Creating a website for your small-medium sized business

Creating a website for your small-medium sized business

There are so many things to consider before attempting to build a website. Here is a quick checklist to help get started.

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Domain name and Hosting

To find a domain name that reflects what your business offers, firstly, consider what three words your potential customers might use to search for your product/service on a search engine like Google.

Once you have assessed your options and seen what's available, buy your domain name and hold it in your own account - if your relationship with your web developer ever goes badly wrong, you have peace of mind knowing you own your domain name.

If you are contemplating a DIY website you will also need to decide which hosting company to use. There are often great start up deals available so shop around but be mindful that you need good technical support backup too.

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Decide on a 'template style' website or a 'bespoke' website

There are many template style websites that offer great functionality and designs but may be limited when bespoke style or functionality is required eg. Should you wish to add a sales list and require certain categories and/or layout. A template site can probably offer you several ways of doing it, but not an exact fit.

If your website is to be as unique as you and your business, you may need a bespoke website, tailored to match your unique service or product, but not always.

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Find the right Developer

If you decide to work with a professional web developer, take the time to discover if they are offering you a template website or a bespoke design service. There are pros and cons to each, what is right today, you may outgrow tomorrow! What is right for one business will not suit another so choose carefully!

Who will you be dealing with after the sale is made? Can you develop a relationship with that person? Will they take the time to understand your business and offer solutions when questions arise or simply rely on all the answers coming from you?

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Who is your target customer? How are you going to gain their trust and encourage them to contact you after viewing your website? The answer is CONTENT. The right content could be the difference between your potential customer making contact or not!

Match your business' Unique Selling Points (USPs) to your customer's requirements and then with your unique knowledge of your business sector consider the following important trust-gaining questions:

  • What first impression do you want your website to give your customers?
  • What is the correct tone?
  • What colour scheme will enhance your overall message?
  • What images will engage them and encourage them to read the text?
  • Where will you source your images? Buy online or use your own?
  • How much information should you impart?
  • Are the images and text on your website easy on the eye?
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Write for the 'google eye' as well as the 'human eye' (Search Engine Optimisation)

Search for something on google now - within less than a second there will be potentially 44 million results matching your search. It is mind blowing just how fast a search engine works! How do you get your business to the top of that pile?

Once you have clearly identified your target customer, their needs, requirements and geography and written your content aimed at them, re-write it making sure you have considered the 'google eye' as well as the 'human eye'.

Name your pages and titles with search engines and social media sharing in mind. Give some thought to your page description that gets shared, rather than hoping the right information gets used.

Get a good sitemap page and register it with the top search engines to encourage their bots to rate your site highly.

Your business website could be the best marketing tool at your disposal. This checklist is just the tip of a very large iceberg, but it will get you pointed in the right direction to grow your online presence organically.

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David Plummer is based in Lincolnshire and specialises in developing websites for small to medium sized businesses

As a long-time small business owner, I appreciate the demands on your time and understand many of your day to day issues. As such, I will always try to use your valuable time well, presenting solutions in plain English rather than bothering you with tech problems.

If you would like a free consultation about your individual requirements, please get in touch.