When I was out this morning for my morning walk I noticed that a small tyre repair business which I pass on my route had a nice new web address emblazoned on the side of the owner’s van.
I resolved to take a look at the site when I got home because I am a secret admirer of this little business and have seen it start in the rural area where I live in probably the most difficult economic climate since the foundation of the state.
Despite the difficulties of starting a business in Ireland today, I have seen this little business progress from a shed beside a rural bungalow to two sheds, new equipment and genuine progress and a growing customer base.
And I had decided that if he ever needed a website for his business..well perhaps he would consider my company. But it appeared I had missed the boat-someone else got in before me.
When I got home I fired up the computer and discovered that the web address had no website but the standard message from GoDaddy that the domain had been registered. I checked out the registered owner of the domain name and discovered it was registered to a UK web design company.
I then visited the website of this company and when I checked out their prices I was astonished and incredibly angry.
There is a screenshot below and you will see the prices for yourself-a 2 page website for Stg£499 for example and if you take a look at the “non inclusions” in this service you will see that this does not even include submission of the site to Google. There may well be other hidden extras (eg hosting) also.
Check out the price of a 10 page site-Stg£1,099 with NO Google submission.
I shudder to think what the overall cost of these packages would be with hidden extras included and this is for a 2 page website.
So I resolved to go directly to the owner and tell him that if he had not yet paid for a site he could save himself a lot of money and avoid being ripped off.
When I got chatting to him he told me that he had already paid them €200 and they had done nothing for him. And to add insult to injury they had registered the domain name, which is geographically specific to our small, rural parish in their own name, not in the name of the small business owner.
To make matters worse he had been inundated with phone calls from all sorts of boiler room operations attempting to sell him virus removal software and so forth. I suspect that his web design company had sold his email and contact details to similar boiler room, cold calling operations because he was receiving a spate of these calls in the last couple of weeks since divulging his details to the web design company.
We are now going to build a nice little website for him which meets the requirements of his business-it will be simple, basic and cost effective but exactly what he needs and wants at this point in time.
And he will have a .ie domain name with the exact phrase that he wants and needs for the domain name for his new site.
Seeing hard working, progressive small business owners being ripped off like this is difficult. Unfortunately many unscrupulous operations will take advantage of the ignorance and lack of knowledge of someone like this who understands the tyre repair business but who has no knowledge of internet marketing or websites.
To avoid this happening to you take your time, suss out the website designer/company and take the time to speak to them, check around for recommendations and previous work and don’t be taken for a ride by fast talking, high pressure cold callers.
Website design for small business owners should be about 3 things-
1) Growing traffic to your site
2) Converting that traffic into leads
3) Converting those leads into sales.
Web designers understand web design but very few understand the needs and requirements of small business owners who recognise the need for a website to promote their business and want to get on with what they do best-running their business.
So, here are 3 common mistakes we have seen in websites created for small businesses in Ireland.(See web design Dublin also)
1) Assuming the web designer knows your business
This erroneous assumption will have you going to a web designer who has an impressive looking portfolio and leave the creation of a website to him/her.
This can easily lead to a site that is as useful as tits on a bull.
2) Social media buttons
Social media is a new buzzword on the internet nowadays and sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and others have the potential to assist your business.
But not on your website.
When a visitor visits your site he/she should be encouraged to carry out the one action which is your desired outcome. This may be to purchase a product, sign up for a free sample, pick up the phone to call you, email you or make an enquiry of your business.
Nothing should get in the way or impede the visitor from the preferred outcome you desire and telling the visitor that you are on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or other sites is not what you want.
So, lose the buttons and let the visitor do what you need them to do, and don’t send them to another site for some online socializing.
3) Its not about you
We see many sites that have very lengthy biographies detailing the achievements of the directors and other company officers.
The visitor, when landing on your site, will want to know “whats in it for me?”
You need to communicate the benefit and value of doing business with your company pretty quickly.
And you won’t do this by telling them where you went to school or college 20 years ago and that you play bridge in your spare time when not going to church with your wife of 35 years and adorable kids.
Answer the visitors question, tell them pretty sharply what is in it for them, and convert your visitor into a lead or sale.
If you want a website that is a genuine asset to your business and will show you a serious and significant return on your investment in the medium to long haul.