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Creating a Website For Your Business

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Provides simple advice for small businesses that are interested in establishing their own website. Talks through a logical website development methodology to ensure that the end product serves its purpose.

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Creating a Website For Your Business

  1. 1. Creating a Website for Your Business CLAYTON WEHNER BLUE TRAIN ENTERPRISES
  2. 2. The Plan Today  40 mins  10 mins break  40 mins  30 mins – questions  Hold your questions for the end  You’ll need the worksheet for a few activities during the session
  3. 3. Some of the websites I’ve been involved with…  Boomerang Books  DefenceJobs.gov.au  Rundle Mall  TAFE SA  City of Adelaide
  4. 4. Do you have a website? Are you happy with it?
  5. 5. What is your favourite website?
  6. 6. Why websites are important…  Websites are cost-effective  Websites are your online ‘premises’, with a unique, memorable domain name  Websites help to establish business credibility  Websites are open 24/7 – you never close  Websites are accessible all over the globe – you can access new markets  Websites are discoverable; most buying decisions start with a search  Websites are a self-service channel; can save your business resources  Websites are ‘owned’ – you control them, unlike other digital assets  Websites act as your central hub for other marketing activity
  7. 7. A little about search… 93% of consumers worldwide use search engines to locate web sites. (Forrester Research) 85% of qualified web traffic is driven through search engines. (WWW User Survey) 75% of search engine traffic never scroll past the first page of results. (WWW User Survey) Google is the number one website in Australia (Hitwise)
  8. 8. Websites are changing the commercial landscape…  Greater consumer inclination to transact online  New online competition – Amazon to arrive shortly…  New online markets – clothing, groceries, food delivery, bulky goods  Bricks-and-mortal retail under threat – Borders, Dick Smith, Masters, Pumpkin Patch, ABC Shops, David Lawrence, Herringbone, Payless Shoes Lots more growth in online to come! How will your business compete?
  9. 9. So how do I go about getting a website??
  10. 10. The Process - BPADCOM ◦ 1- Business Requirements ◦ 2- Platform – the foundation stone ◦ 3- Architecture – how it all fits together ◦ 4- Design – what it looks like ◦ 5- Content – what users consume ◦ 6- Optimisation for Search – what search engines see ◦ 7- Management, maintenance, marketing and measurement
  11. 11. 1. Business Requirements Frequently overlooked! The mindset is ‘I’ve gotta get a website’, without really exploring the needs of the business. Typically a web designer is engaged and produces something pretty, but often ineffective. Doing some detailed thinking first and articulating your requirements will ensure that you get a better result.
  12. 12. POST Analysis People – who are you seeking to influence? Objective – what do you want to them to do? Strategies – how will you move them towards that objective? Technologies – which technologies will you use to enact those strategies? People Objective Strategies Technologies
  13. 13. The problem is… We typically start our thinking with the technology. We don’t really consider the people, objective or strategies… Starting at ‘T’ generally doesn’t work too well… People Objective Strategies Technologies
  14. 14. Example ‘Everybody seems to have a Facebook Page. Let’s drop everything and start a Facebook Page’
  15. 15. Same for websites… ‘Every other business has a website. We need a website. Let’s get somebody to build us a website.’
  16. 16. People Who are you seeking to influence?  Teenage females  Stay-at-home mums with discretionary income  Small business owners  Working parents with little time  Retirees who live less than 3km away  Americans who love Australian products  Pensioners with iPads  Migrants that don’t speak English People Objective Strategies Technologies
  17. 17. Take 3 mins to write down who you’re intending to influence WHO ARE THEY? WHERE ARE THEY? WHAT ARE THEIR SPECIFIC CHARACTERISTICS? FEMALE? MALE? OLD? YOUNG? IN ADELAIDE? ELSEWHERE? INTERESTS? WHERE DO THEY GO ON THE WEB?
  18. 18. Objective What do you want those people to do?  Buy our product – the most obvious  Read our content  Submit an enquiry to us  Attend an event or activity  Remember our brand  Learn about a topic  Donate to our charity  Pass on a message to friends and family People Objective Strategies Technologies
  19. 19. Take 3 mins to write down your objective for your chosen audience BUY STUFF? READ STUFF? ATTEND SOMETHING? CHANGE THINKING? REQUEST FURTHER INFO? JOIN A GROUP? WRITE COMMENTS? INFLUENCE?
  20. 20. Strategies How do we get the people moving towards the objective? If ‘buy our products’ is our objective… ◦ Produce online content that showcases our products ◦ Run a ‘product of the month’ special ◦ Inform prospective customers about new release products via a mailing list ◦ Discount products so they are cheaper than our competitors ◦ Operate a loyalty program for return customers ◦ Offer gift cards and promotional codes ◦ Offer free shipping for buying more than $100 ◦ Deliver brilliant after-sales support ◦ Operate an affiliate/referral program People Objective Strategies Technologies
  21. 21. Take 3 mins to write down some strategies to achieve your objective DISCOUNTING? MAILING LISTS? VIP CLUB? CONTENT STRATEGY? COMPETITIONS? LOYALTY PROGRAM? REFERRAL INCENTIVES? INFORMATION NIGHTS?
  22. 22. Technologies Which technologies will enable you to enact the strategies? ◦ Content website or blog ◦ eCommerce website ◦ Social media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. ◦ Email marketing – Mailchimp, Campaign Monitor ◦ Google My Business Do we even need a website? If yes, what does it need to do for us? How will it help our business? People Objective Strategies Technologies
  23. 23. Break – 10 minutes
  24. 24. Google My Business All businesses who want to be found in Google MUST complete a Google My Business profile Go to business.google.com Manage how your business looks in local search results Contact details, opening hours, website address, map location Advertise using Google Adwords It even has its own inbuilt website builder!
  25. 25. Avoid ‘brochureware’
  26. 26. 2. Platform – the foundation stone Like building a house, it’s necessary to build a strong foundation for your web presence. If you get the foundation wrong, then it’s mighty hard to dig it all up and start again. Things to consider here: ◦ Domain name – important to consider up front because it’s hard to change it later on. The domain also has implications for search engine optimisation. ◦ Software – eg. A content management system, ecommerce software ◦ Website hosting – fast and reliable? Can it cater for the software required?
  27. 27. Domain Names 101  .com.au is the best option for Australian businesses - infers  Your business name should be in the domain name  There are search engine benefits if you include keywords in the domain – eg. bobsplumbing.com.au  Shorter is better – more memorable  If you can get the .com equivalent of your domain, that’s worthwhile
  28. 28. Some options for your software platform  Website ‘builders’ – Wix.com, Squarespace, Google Sites  Hosted online blog software – Wordpress.com, Blogger.com, TypePad, Tumblr  Hosted eCommerce websites – Shopify, BigCommerce  Other – Drupal, Joomla, Magento and hundreds of other content management systems But the best solution for most small businesses is: a self-hosted Wordpress website
  29. 29. Why a self-hosted Wordpress site?  Software is free – it’s open source  Easy-to-use for novices  A high percentage of the world’s websites use Wordpress  Active community of developers means that the software is constantly getting better  Every web developer knows how to install it and use it  Heaps of templates, themes, plugins, extensions, widgets and integrations with other software – it can be extended to do almost anything!  You can use your own domain name  You can get free hosting for 12 months on Amazon Web Services
  30. 30. 3. Architecture – how it all fits together Now that we have our foundation stone in place, it’s necessary to build the ‘bones’ of the website. These are fundamental to the user experience or UX – a science in its own right these days Two main things to consider:  Information architecture (IA) – the hierarchical page structure of the website; how users will navigate the site to find what they are looking for.  Page architecture – how the individual pages are structured, particularly the common page elements that appear globally across the site – the header/footer, sidebars, columns, search function, navigation bars, social buttons
  31. 31. Do a card sort… A great way to settle on your information architecture is to do a card sort. Here’s how: 1. Brainstorm all of the possible pages that your website should have (important: think about it from a customer perspective) 2. Get yourself a PostIT note pad and write down each page title on a separate note 3. Order the notes into a logical hierarchy 4. Take a photo of the final product! TIP: One page = one discrete topic
  32. 32. Take 3 mins to write down a list of pages that you will have on your site HOME – SERVICES – PROFILE – ABOUT US – PRIVACY – TERMS AND CONDITIONS – CONTACT US – TESTIMONIALS – CASE STUDIES – PRODUCTS – SEARCH – JOBS – OUR CUSTOMERS – WHAT WE DO
  33. 33. Do a wireframes for page architecture…
  34. 34. 4. Design – what it looks like This is the traditional domain of the web designer. Important: Pretty does not equal good. Beware form over substance. Design incorporates: ◦ Corporate logo, colours, fonts and styles ◦ HTML/CSS templates – the ‘look and feel’ of the pages, on desktop, tablet and mobile ◦ Fixed graphical elements – banners, images, buttons, bullets, dividers ◦ Rich and dynamic media – video, sliders, dynamic menus, marquees, rotating banners
  35. 35. IMPORTANT – Responsive Design DEVICE USAGE – AUGUST 2017
  36. 36. With Wordpress, you can take advantage of 1000s of pre-built responsive themes…
  37. 37. 5. Content – what users consume  One thing that web designers aren’t typically very good at...  Compelling copy (text) is critically important for your website. And not just for human visitors, but also to ensure that your website figures prominently in the search engines…more on that shortly…  Images – pictures tell a thousand words  Dynamic content - video  Content is the reason why people visit your site – it must be good!
  38. 38. Copywriting 101  KISS – keep it simple stupid!  One page = one topic  Simple words, short sentences and short paragraphs  Err on the side of minimalism – descriptive, but not wordy  Use headings and sub-headings to break up the text  Lots of white space  Use bullets, but don’t bullet everything  Use keywords that people would search for in Google
  39. 39. 6. Optimisation for search – what search engines see Websites need to serve two masters: humans…..and ‘robots’ or ‘spiders’ You can have the most attractive website in the world – but looks won’t guarantee visitors to your site. Google doesn’t see prettiness. Websites need to be optimised for search engines so that your site can be discovered by customers: ◦ Keyword analysis – working out which keyword combinations people should use to find your site ◦ On-page optimisation – tweaking the page content and metadata to ensure keyword relevancy ◦ Inbound link building – obtaining links from other high quality websites ◦ Technical optimisation – geekery!
  40. 40. SEO 101 For each individual page: ◦ What is the keyword combination that a person would type into Google to find this page? Eg. Men’s basketball shoes ◦ Include that keyword combination in the page TITLE tag ◦ Include that keyword combination in the page DESCRIPTION tag ◦ Include that keyword combination in the top page heading (the H1 tag) ◦ Include that keyword combination in other headings on the page ◦ Include that keyword combination in the page copy ◦ Include that keyword combination in the alternate text tags for images on that page (ALT tags) ◦ When linking to this page from other pages on your site, use the keyword combination in the hyperlink anchor text
  41. 41. 7. Management, maintenance, measurement, marketing and more!  A website is never finished!  Not enough to simply publish a site on the web and just let it sit there.  The best websites constantly add new content and update existing content – start blogging!  Measurement – set up Google Analytics and get an understanding of your website traffic  Marketing – consider an active social media presence and paid marketing to drive traffic to your site – eg. Facebook Page, Twitter feed, Google Adwords
  42. 42. Outsourcing a Website Project  Use BPADCOM to frame your requirements in writing  Provide a written brief to 2-3 website developers and run a mini-tender – you might consider using an online freelancer network like Upwork, Toptal or Freelancer.com  Ask the developers to respond in writing, providing information about their ‘approach’ to your requirements and a project schedule  Choose the developer based on their response – they need to know about everything we’ve covered today.  Insist upon weekly telephone/in-person reports and hold them to the project schedule!
  43. 43. Dealing with geeks  Always opt for a system that you can maintain yourself – eg. A content management system, rather than a ‘static’ website  Geeks often have no sense of time or deadlines – keep on their back, but be gentle  Geeks often don’t document things – make them write things down, including an instruction booklet so you can administer your new site  When you find a good geek, stick with them; don’t take them for granted
  44. 44. And we’re done! TIME FOR QUESTIONS….

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