5 key ingredients for a website

What makes a website?

 

Your website is your virtual shop window whether you have an online store that sells products or services. It is where people will come to find out about you, what you do but most importantly how you can help them. How are you going to solve their challenge?

Think about it we make decisions on what we see, feel and read so you want to make sure your website is going to convert and for that you need to know what your websites goals are. Once you know this you’ll know how to make it work to achieve those goals.

 

1. What do you want your website to do?

It may sound obvious but actually a lot of people when they get started don’t think about what they want their website to do. Primarily it’s to make money – it’s to sell, we want to sell stuff to people. So you need to think about your goal priorities and then work on how your website will support those. 

For example – selling is our number one, so it’s really important that we have a user friendly shop function (if a store) or our services and how to book those are really clear (if a VA, marketer, coach). 

Next you might to focus on brand awareness and getting your expertise out there so you’ll need a blog function so you can regularly share your genius with your audience. 

 

2. Visibility

Your website NEEDS to get found. You need to drive visitors to your website to not only increase your brand awareness but also to build authority for your website and of course make those sales we were talking about above. 

As a small business owner you can make sure your website is visible by using SEO to optimise your website and your content for search engines. 

 

3. User experience

As more and more of us are online that we make sure our websites are user-friendly and create a fantastic user experience. This means that we need to be testing, testing , testing to make sure we have no speed issues, mobile issues and that every click and link takes them to where they need to go. 

Did you know that how quickly your website loads affect this experience? 

A 1 second delay decreases customer satisfaction by 16%*

It’s huge isn’t it and if they aren’t satisfied they’re just going to leave your site altogether. 

 

4. Building trust

Because of the nature of online shopping and purchasing these days as consumers we need trust with the people we are buying from and the sites we are using. This trust comes in the form of how customer service is handled, how the brand or business conducts themselves and also how their website looks and feels. 

If you could to a website and see a really bad photo, or poorly worded paragraphs are you likely to think “yes, this is the business for me!” or are you likely to hit close and go back to Google?

Probably the later. This is why it’s so important that you cover all the bases of trust for your website. A freshly presented, nicely worded, user optimised experience builds trust. 

Also don’t forget about security too and having your website secure, especially if you are processing any payment details. You will need your website to be https by law, but also this applies to any website as Google now favour secure sites showing https over http. If you need to change this over speak to your domain providers and hosting companies and they can help with this. 

Another factor of trust, especially in the area of data at the moment, is your Terms and Conditions, Cookie Policy and Privacy Policy. You need to be transparent with how you are handling people’s data when they visit your website. I would recommend speaking to a professional about this to ensure you are covered. I know the perfect person too – Ingrid from Dec + Dash is a small business lawyer. Definitely speak to her. 

 

5. Think future

You want a website that can grow as your business grows, so you need to think about long term. How will your website scale with you? This is really important when you first start looking at platforms. I know a lot of small business owners will focus on price when getting started but actually you need to think about functions and whether your website is going to do what you need it to do today and in the future. For a guide on what to think about when starting with a website read this blog here

I hope that’s helped give you some things to think about when it comes to your website. 

 

 

*Statistic from article by Hosting Tribunal 

Websites: Where Do I Start

When starting a business there are so many things to consider and one of the biggest things is a website. With more and more people using the internet to find products and services a website is an integral part in order for your business to be found online.

I can appreciate that even thinking about a website can be overwhelming. Where do you start? What platform do you use? Well this post is all about helping you do just that, get started and I mean from the very beginning.

Platforms

Due to the boom over the last 10 years of entrepreneurs starting their own businesses there are now plenty of platforms on the market to help you create your website. However, which ones make the reward chart and which go in the Raggy dolls reject bin?

It’s important to shop around when it comes to platforms and really think long and hard about your decision. I’ll be doing a platform comparison post later in year to break down each of the market leaders for you, but for now think about the following:

Price

How much do they cost overall? Starting up means budgets can be limited however investing in your business and your website will pay dividends going forward. Also think about costs long term. Some platforms charge a monthly fee so you are looking at long term costs for your website, rather than a one off payment.

Features

What sort of features do you want? Do you need a shop where you can take payments or do you offer services and need just a few pages. Perhaps you’d like to give your customers some added value content (always advisable) and have a blog. Make a list of all the features you’d like so that when you are looking at platforms you can use your tick sheet.

Ease of use

For example you might need something that you can completely do yourself because you have the time and want to learn. Alternatively you could be in a time poor position where actually you’d prefer someone to get everything created for you. If going down the first route you want something that is easy to use, clear features and no complications.

Innovative design

Platforms that offer you an off the shelf solution where you can choose a template can be really handy however, keep in mind that there are going to be thousands of other businesses that also will choose this template and so you want to be able to make your business unique to you and that does go beyond changing colours and images.

Technical issues

It may seem weird to think about these in the beginning but it’s always good to look ahead. Some platform that use templates will have updates and this can often cause issues for your site, make sure you’re aware of potential problems before spending hours designing, you do not want downtime or have to repeat work. Also investigate their support network, if something does go wrong who can you turn to?

Packages

What do the packages include? Usually with some platforms you’ll find package options that means you’ll get certain features if you spend slightly more on the monthly cost.  Make sure you have a look at the breakdowns and understand what you’re getting.

The best thing to do is have a look at everything, don’t just rush in, think about what you really want from your site, think long term not necessarily short term and a quick win. This is a big investment in your business, no matter what platform or route you choose so make sure you give it the time it deserves.