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.