A Business without a Website is like a Shop without a Window
by Ralph Hilsdon, Web-Clubs
Posted on 19 September 2016
A bold statement, but one that is very true as it is claimed that 80% of business to business sales were preceded by research online. Most businesses undertake some form of lead generation whether traditional or digital, these now invariably lead to a website. Put simply if you’re not to be found on-line, you are restricting the potential of your business.
According to a survey by GoDaddy in 2015, 60 percent of businesses with five employees or less simply aren’t moving forward in this digital era. And, if you thought this statistic was bad, sorry there is more bad news to come! Over 80% of websites in use are not fully mobile responsive, which is pretty serious as over 50% of browsing is now done on mobile devices. I can go on about the issues of out of date websites, ones with broken links and those so unattractive that they are more effective in sales prevention than sales generation, but I think I’ve said enough so I’ll stop here.
A modern fully functional mobile responsive website is an essential business requirement whatever type of business you run. For many small businesses, all that is required to get started is a brochure style website with around five to ten pages. With typical pricing in the region of £500-£1,000, the cost compares favourably against other essential business assets such as vehicles, offices and computers. And, importantly it can be easily scaled up, edited and adapted as your business grows or changes direction.
Having decided that a website is required, or an old one needs to be replaced, the next important task is to gather the content. Although there are no hard and fast rules, most brochure style websites follow a fairly similar framework which will be familiar to what users expect, so it’s wise to follow it.
This is your main shop window, it needs to quickly grab attention (usually with something visual), but also to say enough to encourage them to explore further.
This is where you explain who you are, what you can do, why you should be chosen. This is where you build credibility, demonstrate your expertise and demonstrate what makes you different, often underestimated, this is a very important page.
Products and Services
One or more pages, describing in more detail the products and/or services that you offer. Ideally information should be presented in a structured fashion, this is particularly important with technology.
Portfolio, Examples and Galleries
Again one or more pages. The purpose here is to build confidence possibly with third party help, it can be a testimonial page, a gallery of work done, or it may emphasise support.
Often neglected, but actually among the most visited, it needs to clearly give information on how to get in contact and where you are located.
We live in a visual world, good quality logos, photographs and diagrams are expected at the very least. If a video or an animation can help to explain what you do, then it should be considered, prices of professional productions have dramatically fallen.
Writing good copy is not a gift we all have, professional copywriting services are readily available, but if budgets are restricted, here are a few tips to follow;
- Keep sentences short
- Group related data together in paragraphs
- Include sub-headings
- Use bullet points instead of trying to link sentences
As with many business services there is a choice of suppliers. The lowest cost providers often outsource the work to developing countries. They are unlikely to guide you on the structure, the content and the design aspects of your website. What you provide is what you get!
Dealing with a company with marketing experience will result in a website which is more individual to your business and a more effective marketing tool. They will take the time to understand your business and the profile of your customers. This research enables them to advise you on the preferred structure, the design aspects, the content and on the best methods to drive traffic to it.
Most businesses experience peaks and troughs in activity. As all campaigns take time to deliver results, if you wait until you are in trough to advertise, you are too late. It’s wise to carefully monitor forward order activity and if a slowdown is evident take action early. This also allows some more time for careful planning. Before considering any form of promotion, there are two absolute essential pieces of information needed: Details of the product or service you need to sell and who is likely to require it. Later in the discussion with agencies, you will need a third factor, your budget.
Choosing the right partner
We tend to be creatures of habit, going to the same restaurants, shops and agencies. If they deliver the results you want, then OK, but it’s also possible that by shopping around, you could get a better deal or a new, more successful marketing angle. Crucially whoever you talk to should take the time to understand your business, your needs and your aims. If they question your strategy and plans, that is a good sign, it shows they have learnt something about you.
Spread your risks
Putting all your eggs in one basket is risky. Be wary of anyone that does not give you options. A good approach is to test several tools in parallel with modest budgets before making a large commitment.
Chiltern Silicon Valley
The companies within CSV have teamed up so we can offer the full range of digital marketing services, this way we can advise you on the right tools to use without bias. Whether you are targeting just locally, a single vertical market or something wider, we can help.