Websites are something that a lot of small businesses have trouble with, yet they are a vital tool in today's world. Customers expect you to have an online presence, but how do you know you're doing the job right? We answer these questions with five of the most important ways to avoid getting stuck with a crappy website.
Take the wheel and take control! - Websites aren't as much of an asset as they are a tool. You need to be able to have full control over your website in an easy and intuitive way. We all know the familiar dilemma of chasing around web designers to make changes, or to make improvements. It's a slow and inefficient process that stifles growth and leaves small business owners with an out-dated fiasco. If you don't have direct control over your website, you won't be able to meet your goals.
Tip: Learn about different content management systems. This is the engine that runs most websites, big and small.
You need the right tools for the job - Websites for most small businesses are often made using retro-fitted platforms designed for other purposes so costs can be lowered. There is very specific criteria for small business websites that are often ignored. You need a complete solution that offers full control, flexible support and scalability. You need a simple, but solid foundation that can grow with your business, with you at the wheel.
There's a good chance you'll pay too much - Most design firms will turn away anybody with a budget under $1k - $2k, and it's not their fault, it just doesn't make sense for their bottom line. Small businesses need to focus on finding a web design agency that offers a low cost solution which utilizes the correct tools and has a process that ensures the job gets done. Otherwise, you will still be charged a big corporate price for a small business website.
Tip: A small business website should be under $1.5k and include features like a mobile version, full support, a domain name and the ability to upgrade at anytime.
You need to find the right people - There are many agencies available for hire, but only a few specialize in what small businesses actually need. Most design firms aren't set up to build lower cost websites, so when they take a smaller project, it ends up being a hassle for both parties. Don't settle on your first consultation and keep looking for a design agency that you can trust and that understands your needs the best.
Tip: Share your ideas with local design agencies and hear their feedback and opinions. They love new ideas.
Realize your potential and utilize it! - Most business owners think their website somehow adds value to their business by simply existing. The real answer is if you aren't able to leverage the power of your online presence and manage it, you are wasting time and money. Like we said before, you need to have the correct tools and work with the right people to make this happen.
Tip: Stay informed with current trends online and take the time to learn how to control and use your website and it's tools.
In today's world where technology is always changing and the expectations of your customers are on the rise, it's sometimes hard for small businesses to keep up. Luckily there are many companies who realize this and are creating tools and services specifically for small business.
A few examples are SumAll an amazing services that tracks your online success, Square a brilliant way to accept credit card payments using your iPhone and Buffer a great tool to manage your social media profiles.
Things are changing for small business, and right now is the best time to get your brand online.