Shop front or hidden gem

You need a website. Seven steps to get you there.

Photo by Artem Gavrysh on Unsplash

“A successful website does three things:
It attracts the right kinds of visitors. Guides them to the main services or product you offer. Collects contact details for future ongoing relations.”
– Mohamed Saad

Now that you have gotten a good understanding of your client base, decided on a logo, written that business plan (you did, didn’t you? Link) its time to look at your website. It’s time to decide if you want to have a big bold shop front or to remain your towns hidden gem and biggest secret.

Why do you need one you might ask. Here are a few important reasons why you do need a website in today’s economy.

  • A web site makes you business look professional. 84% of people surveyed said that a business with a website looked more professional that one with just a social media presence.
  • A website and therefore a domain name (with hosting) allows have your own branded email address (e.g. Joe@yoursite.com) which adds a level of professionalism to all of your correspondence. It really isn’t seen as professional to be Joe@gmail.com.
  • It also allows you to gather together all your social media under one ‘name’, that of you website.
  • A website also means you are able to attract new customers through Google and other search engines. A well-optimized website can help your business rank well on the searcg engines and attract a steady stream of new customers. There are many free SEO tools that make it easy to optimize your website.
  • Importantly you can showcase your products to the largest of audience. Show testimonials and reviews prominently on your website.
  • Having a web domain means that you can integrate your business onto Google Maps, make use of Google Analytics and many of the online apps that help to make your business a success.
  • In 2020, almost 4.54 billion people (59% of the global population) use the Internet, and more and more people are getting online. Without a website, your business is invisible to these people. As we progress further into the digital era, your business will become invisible to everyone unless you invest in a website.
  • Be an information resource, having a website is an excellent opportunity to build your reputation as an authority in your field. Create a blog section on your site with informative articles that take advantage of your experience. Potential customers doing web searches on common problems related to your industry will be more likely to find you — and after they read your blog articles, they’ll see how helpful you can be for them.
  • Being able to develop a mailing list, according to one survey a mailing list is up to 40% more effective than just social media in spreading the word about offers, specials etc.

So, as you can see having a website is really important in this digital age that we live in. A space in the digital world. Experience will show that… the sky really is the limit, the world is your oyster…. geographic and social borders are like whisps blown in the wind. If there is internet, wifi, and possibly a courier service, you can do business.

Now that we have established that you do need a website, I have put together a to do list to make it simpler.

  1. DOMAIN NAME
    Pick a domain name. I mean it doesn’t have to be the first thing that you do, but, why not!!!
    Do a search at one of the many domain portals that offer domain registration and choose one that suits your name. Before you click that ‘buy’ button go to Instagram, Facebook , Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn…. and any other social media platforms that you might be using and check that it is available. That way you will have one ‘name’ throughout your online world. I wish I’d have known about that when I got started all those years ago!!!
  2. WHAT, WHY, HOW
    Put some time aside to plan what your website will have to do for you.
    Is it an information platform that will give potential clients information and images of your products?
    Will your website primarily be for selling your products or services?
    Will it mainly be a blog platform?
    Each of the above will determine what kind of website you will be needing.
  3. LOOK FOR A DESIGNER
    Start a conversation with a designer. Really, if your talent is selling ice to Eskimos and not designing, you will most probably need to get a designer in to do the website. There is nothing more off putting that a badly designed, unprofessional website. As a consumer, if your website looks blah, I’ll just scroll past. 75% of consumers admit that they judge a business’ credibility based on their website design.
    Must be mobile friendly. Must be easy to navigate. Must be uncluttered and easy to read.
    Tip: Have a look at web designers web page and portfolio, a lot of ‘web designers’ should in actual fact be selling fish to penguins, not designing websites. Good designers aren’t cheap, you’re paying for their expertise, years of slog and hours spent honing their skills — and in fact most designers are willing to stagger payments in order for you to be able to get the best website that you can.
  4. PROFESSIONAL IMAGES
    The same goes for the images that are posted to sell your products. Your badly lit mobile camera image isn’t going to do it. Find a professional photographer and start with a few really good shots.
    Tip: At the very least if you have to use your mobile camera, make sure the lens is clean, put your items onto a white infinity background (Cardboard that lies from under the item and rests against something behind it. Take the picture in good light, inside at a window, not in direct light.
    Tip: Use a good photo editing app to brighten, sharpen and crop the image. (Snapseed is one I use on my mobile)
    Remember that the point of getting a web site, is to look professional.
  5. MAKE A PLAN TO BE SEEN
    Now that you have a fabulous website, you need people to see it. Uploading your website without a plan to drive traffic to it, is like buying an expansive BMW and parking it in the garage. Unless you bring people to see it, it will look lovely, but, serve no purpose. A social media strategy / SEO, is vitally important and once again it is worth a) chat with an SEO specialist who can tell you what you need to do to get maximum eyes on your page and b) learning as much as you can about it so that you understand how it works, and can make tweeks and changes yourself.
    Last but not least, create a newsletter. This will guarantee return visits!
  6. BLAST OFF
    Once your website is nearly completed you will need to find a hosting company. Now is the time to activate those email addresses that I mentioned at the beginning. Your designer will upload the website to your domain and your ready to go.
  7. KEEPING TRACK.
    Once you are up and running there are apps that will tell you what is happening on your site, who is visiting and information demographically about them. Google Analytics is the first app I’d suggest installing and connecting to your web page. Read together with your social media schedule report will tell you what posts, blogs, adverts are drawing the crowds and what to drop. Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn all have basic analytic reports that you can draw on.

Once again, I hope you have found this article to be interesting and above all useful. Click on the link for the downloadable info graphic highlighting the seven steps to a fabulous website.

Till next week
Ciao!
Jacci
www.jaccirdesign.com

JacciR Design is a virtual studio, making use of the best of social media platforms to reach, chat to, and design for, my clients.