The first tip for planning a small business website is – not to plan a business website! No confusion here – the key is to think slightly differently and build a website that would be one part of all your marketing and other strategies, all of which should work seamlessly together to present a single business entity to the world.
2. Plan before you act
The second tip is to be willing to take the time to carefully plan. Many folks simply want to rush in and get started, which is understandable - especially when there are free website builders, like SITE123, making it a fun thing to do.
Everybody likes to be creative, to mold something just as they want it to be (more of that in point three). They simply confuse activity with productivity. Start by asking yourself the questions that allow you to understand what the objective for your finished website should be and how these merge with those for your business as a whole.
3. Know your audience
The third tip is to create the website that your potential customers want to see and will be willing to use. Think of this: you would decorate your own home in a different way, and for a different purpose than you would your business premises. The first is to please you, the second to encourage customers.
Many people produce a website more akin to the first than the second of these alternatives! There is an old saying that “to walk in someone else’s shoes you must first take off your own”. In this way you become an outsider looking in, rather than that insider (with all your knowledge) looking out.
4. Test it out
The fourth of our five tips is to have your draft website inspected by strangers. These can be customers whose opinion you value (and will appreciate being asked), business contacts (obviously not competitors) and friends who you know will give you an unvarnished version of the truth.
Involve your staff as well – it will become a key part of the way they interact with customers.
5. Keep it alive
The final tip moves much further down the line. Your website is up-and-running – so job is done. Except it isn’t. Too many small business websites appear to be a one-time snapshot rather than a moving picture.
They quickly, and very obviously, become outdated, untended and unloved – three outcomes that will rarely encourage any potential customer to enter into business with you. Look for ways to keep your content fresh, and not simply by adding new products or offers, important as these activities are.
Add a blog, it’s a terrific way to encourage regular visits to your site. Link your website to social media sites and let people hear from you.
Overall, therefore, as you plan to build your own website, look beyond your own thoughts, outside your immediate business and its people, and design a site for your public audience to view and use. At the same time, SITE123 will make sure that your online presence is easily manageable, stunningly attractive and seamlessly adapted to any device and web browser.