respectful and allow the designer to link to your live website indefinitely.
If you’re still questioning whether to hire a designer to build your website, Nichols points out that there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work that designers do. For example, they can ensure search engine optimization (SEO) and tagging are done properly so your website shows up on search engines.
Can I Use a Premade Template?
If you want to build your website yourself, you have the option of using a template from sites like WordPress, Weebly, or Wix. Look at competitors’ websites. If your competitors are using customized websites, you need to have a customized website.
Herzberg says there’s a place for these templates in small businesses, especially when you’re just starting out. As your business grows, upgrade to something more substantial.
Dollar suggests that you can often find a designer for the similar cost as a template. Templates can be slow, and with a template, you run the risk of having the same design as a competitor.
Basic Components to Include
After you’ve decided who’s going to build your website, know what components to include:
A professional domain name – You want to purchase a domain name that’s unique, descriptive, and easy to remember, like your business name.
Dollar says that it’s best to look up a domain name before finalizing your business name to ensure a domain is available.
You can purchase a domain name through sites like GoDaddy.
A landing page – Make sure that your customers know exactly what to do when they first see your website. Include a call to action to make the next step easy (something like, “Buy Now”, or “Read More”).
An easy-to-use shopping cart – If your customers can make a purchase online, make the shopping experience as easy as possible.
Contact information – Make it easy for customers to get in contact with you. Put your contact information in a prominent location on your website so visitors can find it immediately.
Herzberg, Nichols, and Dollar provided more tips to help you make the most of your website:
Register your company with Google Business. This allows customers to see your address and contact information right on Google.
Keep your website up-to-date. Having an outdated website is just as bad as having no web presence.
Every potential customer has a “goodwill reservoir” you have to fill up. Once it’s depleted, you’ll have a hard time getting that customer back. You can lose goodwill if they can’t find you online or if your website doesn’t have the information your customers need.
Know your customers. What’s important to them? What do they need to know? Don’t build a website to stroke your ego or showcase what you want. Build a website to showcase information your customers are looking for.
Add value at every turn. If something doesn’t add value, consider not including it in your website.
This includes an “About Us” section, although it can be useful for building credibility. If you include an “About Us” section, keep it short – no more than a paragraph or two.
This can also include testimonials. Customers know that you can cherry pick reviews or even write your own, so be careful if you decide to include testimonials.
Make your website mobile friendly. Over half of all internet searches are done on phones. If your website isn’t mobile friendly, you’ll turn potential customers away.
“Content is king.” Keep your content relevant, SEO friendly, and updated. If you’re not a strong writer, hire someone to write your content.