Small Business Web Design

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Everything is subjected to first impressions. Why else do you think such things, as advertising, branding, and packaging are so important? Why do you think they exist in the fist place? Let's face it. It is only with appropriate selling and marketing strategies are consumers driven to choose one product over another.

In the vast world of the Internet where literally millions of Web sites compete for attention, the same principle runs the show. It is also a world where anybody can play the numbers game. All that is needed is an exciting web design powered by a reliable hosting system. Important factors such as creativity and accessibility can empower even a small business startup.

Nowadays, a company need not be an international player to have its own Web site. Businesses of all kinds and sizes are finding the importance of being accessible online. It helps that programmers and designers are learning to customize their services and products to suit small business needs.

A small business Web presence may not require the same complex design of an expensive Web site for a bigger business. But it does not have to look like an amateur was hired to do it. With just a little more investment, small businesses can get the professional treatment they deserve.

With talented Web designers and developers a call or click away, less expensive business Web designs that offer exciting solutions and features are available for more people. Small businesses can now avail of sophisticated-looking Web sites that used to be affordable only to large corporations with big budgets for marketing and public relations. The key is to choose the right service provider or web design agency to handle the project.

When choosing a Web designer, small businesses must also look beyond the cost. They must also consider the kind of design they are purchasing. It is important that the Web design is flexible enough to accommodate adjustments and updates without major reprogramming. This is an important requirement that small businesses should insist on. This is the only way the small business can have less reliance on the Web developer for the Web site maintenance. The key is being self-reliant in the long run. This will translate to less cash spent on professional fees.

Inexpensive Small Business Web Design

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The era of doing business without using information technology is long gone. Businesses nowadays are embracing the world of the Internet and the many avenues for growth it provides. This is not surprising as millions of people around the globe hook go online for a variety of reasons -- entertainment, information and, yes, products and services. Even small businesses cannot afford to lose on this kind of marketing revolution. The catch is putting up a Web site can be quite expensive.

There are cost implications involved in the conceptualization, designing and mounting of a Web site. You have to pay writers to make your web content, hire a graphic artist to spruce up the site and, of course, pay for bandwidth and hosting. To keep traffic flowing, you need to have someone maintain the web page or Web site. He will need to update your photos, information and even do minor enhancements on your interface. All these things cost money. And it will cost you a lot more if you do not know where to look for such services.

Like most widely used technology, Web sites are commodities that sell according to their features, sophistication in design, and attractiveness. Small businesses may want to explore the services of young and technology savvy web developers to save on costs.

Most businesses that put up their Web site have sales revenues in mind. Their sites are often merchant sites -- those that you visit for electronic shopping or E-commerce. They do not really need nifty graphic designs or complex multi-tasking routines like chatting, peer-to-peer sharing, and heavy data storage. But for those that have a need for such things, a well constructed Web site does not have to be expensive.

The Internet abounds with freelance web designers and developers. But it is still advisable to hire the services of a company to do the job. This results to a more professional-looking Web site.

The Small Business Web Design Dilemma

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Web design and small business owners go hand in hand, just like crackers and cheese, as opposed to chalk and cheese, but you would be hard pressed to know that due to the difficulties many of them have getting a website to go live. Unfortunately small business owners, or at least very small business owners wear so many hats and assume so many roles in their business, that the role of newbie web designer isn't high on their list of priorities. But web design should be an integral part of any successful small business owner's business plan.

Having a website makes a difference to your business' bottom line - the importance of having a website was even highlighted by the President in his 2010 State of The Union address - that's how crucial having one is these days! So, as a small business owner, how can you be sure that the investment you make in a website is going to pay off? Before you spend any money you need to know what the goals of your web site are. If your site is there to be a promotional piece, like a clickable brochure, and you are not going to promote it online then the goal of your site is to be an information area where people interested in your business can learn more about it - but they have to have heard of your business somehow first, likely through word of mouth or your printed marketing collateral.

However, if you want to truly make money with your site, your goals will be different and your web design needs different. You don't have to have an e-commerce store to make money with your site - if you have a service company, the more people who know about it via the web, the more business it can procure. To promote your site online you need to attack your web design plan differently. It's no good thinking that because your site looks good it will rank well. You need to start your project with Search Engine Optimization in the forefront as the major priority by finding out what search terms people are using to find your competitors. Replicate your competitors' online strategies and surpass them, and you will dominate your market.

Whichever path you choose to go down, as a small business owner starting out on the web, list your website's goals and break them down into manageable chunks, then work through those one at a time. If you are going build a website all on your own you will have to take on the role of web designer to get the job done, or a member of your staff will - and that takes time from your/their actual job. But if you hire a web design company to do the work it will get completed on time and to your satisfaction. It will be customized especially for your needs and you will get the best results. The bottom line is: A well designed, search engine friendly website improves your bottom line.

10 Small Business Web Design Disasters to Avoid

Monday, September 3, 2012

I don't get angry easily but I'll tell you what makes my blood boil - irresponsible, under qualified, even clueless web designers. Many web designers are talented, skilled and reasonably priced and have the best interests of their clients at heart. But unfortunately there are too many who don't.

Week after week small business owners call or e-mail me wondering why their expensive website is generating no traffic or leads and not showing up in the search engines.

When I look at their website I often see a site that looks pretty, but is useless. So how do you avoid falling into the same trap?

Here is what you need to know:

1) Ask the web designer to create your website in a Content Management System like Joomla or WordPress. This will allow you to easily make frequent changes to your site yourself without having to pay $60 or more per hour for every added link or paragraph. Those days are long gone. If the designer balks at this suggestion, run.

2) Ask if they do keyword research to determine what keyword phrases people who want your type of service are searching for. If they don't you can certainly do it yourself or out source it cheaply. Check for a great selection of freelancers.

3) Ask if they do Search Engine Optimization. If so, what is the cost? If they don't, run. If they are too expensive, shop around. You can do it yourself with a little effort.

4) Do the copywriting yourself or provide an outline and have a professional copywriter do it. The headlines and content need to be focused on customer benefits and they need to contain your keyword phrases. Your headline and content will determine whether visitors leave or stay. Avoid phrases like "welcome" and "we do this" and "we do that".

5) Ask your designer to go easy on using Java script or Flash as Google can't recognize or read either.

6) Do not create an "enter" or "intro" page. It will increase your rate of abandonment and the search engines won't like it. Every extra click discourages visitors.

7) It's crucial that you have an e-mail marketing program and put an opt-in box on every key page of your site. Ask visitors to sign up for your mailing list and give them something of value to encourage them to comply. This is how you convert visitors to leads. Ask your designer if they will put the opt-in boxes on your site for you.

8) Check references and find out how long they've been in business and how reliable they are. Do they have a group of designers or are they solo? You want someone who will respond when you need their help in an emergency, not someone who ignores you for days. You will need excellent customer service since your business is at stake.

9) Do not let your web designer register your domain name or host your website unless you have direct access to your domain and hosting accounts and they are in your name. You don't want to be "held hostage" should you need to change designers. You'll need direct access anyway for a number of reasons. You shouldn't pay more than $10 per year for a domain, and for a simple site, your hosting costs should be no more than $10 to $12 a month.

10) Shop around. Don't just hire the first person you're referred to since the referrer may not be aware of some of these pitfalls.

Following these 10 tips will save you hundreds of wasted dollars and will help you create a website that sells.