The development of any website, no matter what size or budget, has to have a particular purpose in mind when you take the initial steps towards its creation. There are several reasons for building a website.
1. You can present your products and services in their best light. You can personalise your business with images of shops, staff and stock. Your business will gain credibility in the eyes of your customers if your online presence adequately confers your positive qualities.
2. You can enable future customers to find out more about the business structure, its customer service policies and other reassuring information. This reassurance helps to break down any culture shock and therefore reduces any nervousness that a prospective client might be feeling about starting a new business relationship.
3. Your website offers a convenient method for your customers to order your products and services without having to visit your premises. Convenience of time is also a factor. Your customers may work during regular opening hours and the convenience of having a website to order from extends your accessibility to 24 hour per day.
4. A website can help you to extend your product range without having to personally stock every item in-store. Good suppliers can now dispatch items on your behalf and, if necessary, packaged in your own branded packaging. This reduces the outlay that you have to make on products and also makes it very convenient for you to update your current product stock.
5. Your current advertising, such as Business Cards, Flyers, TV, Radio, Word or Mouth etc, can refer to your website very easily and thus reduce the impact that these forms of advertising would usually have to make.
6. Your website can help you build a database of customers and other interested parties. This data is invaluable when promoting new product lines and service launches.
7. In-store sales are usually pretty swift processes. “Have you got this?”. “Yes, what colour would you like?”. Your website can supply unlimited information and allow your customers to browse through products. Clever website designs will develop interlinking to complimentary products and seek the multi-item sale that you may not have had time to suggest in-store.
8. Even if you cannot sell your products or services directly from your website, there are methods of making contacting your company very easy for your website visitors. By simply adding email details and contact telephone numbers you will find that prospective customers will be only too pleased to contact you to discuss their business needs.
9. A well designed website, packed with unique, high quality content and offering services that people need will compete in markets that you would never have previously considered. Whether you would like to sell regionally, nationally or even internationally your website can be the tool that allows you to get your products out to those markets.
So, with these reasons for your website to exist you must start to plan its creation. You will have to decided whether you will want a professional web design company to undertake the development or whether you could have a go for yourself. Most people, especially small business owners will try the latter option first. It is important to realise that building the website is the easiest part of your project. You might even find the design process very enjoyable as it helps to clarify your business, its services and products, your competition and potential opportunities that you might be able to take advantage of. However, without proper marketing your website will not reach the customers that you value. Online Marketing is essential to enable a small website to reach its optimum audience. There are companies that specialise in Online Marketing, you might find they call the practice Search Engine Optimisation, but you should carefully investigate the services that these companies provide. Look for an SEO company that provide services that cover SEO for all the major search engines (not just Google), also you will need to focus upon new social media techniques and build networks via link-building etc. These will help you widen your coverage throughout your industry and also into compliment industries.
Where I would always advise you to seek a local web designer to build your project, it is not really necessary that your SEO expert be nearby to perform good marketing services. Although I would advise you to arrange a staged payment structure when using remote SEO services. These will protect you from an SEO that might not be unable to gain the results that they advertise. You can pay a down payment, but agree points of success that you will pay each stage thereon.
I hope that you will feel that building your first website is a worthwhile venture. If you need help or would like advice please feel free to contact me to discuss your project.
Thanks for reading
Colin Hall is a Norwich Web Designer and SEO who specialises in bringing life back to failing websites and helping the smaller websites to compete in very competitive markets. His wife Beverley offers Norwich Accounts and Bookkeeping Services to all of Norfolk.