Answer: Almost the very first impression consumers have of you, and your business is through the portals of your website. In the past, the Yellow Pages served that function, but today, if you need a painter, landscaper, carpet cleaner or electrician all you need to do is “Google” it, and you find a connection to a variety of website for suppliers in your vicinity. However, there are many misconceptions that need to be corrected so that you drive traffic to your business vs. steering them away. Whether it be the appearance, content or strategy for your website you will need to address these common misconceptions:
It is easy, right? – The only simple part of developing a web presence is the time and resources needed to obtain a domain name (GoDaddy). Countless hours are required before, during and after in the site’s creation and maintenance. A good website is needed to communicate your brand’s values.
I don’t need to be mobile responsive. Many small business owners believe that you don’t have to be mobile responsive at the beginning of the site’s life. That is wrong. Most people head straight for their smartphones and tablets to find the websites for the services they need.
What I like is what my users will like. Wrong. The most important element in web design whether it be color, layout, font choice or content is that it appeals to users and will attract and keep them on the site. It must communicate your brand in terms that relate to potential users, so they buy into your unique selling position.
I don’t need to worry about SEO until after the site is built. Your total social media strategy is one part website and many parts other applications. SEO starts before your site is constructed by doing a keyword search, during the construction by using keywords on all your content development and post launch to get website ranking on the various search engines.
The bigger, the better. Having oversized logos and supersized images is no replacement for a well thought out, professionally designed site that is easy to navigate and keeps site visitors interested in your offerings by moving from page to page, then taking the action you planned.
Contact info belongs on the “contact us” page. Your goal is to get potential buyers to contact you. Your contact information needs to be on every page starting with the home page. It needs to visible, yet subtle.
Website development is a one-time charge. False. You have to keep your site updated and changed regularly with content additions, blogs and new offerings, images, and messages. It becomes a marketing line item albeit much less of an investment over time than the construction phase.
Pulling images off the internet is OK. It is not! Images have licensing obligations and not paying for their use could result in huge fines. Investigate the terms of usage of all images you pull off the internet. Some are FREE others are not.
I can use content from the internet. Just like images, content is protected by copyright laws. Get permission before using published content on your site.
One final thought, get professional help. Feel free to roll the dice and do-it-yourself, but if you want an effective online presence to contact a professional web designer to construct your site, perform SEO services and give you feedback regularly on the work you do to maintain it.
To find a mentor to assist you in managing your business contact SCORE at (508)775-4884 or http://www.capecod.score.org/