Fact: Potential customers will make snap decisions about your new business based on your website.
How many times have you visited a website and immediately clicked-off because it didn’t meet your immediate expectations? We all do it because it’s so easy to just scroll further down a Google search results page to find another business offering something similar or the same as you. So, if your business is going to get off the ground it’s critical you get the website right.
At Instilled, we have been designing and building business websites for over 10 years. We know the pitfalls and the processes needed to ensure your build project runs smoothly.
Below is our list of the things you need to be considering when planning a website for a small business with a small budget.
1. Domain name first then the business name
When choosing your business name check that the domain name available?
Spend some time finding a simple clear domain name and use it as the business name. Avoid the situation where the business name is different from the domain name even if it’s only a slight difference.
A good place to see if your preferred domain names are available is here: https://www.34sp.com/
2. Use WordPress to build your site
With WordPress your site can grow as your business grows and with Pay Monthly there will never be any need for expensive website redesigns when you need additional pages or functionality – we simply add additional pages and functionality simply and quickly. WordPress is safe, secure and easy to use and a third of the worlds websites use WordPress including Renault, Disney Corporate, Reuters and Vogue.
3. Don’t blow your business budget on a logo!
Your branding is a very important tool in helping gain the trust of visitors to your new website but remember branding is not just a logo. You need a collection of elements to create a consistent, professional look and feel. Here are some of the elements you need to consider.
- Creating a palette of brand colours – between 3 and 5 is about right
- Deciding on a brand font. Use https://fonts.google.com/ – Completely free!
- Use good quality images only
- Create a logo – something simple to start with is fine. Remember, your logo can evolve as your business develops
- Tone of Voice – think about how you want your written communications to be perceived? Authoritative, relaxed, caring? – make that decision and be consistent.
4. Website design KISS (Keep it simple, stupid!)
All our websites are flexible and designed ensure visitors can quickly find the information or products they are looking for. They are modern, contemporary and will Instill customer confidence in your new business.
5. Content is king
Your written content is obviously important. It’s your written content that explains your business and its products and services to both your website visitors and Google. Keep your writing concise and clear. It’s always worth looking at your competitor’s websites to see how they are writing about your business sector. Writing for websites is a science in itself, however, having a basic understanding of ‘Keyword research’ will be helpful to you and there are plenty of articles online to help.
Use good quality images only – if the images on your website are poor, it undermines your credibility and visitors will leave. Camera phone images are excellent these days and if you don’t feel confident to take your own images then there are a number of free stock image libraries available.
Regards the subject of your images, again it’s good advice to see what your competitors are doing. If your business is going to be reliant on local custom then show images of the area where you are based. Show your team, your products and anything that you think will Instill customer confidence in your business.
7. Video is great
YouTube is now the second biggest search engine behind Google – people prefer to watch rather than to read, so adding video to your website can be a big benefit in engaging and informing potential customers. Video is easily added to all our Pay Monthly websites so just ask email@example.com
8. Shock! Horror! People buy from people, not websites.
A good website will not necessarily explain all the details of all your products and services. A good business website imparts enough information to gain visitors interest and trust and therefore encourages contact. People buy from people and a good website will help you start that all-important dialogue. Make sure telephone numbers, email addresses and all your social media links are all clearly shown. A Google map section showing where your business is based will help instill customer confidence and ‘Live Chat’ functionality can be very useful to some businesses.
9. Blog, Blog, Blog.
Regular blog posts are a great way to tell potential customers about your business, the services you provide and any ongoing news, offers or sales. Your blogs can then be linked to your social media streams and help give you the content needed to keep your social media streams full of relevant and current content.
Importantly Google prefers websites that are active and are constantly updating content and new blogs of at least 300 words really help get your website up the Google search rankings. If Google can see your website is dynamic and new content is being added regularly and visitors are viewing that content, Google is more likely to list your business higher. If your competitor’s website content hasn’t changed for months then Google will likely list your business before theirs – and that is why businesses blog!
10. Play to your strengths
When starting a new business remember you don’t have to do everything yourself. Use friends and family to bounce ideas off and when it comes to your website we have done a lot of the hard work for you.
We host your business website for you, manage it, maintain it, keep it backed up and ensure that all security updates are done regularly. All you need to do is send us your written content and images, we even populate the site for you. Leaving you to concentrate on starting your new business knowing that your business website is built on solid foundations by branding and WordPress experts who can help you grow and keep costs down.
Meet the Instilled team.
Sue Fernandes is a highly experienced WordPress web developer, an expert within her field and a regular speaker at WordPress conferences and developer events. She is a specialist in custom-built sites, creating anything from simple brochure websites to sophisticated listings, membership and eCommerce web platforms.
Inness Mattinson has 20 years of business branding experience working as Creative Director for design and marketing agencies in London, Edinburgh and Manchester. He has been the creative lead for clients such as McDonald’s, The London Clinic, Historic Royal Palaces and Elsevier.