Getting off the ground as a small business is tough. And one of the first things you might think of doing is setting up a new website. But what should it look like and what do you want it to do?
There are plenty of cheap solutions offering low cost ways of getting online and when cash is tight these seem pretty tempting. But a good web developer can make all the difference by building you a professional looking site that will grow with your business. Don’t forget that your website represents your brand and your business to the outside world, so it needs to live up to the service or products you are offering.
Before you launch in and end up with something that is already out of date think about these three ways to make your website work for you as an effective marketing tool.
1. You need an email opt-in
In order for your website to be effective you need people to visit it, regularly, and however much people intend to return, they are all busy and they’ll probably forget. So have an email sign up form that you can use to gather people’s contact details. You’ll probably need to offer them something pretty juicy to get them to part with their email, like a discount voucher, or a downloadable product like an e-book.
2. You need to update your site regularly.
A key factor in determining your Google rankings is how often your site is updated and the size of the site. And we’re not talking displaying site visitor numbers here. Google has the best IT guys in the world working on it’s search algorithms and they are pretty good at working out when you’ve posted something useful and when you’ve just tweaked a page to make it slightly different. Make sure you’ve got the ability to regularly post useful new content to the site – the name of the game is what will your potential customers WANT to read? And that is probably not going to be very sales oriented blurb about your latest product.
3. You need to work the social media channels.
Social proof, meaning evidence of interest in your content on Twitter, Google+, Linked In and Facebook is another key factor in getting noticed in the search engines. So make sure your new website includes social sharing buttons, feeds from your own social media and ways for your visitors to interact, such as a comment facility. If someone is interested enough in your content that they comment or share it, then that sends a massive signal to Google that it could be worth reading.