If you are a small business owner and have been considering getting a website for your business you should take the 5 minutes it takes to read this page.
Because it will be well worth your while.
You may be a doctor, a hairdresser, a beauty salon owner, a car dismantler, a tyre replacement business, involved in waste disposal, a carpenter or plumber, a florist, involved in ladies fashions, a barber, in construction or a tradesman, a dog groomer, vet, accountant, architect, butcher…it really doesn’t matter what business you are involved in.
Or maybe you don’t have an existing business but you are thinking about starting up in 2013..
One of the things that might hold you back from having a website is that you may be thinking..
…“I am not technical minded”, “I don’t know anything about that whole interweb thing”, “I haven’t a clue about social networks”, “I am afraid of being ripped off”, “I don’t know where to start”, “I don’t know what I need”, “I don’t know what a search engine is”.
These fears are entirely understandable. But Web Design Dublin can help you because we were in your shoes too once and understand your concerns all too well. You see, there are web designers who are “tech people” who are turned on by graphic design, coding, html, css, and so on.
And there are web designers who are small business owners like you and are only really concerned with what a website can do for you in terms of growing your business. We are in this camp.
More importantly we address each and every one of your worries at the outset when you enquire about having us build a website for your business.
How? Firstly we communicate clearly and openly with you every step of the way so that we learn and both understand what is right for your business
No two businesses are the same and no two websites should be the same either.
Once we learn enough about you and your business and what you want from your website, how much you want to spend, how many pages you need, whether you want social media accounts connected, whether you want video or images, contact forms inserted, then and only then do we proceed to build your site.
But at no stage will you not know what is going on, what the goal is, and how much it will cost.
Let me explain some benefits of having a website for your business, no matter how small it might be today…you might even be a one man or woman operation. It doesn’t really matter because you can still get the same benefits as a much bigger operation.
Even if there are not huge search numbers searching on the internet for your business or service there are still many great reasons why your business should have a website. Here are twenty of the most compelling benefits of a website..even in circumstances where you feel that it is pointless for your business as it would appear on the surface that there would not be enough potential visitors.
1. Lifetime value of one customer
Assume for one moment that your business is in a pretty small Irish town and you discover that there are very few people in your area searching for what your business has to offer. For example “accountants Mullingar”, according to the Google keyword tool, is only searched 12 times per month in Ireland. You may assume that there is no point therefore having a website for your accountants business located in Mullingar or, if you already have one, ranking near the top of the search engine results page for that phrase.
But of course the lifetime value of one new client per month could be quite significant over the course of that client’s lifetime and the lifetime of your accountant’s practice.
2. Being the top dog in your local market
When someone does search for “accountants Mullingar” do you want to be top dog or are you happy to let your competitor snap up that business. So even though the market may be relatively small in search engine terms it would be the height of folly to leave your competitor have the field to him/herself.
3. Web address on your stationery
People who might consider doing business with you expect you to have a website-having a web address on all your correspondence, business cards, direct marketing materials, advertising, and so on will give your business a much more professional corporate image.
4. Somewhere to refer your advertising traffic
Advertising is expensive and advertising in local newspapers or magazines is charged by the word and space; with a website you can run economical small ads and refer readers to your website where space is unlimited and you can tell your potential customers what you wish.
5. Works around the clock for your business
A website will not need to be paid like an employee even though it works around the clock for you. You will never need to worry about holiday pay, sick pay, maternity pay, hangovers on a Monday morning, or any of the other problems that arise from time to time with humans.
6. Demonstrating and explaining products
A website gives you a great opportunity to demonstrate and explain your products and/or services. You can do this by text, video, audio, PowerPoint, or whatever you choose.
7. Contact details
All your contact details are always available.
You can utilize video to market yourself or your business, carry out demonstrations, educate, entertain..try doing that with the Westmeath Examiner.
You can use unlimited amounts of images. A hairdresser’s business can be greatly enhanced with plenty of photos showing examples of the various cuts and hair treatments you provide. And a picture can replace a thousand words..
10. List building for newsletter
You can build a list of subscribers and let them know of special offers, build a relationship with them and always ensure that your business is in the forefront of their mind when they do decide to purchase.
11. Automated Appointment booking
You could set up an automated appointment making system for people seeking suitable times for whatever treatment/consultation they require.
12. Restricted area for employees
You can create a restricted area, a forum for example, for your employees on the ground to exchange ideas and information.
13. Customer queries
You can encourage and answer customer/potential customer queries and questions.
14. Frequently asked questions
A comprehensive frequently asked questions section on your website can be very helpful in assisting potential and existing customers..and saving valuable staff time in answering the most common ones by phone or email.
15. Reassurance for the customer after purchase-no buyer’s remorse
Many buyers suffer from “buyer’s remorse”; if your new customer is having second thoughts about their purchase or your business a good, professional website to which they can refer can be reassuring.
16. Tell people about you, your business, and your employees
Your site can let people know more about you, your expertise, your business, and your employees. And you are in complete control of this valuable information which will be available around the clock.
17. Special offers only available online
Your website will allow you to make certain special offers available online only. This can be a great way to also generate new subscribers for your newsletter. (Your newsletter by the way can be delivered electronically or physically or both ways)
18. Shopping cart
Setting up a shopping cart on a website is very easy nowadays with many secure payment options allowing you to grow your market and reduce the need to carry physical stock.
19. Crappy reviews on first page of Google
You lessen the chances of a crappy review from a dissatisfied customer ranking no. 1 in the search results when your business is searched for. Without a website there is a strong chance of this happening when the searcher looks for your business. With a website telling allowing you to put your best foot forward the chances of your site ranking above the poor review is much, much higher.
20. Product brochure
Your website can also serve as a comprehensive product brochure for all your business’s products and services. This can easily be added to over time by your own secretarial and/or receptionist staff in less quieter periods.
21. Professional appearance
No matter how small you business might be right now your potential new clients or leads will fully expect you to have a website. It gives reassurance to your customer/lead and demonstrates that they are dealing with a professional.
What sort of message do you give your leads when looking to generate new customers and you have not invested in a website for your business? Would this be a turn off for your potential customers? I fear so.
Having a Facebook page is fine but everyone knows that anyone can set up a Facebook page for free and you need to consider whether this is going through your leads mind when you are speaking to them.
Don’t misunderstand me: having a website is not a silver bullet. It won’t solve all your problems and it will not give your business all the drive and impetus it needs. That is up to you..
But in 2013 it is an essential for any business that wants to be taken seriously and be seen as a business on the move, a business that is professional and serious about it’s approach to serving it’s customers.
If you were “on the fence” about getting a website for your business when you started reading this you may be thinking “yes, we must get one in 2013″. The danger though is that you will put it on the long finger again and put it on the back burner.
This is a mistake. The sooner you get started the sooner you will see your site indexed and ranked in the search engines and begin to enjoy the benefits I spoke about above.
To get started now simply use the Contact Us form and we will be in touch within 12 hours…guaranteed.
The price of a website? Until we communicate with you we cannot give you a price because it will depend on your business and your needs…but you will be pleasantly surprised.
Testimonials: see what others have to say about Web Design Dublin.
Filed under Web Design Ireland
This episode looks at the major problem facing most small business websites-lack of traffic and why this occurs regularly.
Filed under Videocast (Videos Podcast)
There are a multitude of reasons why many websites of small businesses are not working. Here are the top 5:
There are two aspects to this cause of website failure-one is insufficient content or information on the site. You simply cannot rank well for search phrases or topics that do not appear in your website’s content.
The second element is a failure to optimise what content is there for the search engines to ensure the best chance of ranking well. This is on page search engine optimisation which is a fancy way of describing some basic rules for presenting your content well for the search engines to help with good rankings.
2. Poor or nonexistent call to action
Lots of sites make it hard for visitors to make contact or make an enquiry or provide limited options to do so.
Some people are happier emailing for more information, some people like to pick up the telephone-you need to make it incredibly easy for your visitors to contact you in whatever form they like and respond quickly to their question.
3. Failure to promote your site effectively
Unfortunately the notion of “build it and they will come” will not work-you need to promote your content and your site.
And promoting it does not amount to exhorting people to “check out my latest blog”-you need a little more imagination than that.
You need to give people a reason to read what you have written and published and answer the question of “what’s in it for me” which the reader is asking. There are far too many competing distractions on the internet for a boring, bland request to “check out my latest blog” to have any real effectiveness.
4. Cluttered and busy site design
Many sites are simply too crowded and cluttered to ensure effective outcomes from visitors-you should have one or two preferred actions that you want your website traffic to take. And you then need to make it incredibly simple and glaringly obvious to the visitor as to what they need to do next.
5. Content-failing to cater for what people are actually searching for
Yes, back to content again.
Because website content is the single biggest problem for most small business websites and this aspect of the problem is the failure to target the specific words and phrases that people in your market are actually searching for.
This failure is inexcusable if you are keen to increase your search engine traffic because this data is
- Provided to you by Google and
- Free. (See the Google keyword tool)
The Google Keyword tool gives you priceless data as to what people are searching for in any market and it doesn’t cost a cent. Failing to use this data and build your site around what people in your market are actually searching for is a huge mistake.
Because if you are not doing it you can be sure that some of your competitors are and in the process are catering for the needs and problems of searchers in your industry.
Filed under Online Marketing Ireland
For any small business website there are a number of critically important factors that need to be spot on to convey the right message for your business and company.
Here are 9 such factors:
1. Curb appeal
2. Your content
3. Your navigation
4. Consistent topic
5. Keep it simple
6. Search engine friendliness
7. Build trust with visitors
8. Have compelling calls to action
9. Keep your visitors on your site
1. Curb appeal
When you are in a strange place, perhaps traveling abroad or somewhere unfamiliar, and are looking for somewhere nice to eat or have a coffee your decision will be greatly influenced by the appearance of the different coffee shops and restaurants.
Your new visitor to your website is in a similar situation when surfing online so make sure that when they land on your site that they are reassured by the appearance and “curb appeal” of your site. People DO judge the book by the cover and you need to make sure that the look and feel of your site conveys the right message and reassures the visitor that they are in the right place.
2. Your content
The content on your site should be comprehensive and answer the visitors’ question as to how you can help them, who you help and why they should trust your business and do business with you.
Most people are searching the internet for a purpose and more often than not they are seeking to solve a problem they have. Your website needs to give them relevant and accurate information to help them solve their problem and your content can demonstrate your expertise, build trust and reassure the visitor that doing business with your company will satisfy their needs.
Your site navigation should be clear and make it easy to get around your site and find what they are looking for. Most sites have good navigation on their home page but once the visitor goes deep into your site the navigation can fall down so make sure that your navigation on secondary pages makes life easy for your visitor.
You can also enhance this with relevant internal linking in your content which will kill 2 birds with one stone-make it easy for visitors and help to spread link juice for targeted keywords around your site.
Keep the topic of your site consistent. If you have personal views on politics, sport or any other interests your business website is really not the place to vent.
So stay on message.
5. Keep your site simple (but deceptively comprehensive)
Avoid the latest design fads and gadgets-keep your site simple and easy for your visitor and search engine robots to find their way around and find what they are looking for.
You could spend a lot of wasted time redesigning your site every 6/12 months with the latest technological design breakthrough. This time would be better spent adding great content and answering the visitors’ question “what’s in it for me?”
6. Search engine friendly
As well as your visitors you need to think about the search engines in order to rank well in the SERPS (search engine results pages) and ensuring that search engine robots can easily crawl your site is essential. This reiterates the need for good simple, functional design.
7. Built trust with visitors
If a visitor is to buy from your business they will firstly have to trust it-your website offers you a great opportunity to build trust with your visitor.
You can do this by providing them with answers to their questions in great content which is regularly updated and demonstrating your expertise in your area of activity.
8. Compelling calls to action
You need to make your calls to action easy to execute and compelling. Examples would include “call now for a quotation” or “sign up here for your free report”.
9. Keep your visitors on site
Keeping your visitors on site is critical. If you are running a restaurant or any retail outlet for example you are not going to send your visitors down the street to buy their dessert or coffee so don’t do it with your website.
A prime example of an easy way to send visitors away from your site is YouTube videos-when someone watches a YouTube video they are invited by YouTube to watch related videos which takes your hard earned visitor away from your site.
By all means have video on your site-but on your terms. You can host your videos on your own Amazon S3 account for cents per month and you will not be leaking visitors and traffic.
In summary, getting traffic is getting more difficult. When you do attract visitors to your site follow the 9 steps above and increase exponentially your chances of return visits and increased engagement and sales.
The Google Adwords advertising programme can seem like an excellent way for your business to tap into search traffic on the internet.
But it has one significant drawback-cost. Initially, if you are paying small money per click it may seem like pennies to you and money well spent for your business.
However it can quickly mount up to a significant ongoing expenditure for your business and depending on your industry the cost per click can get very pricey and there have been many advertisers who have found that you need very deep pockets to continue running advertising campaigns with Google Adwords.
Whilst it is true that there are ways and means to minimize your spend you are still very much at the mercy of what other advertisers are bidding on the search phrases you want for your business.
Take a look at the graphic below from the Google Keywords tool and you will see that for locksmiths for example, the average cost per click is very, very tasty and could see your locksmith business burning cash fast.
(Click on the graphic above to enlarge)
There is an alternative though and if you take a look at the second graphic below you will see what the simple, cost effective solution is. It is simply that your small business website ranks well organically or naturally in the search results.
This graphic shows you a number of advertisers on the right hand side and top of the page who are paying to be in those positions.
(Click on the image to enlarge)
On the other hand the natural search results listings that you see are on this page (because Google deems these sites to be the best fit for the searchers query, “locksmiths”) are there for free and are getting their fair share of searchers who are looking for..”locksmiths”. If you are a locksmith then these are the type of searchers that you want finding your website.
Small business marketing
As a small business owner you should be rightly concerned about your advertising/marketing spend and it is pretty clear that advertising with Google Adwords to be on page 1 or 2 of the search results (SERPS) will quickly mount up to a nice chunk of change over, say, 12 months.
It is equally obvious that if you had a well built, well structured, content rich website with good, solid seo (search engine optimisation) you will rank well for a whole host of search phrases that your target market is using to find businesses like yours.
Capital investment v ongoing expense/overhead
The choice between these two courses of action, having a good website or giving money to Google Adwords, is a choice between a smart capital investment in your business or a commitment to ongoing expenditure which will require ongoing monitoring and maintenance to simply manage your Adwords campaigns and minimize your spend.
It really isn’t much of a decision, is it? (Google Adwords can have a role to play in your business marketing but sacrificing good search results rankings and relying on Adwords solely with a small business website that can’t be found isn’t too clever)
If you want your website to convert your traffic into new customers/clients for your business you will need to take special care with the two most important pages on your website.
It will probably come as no surprise that the most important page on your site is your homepage-this is the page that will receive most traffic from the search engines and from where visitors will navigate to other sections on your site.
However many people are surprised to learn that the second most important page on your site is often overlooked when you are trying to build a site that will be a TRUE asset for your small business.
2nd most important page
You may be surprised to learn that the second most important page on your site is your About/About Us page.
The reason for this is simple-if a visitor is sufficiently impressed with what your business has to offer and is seriously considering engaging your services or reaching for their credit card to purchase goods or services from your business they invariably navigate to your About page to satisfy themselves that they have made the right decision.
They are looking for reassurance and your About page is an opportunity for you to confirm that they have made the right decision, won’t regret it and to cement trust with your new customer.
For this reason your About Us page should do a little more than tell your visitors who you help and how you help them..although it should certainly do this. This page should also demonstrate your expertise, credentials, training and convince your visitor that, yes, it is a good decision to go ahead and use that credit card or make that call.
So many About Us pages on small business websites are
- Appear to be an afterthought
And critically fail to reassure the visitor that they have made the right decision in doing business with you.
Three steps to fix your About page
I would strongly advise that you do three things in relation to your About page-
1. Make it reachable with one click from everywhere on your site (you can do this by having it in your primary navigation menu for your site);
2. Use your About page to persuade readers why they should do business with YOUR business by giving some information about your expertise and qualifications and most of all..why they should trust you and your business.
3. Use a picture of you or some person-give your business a human face as you have a much better chance of overcoming the “trust” barrier that is your biggest barrier to sales online.
Don’t make the mistake of underestimating the importance of your About page on your website.
If you are a small business owner and are unsure of how to market your existing business online the 5 point plan below will tell you exactly what you need to know.
Step 1-You Must have Website
So many people nowadays search online for whatever they are looking for rather than the traditional route of using the phone book or Golden Pages.
So if someone is searching for a supplier of office furniture in Dublin or looking for an insurance quote they are likely to use search terms such as “office furniture Dublin/Dublin office furniture” or “Dublin insurance brokers/insurance broker Dublin.”
Therefore you need your website to rank well or come up high in the search results for search terms or phrases relevant to your business. Clearly this is just common sense and there is an undue amount of fog and misinformation surrounding this issue.
Step 2-Your Website Must Rank Well for Relevant Search Terms
As stated above you will want your site to be presented as high up in the search results as possible.
Step 3-A Clear Call to Action
Once the visitor reaches your site there should be a clear call to action (cta) which might be asking the visitor to call you for a quotation or using the “contact us” form to ask for further information.
This call to action, your preferred outcome for each visitor to your website, should be in a prominent position on each page of your site and you should make it as easy as possible for visitors to reach you.
Step 4-Professional Appearance
One of the biggest obstacles to doing business online successfully is the lack of trust between the potential new customer/client and your business.
The gap in trust can be breached by ensuring that your site has a professional look and feel. You can do this by ensuring that your site contains plenty of relevant, helpful information which your potential new client is looking for.
This is what creates trust in the mind of the visitor.
All of these issues will be dealt with professionally and well by a good website creator who knows and understands the business of marketing online.
The most difficult part of this 4 point plan is getting your site ranking well for the best search terms for your business.
There are two ways to solve the problem of ranking well in the search engines (the most difficult part of having a website which is an asset for your business, not a worthless expense).
1) Choose a website builder/designer who can show you demonstrable evidence of an ability to get sites ranking well for targeted search terms and who can do the same for your business or
2) Buy an existing site which is already ranking well in the search engines and which is suitable for your business.
Take a look at these small business websites for sale and see if they are a good fit for your business.
The bad news is that traditional advertising is expensive and decreasing in effectiveness. Advertising on television was the preserve of big business.
The good news is that now any small business can start it’s own YouTube channel.
Take a look at www.willitblend.com, a website which cost around $1,000 to start and which has seen the ceo of Blendtec, a blender manufacturer in the U.S., blend iphones, ipads, crowbars, running shoes, timber, cameras, and anything else you can think of.
Sales of the company’s blenders increased by 700% and people actually buy dvds of the videos which have been viral video sensations for years. Blendtec’s YouTube channel has over 400,000 subscribers and nearly 200,000,000 views.
And all this started because the ceo, Tom Dickson, noticed that any time he tested a new blender in the factory by putting strange stuff into it (like timber) the people in the factory would stop what they were doing to watch.
The bad news is that not too long ago, the cost of creating, publishing, and distributing a newsletter prevented most small businesses from doing so.
The good news is that now, any business can start a blog within minutes and publish and distribute all the content they wish to new subscribers or existing customers.
Take a look at blogs.indium.com. Indium Corporation is an American corporation which sells soldering materials.
It has no less than 73 blogs targeting the keywords that the marketing communication director identified as important to the company.
He reports that the contact rate from potential customers has increased by 600%.
5 Reasons Why Your Business Needs a Blog/Website
Most, if not all, small businesses would benefit greatly from having a simple website. But many small business owners, sole traders and partnerships are losing out badly because they have not yet embraced the opportunities presented by a presence on the internet.
5 great reasons for ensuring that you don’t miss out include:
1. Silent salesman
Your business website, no matter how large or small, can act as your silent salesman when your business is closed and there is nobody to answer the phones.
Your website works on behalf of your business around the clock every day of the year and is accessible to a world wide audience. And the best part is that you don’t have to pay it a salary and don’t have to worry about sick leave, maternity leave or any of the other problems associated with being an employer.
2. Attract new leads and sales
Your website, if set up and structured properly targeting the key phrases relevant to your business, can attract new leads and ultimately sales to enhance your profits. Provided your site, and it may only be a one page site, communicates your product or service clearly in an easy to understand fashion you will generate new leads and potential customers to your service and/or products.
3. Brand creation and awareness
Your website can play a huge role in the creation or enhancement of your business brand and combined with social network sites such as Twitter and Facebook, you can reach a whole new audience that you simply can not reach through conventional marketing or advertising.
4. Autoresponder marketing
Your site also offers a great way for you to communicate with your existing customers and leads. A good autoresponer series will allow you to build a relationship with your visitors.
We all know that we are far more likely to buy from somebody with whom we have relationship and who we know. Your site will allow you to develop relationships with people and other businesses that you never new existed.
5. Return on your marketing investment
The return on your small investment in creating or having a website built will provide a very generous return on your investment compared to any other form of promotion or marketing you will engage in.
Remember that when people are looking for stuff now they are far more likely to “Google it” than reach for the phone book.
A YouTube channel and/or a blog/website are only two ways you can sidestep the prohibitive cost of traditional advertising and it’s associated thinking.
Other ways of promoting your business include
- social media marketing
- search engine marketing
- pay per click marketing.
The key is to approach the marketing of your small business with an open mind and free of the constraints which you may have faced as recently as 5 years ago.
Welcome to Web Design Dublin where you can order your great value website to promote your business, school, community group, sports club or whatever organization you wish to establish a web presence for.
Whether you are seeking to establish a web presence or improve your existing one, you recognize that today you are seriously selling your business or group short without a web presence.
Nowadays most people, when looking for an electrician, plumber, hairdresser, gym etc. will not reach for the telephone book or Golden Pages.
They will “Google it”.
And if you are not there, on the web, you can be sure your competitors are.
Small business websites
Running a small business is difficult in these difficult economic times but it is even more difficult if you are not actively involved on the internet with a professional website that tells your story.
Your story might be any sphere of activity from supplying a service to selling goods to running a community group or sporting club. But your story will never be heard to it’s fullest extent if you turn your back on the internet.
As a sole trader or trades person you may only need a one or three page site. But a well designed site can act as your silent salesman as it never sleeps and is always telling your story, your service, your products to a world wide audience.
The image of your business is significantly enhanced in your company business cards, headed notepaper, invoices, statements by the presence of your website address.
And it need not cost a fortune because we at Web Design Dublin understand that the primary question you should be asking when it comes to making a decision about building a website for your business is “whats in it for me?”.
We tailor our advice to your needs, your business, your budget.
To learn more and to get a FREE email consultation and quotation just use the Contact form at the top of this page and we promise to get back to you within 24 hours.