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Keep cousin frank away from your website! (3)
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Keep cousin frank away from your website! (3)

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If you own a business, large or small, you need a website. This should not be a huge front-page news item for anyone. ...

If you own a business, large or small, you need a website. This should not be a huge front-page news item for anyone.

There are an estimated 2.3 billion people online. This is a population that has grown accustomed to easy access and instant information. And because this huge number of people are choosing to do most of their interacting online (including shopping and commerce), a website it vital to any business.

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Keep cousin frank away from your website! (3) Keep cousin frank away from your website! (3) Presentation Transcript

  •       2    Keep Cousin Frank Away From Your Website!If you own a business, large or small, you need a website. This should not be a hugefront-page news item for anyone.There are an estimated 2.3 billion people online. This is a population that has grownaccustomed to easy access and instant information. And because this huge number ofpeople are choosing to do most of their interacting online (including shopping andcommerce), a website it vital to any business.But why, exactly? Don’t face-to-face meetings and handshakes mean anythinganymore?Sure they do…but in small capacities. A website is much more resilient and can meetthe needs of a population that are used to having information directly at their fingertips.So why do you need a website for your small business to truly succeed?WHY YOU NEED A PROFESSIONAL WEBSITE FOR YOUR SMALL BUSINESSYou Need to Go Where the People Are:2.3 billion people…that’s a lot of people. It stands to reason that you need to be onlineif you have any hope of growing your audience. Actually, it’s about much more thansimply growing your audience; having a website opens doors to you in other parts ofthe world that a simple physical storefront and a phone number just don’t generate.According to stats from the Small Business Administration, businesses that havewebsites draw in nearly 40% more revenue than businesses without a website. This is afigure that increases annually and is one that businesses without a website should reallytake note of.More than that, social media makes it easier than ever for interested parties to findyour website. Sure, people can Google you and maybe find you if you don’t have awebsite, but being linked to social media allows people to find your website with just afew clicks.It’s Easier to Find New Customers:Forget about cold calling and printing up flyers that will go in a weekly periodical andget tossed in the trash. A well designed website allows you to reach out to customers
  •       3    Keep Cousin Frank Away From Your Website!like never before. Interact, engage, and get your message out there. In most cases youcan do this for free, thanks to social media.When you get right down to it, the best sort of advertising you can get is word-of-mouth advertising. The internet takes word-of-mouth advertising to a whole new level.Things can go viral on the internet, spreading your message to hundreds of thousands,in the time it takes a traditional newspaper to approve your ad and send it to beprinted.When you have a professionally designed website, you provide your current customerswith an incredibly easy way to spread the word about your business. By simply sharingyour link with a friend or family member, your current customers can get your site moretraffic and, in turn, more customers.Of course, it’s now positive mentions on Facebook and Twitter that really get the jobdone. If you can manage to get retweets or shares on these platforms by the rightpeople, you’ll be amazed at just how much traffic your website will get.You Need to Establish Modern CredibilityIf you’re a small business owner, you’re going to eventually find yourself in situationswhere people are going to ask for your website. If your reply is “I don’t have one,” thenchances are that you are going to see less credible to most people.This is a fact that has really only come to light within the last ten years or so. It’s also agreat example of how a website has become the nexus for most small businesses.People no longer ask for your phone number or business card. Now people ask for yourwebsite address.To succeed in today’s competitive markets, a professional website is crucial in order tomaintain credibility in your field. Your website is a great way to introduce yourself andtell potential clients about your business. It is the pitch to end all pitches and it is there,online for all to see, on a rolling 24/7 basis. In today’s business environment, manypeople become suspicious if they can’t find a company’s website. It makes many believethat you are trying to stay anonymous and raises several trust issues.First and foremost, customers want to be able to easily get in touch with you. By havinga an online presence, your customers and potential customers get a sense of security inknowing that you’re just an e-mail or mouse click away.
  •       4    Keep Cousin Frank Away From Your Website!It Helps to Establish and Grow Your BrandNothing will establish and grow your brand better than a website. A website serves as astatic portrait of your company and gives people a visual representation of what you’reall about. A website also allows just enough customization and flexibility to allow you tochange and evolve the site as your business grows. By placing relevant copy on yoursite that potential customers want to see, you build your brand effectively and easily.There is no other medium out there that allows you to engage so openly with youraudience.Your brand stands a significant chance to grow when you have a robust onlinepresence. You can go from a few hundred in your local community knowing your nameto millions all around the world—and all because you finally decided to put up a prowebsite for your business.In building your brand, the word-of-mouth advertising we discussed above becomes ahuge part of your platform. Without a website and ties to social media, your chances ofbenefitting from this decrease dramatically.GO WITH A PRO, AND KEEP COUSIN FRANK AWAY FROM YOUR WEBSITEThrough networking, both online and in face-to-face environments, we all knowsomeone that works in websites. Or if we don’t know someone directly, we know afriend of a friend that dabbles. While it is certainly admirable to reach out to up andcomers or someone you know personally for website creation, this is the one areawhere you really need to shy away from family and friends. Of course, if they areactually good at what they do, use them by all means.But your cousin Frank, who took a course on Dreamweaver at the community collegethree years ago should not be contacted. You want to have a pro build your website—someone with a stellar portfolio and a long track record of satisfied clients. If you canfind a website designer that has specific experience within your industry, that’s evenbetter!Above all, make sure you are working with a designer that understands the messageyou are trying to convey and the sort of brand you want to grow. These are things thatcousin Frank just won’t be able to translate.
  •       5    Keep Cousin Frank Away From Your Website!FINDING THE RIGHT DESIGNERUnlike your cousin Frank, a great web designer knows that building a website is aboutmore than just making your page look pretty. Instead, a pro designer will also think ofthe layout and functionality of your site. Even if you can manage to floor your audiencewith your site’s appearance, you also want them to be able to find the information theyare looking for as quickly as possible.Even if you’re a novice at the world of web design and running a successful website,there are a few general guidelines to follow when speaking to web designers as you tryto find the best one to fit your needs.For instance:Ask how long it will be before your site will be up and running. Working with aweb designer is no different than working with any other company that is providing aservice. They should propose timelines based on your needs and be able to stick to it.At the same time, you need to understand that building a quality website can takesome time and effort; therefore, don’t ask for unrealistic goals. Come to a consensusover an agreeable timeframe, based on when you would like your website to go live.Find out if they provide templates and/or customized designs.The last thing you want is for your site to look like a carbon copy of other sites withinyour industry. For that reason, it is important that the web designer you select cancreate custom sites rather than churning out the same few sites based off of a basictemplate.Don’t get us wrong—for some sites, a template design is all you need and it would besilly to spend more money that you need to. Some budgets only allow for the simplestof designs, many of which are, in fact, based on a standard template. However, formore complex designs your designer should be able to suggest a few customizeddesigns based on your vision for the site. Customizable designs come in handle whenyou add e-commerce options to your site, so be sure that you communicate exactlywhat you want to your designer.How often will you be able to make changes to the site?In order to keep your site fresh and always standing out from the crowd, web designersare very much aware that the site will need to be changed from time to time. This canbe from simple matters such as editing copy, to more complex issues such as adding
  •       6    Keep Cousin Frank Away From Your Website!forms or pages. Make sure you and the designer you are working with are in agreementto how often changes can be made and how those changes will be approached.Will the site be adaptable to smartphones and other mobile devices?Technology is evolving at crazy rates these days. The vast majority of website ownerswould argue that it’s not enough to just have a website up—you also have to have amobile friendly site than can easily be accessed and navigated on smartphone andmobile devices. And while it’s a question that many forget to ask, you may aslo want tomake sure the site will be compatible with all browsers.Remember…you want your website available to the largest audience possible and thatmeans being accessible through all platforms.Will my site design be able to fully support e-commerce?If part of your business involves selling things, then your site is going to have beequipped to support e-commerce. You also might want to add in some minor bells andwhistles such as a PayPal button, a shopping cart feature, or a Shop/Store page.MY SITE IS UP AND DRAWING IN TRAFFIC. NOW WHAT?Now that you have those customers coming to your website, what can you do to ensurethat it remains a professional and attractive online platform for your small business?After all, you can drop as many links on Twitter or Facebook, but if your audience isbeing led to an unattractive web site, it’s all for naught.Make sure you have the basics (and a few not-so-basics) covered before rejoicing in thebirth of your website.Is it easy on the eyes?Make sure your background and text don’t clash. You want an attractive page, but youalso want your content to be readable. Don’t make your reader’s squint or strain toohard just to make out what you’re saying. You also don’t want to overwhelm youraudience with bright flashy colors that pull away from the focal point of the page—yourmessage and service.
  •       7    Keep Cousin Frank Away From Your Website!Make sure pictures are aligned and that text is lined up nicely. You want the text andpictures on your page to be laid out as neatly as possible. Think in terms of anattractive magazine layout as opposed to a child’s word search puzzle.Have you incorporated Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?SEO is all about making sure your page is going to be picked up by all of the searchengines. Sometimes this won’t be the responsibility of the web designer but your veryown. It comes down to keywords placed in the headlines, sub-headers, and page titles.You can certainly ask your designer to make these changes as you switch keywords andmessages around, but most will allow you to do it when possible. Make sure you craftrelevant text that search engines will pick up, but also stay away from blatantly loadingdown your copy with keywords. Your audience is smart by nature and can smell thissort of manipulative tactic from a mile away.Make sure your site is easy to navigate.If your website designer really knows what he is doing, he will probably ask to workwith you on a site map before any actual designing is done. A site map will give anaccurate layout of how your site will be broken down into pages. This not only helpsreaders find their way around your site, but can also help with matters of SEO. Makesure your page titles are leading to the appropriate content and that readers will beable to get to the information they want within seconds of opening your site.I’VE DONE ALL OF THAT! WHY IS MY SITE NOT GETTING TONS OF TRAFFICAll business owners have dealt with the fear of not having their website reach themasses that they had hoped for. There are a few ways to increase the flow of traffic toyour site; some of these solutions deal with social media and networking, but some ofthem can also be traced back to the very nature of your site.If you’re not getting the results you want, take a look at some of these factors and seeif you can change things up to make some improvements.
  •       8    Keep Cousin Frank Away From Your Website!Your website addressYou want to keep your website address as simple as possible, but you also want it toconvey exactly what it is that your company does. If you are a construction company, itis important that you try to get “construction” to work within your website address. Thisnot only tells people right away what you do, but it also helps with search enginesrecognizing you.Sometimes, because there are so many websites out there, you’ll find that your firstand even second or third choices for a website name are already taken. A websitedesigner should be able to help you figure out a solution here; fixes usually includegetting creative with name placement or adding hyphens.Linking and networkingThis is where social media comes in handy. These days, many people are usingFacebook as a digital (and more user-friednly) phone book of sorts. Some go so far asto say that a Facebook account is almost as important as a website. So get onFacebook and look for members within your audience, and even competitors withinyour industry. Reach out to people via social media to build your audience. This willdrop the link to your website in front of more people than ever before.Don’t do this thinking that there is a quick fix and that you’ll have tons of trafficovernight. Building an audience through social media and writing blog posts tends totake some time. Remain dedicated and patient and your website will soon become thehot spot you always dreamed it would be.Re-think SEO and keywordsIf you think you have covered all of your bases and still can’t seem to attract muchattention, you may want to look back over your SEO tactics. Are you using effectivekeywords? IS your content fresh and relative or just retreaded information that can befound in hundreds of other places on the web?Remember, getting SEO success is about more than just rehashing the same old topicsthat have been discussed before. Think of new approaches to old ideas or try to comeup with bold new topic and questions that have yet to be breached.