So you want a new small business website and it needs to look great, needs to come top in search and needs to generate revenue! Makes sense but that's not quite enough of a spec to give to your chosen web company.
If you really want to get the best out of your website you need to consider an abundance of things. Whilst any agency or company you choose to design and build your website for you will understand what's required (that's why you pay them after all) for your own peace of mind it's good to understand some of the basics which need considering when designing a new website.
Here we list just a few elements to consider:
Website Aim - What is the main reason for your website? Is it to raise awareness of your business? Is it to generate leads? Is it sell your products? By always keeping the aims of your website in mind, you can make sure you don't over-engineer or get carried away with superfluous features.
Audience - Who are your audience and what do they want? With this information, you can ensure that your website appeals to them directly. Consider what information they need most from you. You may already have a website where you can find these types of statistics. If not its worth really thinking hard about who your audience is, putting a personality to it and determining their needs and wants. Don't forget though you may be appealing to more than one audience so research them all.
Mobile friendly - It is a must for your website to be mobile friendly not just for the increased use of the internet on mobile devices but also to make sure search engines rank you well.
Optimisation - Optimising your website for search engines is a must and isn't just a one-time thing. You need to be able to continually review and keep this element of your website updated - whether that's updating the words and terms you use to describe your business, to making sure any imagery or photos added are the right size to load quickly but still look great.
Usability - You need to consider how easy your website is to use. If you have an existing website you can work out which devices your audience use and what information they view. You can then optimise your website to provide the most relevant information based on the device. If you don't have an existing website, you can make an educated guess and then use your analytics to determine exactly how your visitors behave and update accordingly.
Marketing needs - How are you going to use your website for marketing? Will you have a blog to provide useful content? Do you want to offer people useful information to download if they sign up with an email? Do you want users to subscribe to a newsletter or updates? Do you want the flexibility to run competitions or offers? You need to consider what functionality and features you need so your website can fully support all your digital marketing efforts.
Security - Website security is a no-brainer and even more important if you handle financial transactions or obtain personal information. Google now displays in the browser if a website is secure by showing a small padlock. Visitors are becoming far savvier in ensuring the websites they access are secure, you need to make sure yours is.
Content updates - How often and how much of your website do you want to update? Do you want to be able to update it on the move? A website with a good content management system will enable you to update nearly all of your website from anywhere. Determining which elements you can update will be done with the web company in the initial phases of design.
Analytics - You need to be able to obtain and analyse how visitors are accessing and using your website. Continually viewing this data can help you make improvements, if, for example, your visitors are constantly dropping off on a form page - consider reducing the number of questions asked on the form and see if the drop off falls.
There is a lot that goes into designing and building a great small business website. Reputable web design companies will not just have years of experience but will also be up to date on the very latest trends and approaches. If you have an understanding of just some of the elements required, you'll make the process of working with a web design company a great success.
If you have any questions or queries about small business websites, please don't hesitate to give us a call on 01752 651414 or email on [email protected].
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