So you’ve decided to take the leap and get your small business online. The first thing you need to ask yourself when planning your website is why you have decided to create a website in the first place. This is the first installment in a series focused on building a professional and dynamic WordPress site that will help you achieve your business objectives. Topics will include everything you need to know about selecting a host, choosing themes, how to get started with e-commerce, SEO, and more. Today we’ll start with the basics for refining your reasons for creating a small business website.
6 Most Common Reasons For Building a Small Business Website:
We’re going to examine six of the most common reasons a business will decide it needs a website. Many of these reasons are valid but require a more refined approach if you’re going to achieve the greatest return on your investment in your new website.
Reason 1: I simply need my address and phone number online so people can find my business.
Don’t be so basic. If you were looking up a business online, do you think that simply a name and a phone number would compel you to contact them about their product and services? Think again. You have as much space as you want to use for your business online; it’s not like your office closet. You’re not constrained by square feet. Take your time and connect with your customer. The reality is that for an increasing number of your customers, your website will be the first impression you make.
- Introduce Yourself – You need to create some content that will introduce your business to your potential customers.
- Be Creative – Use your imagination to capture your company’s personality and present yourself in a way that will stand out from the croud.
- Establish Your Expertise – Dedicating part of your website to tips or news from your industry will inspire customer confidence. It will also provide a significant boost for your site’s SEO and keep your visitor on your site longer.
- Sell – Your website needs to provide a clear call to action, whether that is through a free estimate, coupon, sample or consultation that will get you hooked up to the customer.
Reason 2: Everybody says I need a web presence.
Don’t get discouraged. Recognize that times are changing but your business can change with them. Maybe you know that you need a website but you’re clueless about how that process will work. That’s what this online small business guide is for.
Reason 3: I want my business to look more professional.
You definitely need a website in order to be a truly professional business. However, most business owners who simply want a cheap website to make them appear professional can be miss the mark entirely by failing to present a well-formed business identity. You can’t simply toss the site off to a company to create for you without defining a solid set of goals for your online presence. When you first formed your business, you decided what your business was about: your business objectives and philosophy. Developing your web presence should be no different. If you’re not truly showing the face of your business to online customers then you will not achieve the result you’re hoping for your site to provide: an increase in business.
Take time to plan your business objectives concerning your website. Make sure that you have quality photos if you’re using your own. Make sure the website copy has been proofed and is descriptive and engaging. Be prepared to respond to customer inquiries in a timely fashion, just as if they stepped into your shop. Consider new ways of communicating with potention customers, including online chat, skype, email, social networking, etc.
Reason 4: I want to be number one on Google and Yahoo.
Of course you do! Good search engine rankings will be one of the best ways to get noticed online. Bear in mind, everyone wants to be in the top of their search category, but building a ranking is a process. If you’re serious about SEO, then you will need to cultivate a plan that includes regular, original content updates on your website.
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A content management system like WordPress is one of the best tools a small business can have in elbowing for search engine rankings. It provides a simple-to-use blogging platform. The most important aspect of SEO is relevance and that has everything to do with content that crawlers can find on your website. This publishing platform enables you to make updates yourself, without having to hire a developer every time you want to add to your website.
Reason 5: My competitor has one.
Distinguish yourself. Consider what your competitor is doing before you create your website. Look for parts of the market that your competitor has neglected. Whatever you do, don’t try to make a website just like theirs.
Reason 6: I want to sell online.
Great idea! There isn’t a business website that shouldn’t be selling, whether it’s a product, an idea, or simply your brand. Never underestimate the value of a strong, recognizable brand.
You will need to know what you’re going to sell and be prepared to set up a merchant account and payment gateway to get your online store operational. Don’t worry, we’ll cover everything you need to know about setting up e-commerce for your business.
Stay tuned next week for part two in our guide to building a small business site with WordPress.