You want a business website too? 5 things to think of!
So you need a website huh? These days, every person thinking of business is also thinking of getting a website for it. In many cases, it is because they hear people talking about how great websites are, and they feel they need one too. Its all good, just be sure that you know what you are getting your head into and you are aware of how websites function. Here is a good read to start with.
1. Think…do you need a website or not?
This is probably the biggest test you need to pass. Not every business needs a website. Surprised? Yah, I have lived in many towns in developing countries and it is exciting to see many businesses spring up with energy, and if the owners have been well educated, they usually have in their minds… a website!
But think again. Is your business a local one? Is your target audience local or likely to be internet users? Is your business one that people can use outside of your town or city?
You have to decide on that. My suggestion is to use the best and most sensible means of reaching your potential customers or clients, and if a website is not the best move, then wait.
However in many developed cities and towns all over the world, chances are, the people spend a lot of time on the internet and they use it daily to look for information on goods and services. Yay! Now we can think about using an online tool to reach them…. A website!
2. Think the long term.
So after you launch that wow site, what next? How will you maintain it? Who will back up for you? Will you hire a web master for the long term? Will you buy web-design services, as you need them? How will you update content? Is your website a CMS (content managed) that you can go in and help yourself? And do not be tricked, CMS sites are great, but you still nee d a bit of training to be able to administer it nicely. What if you never find the time? Is your site built sensibly enough to accept future upgrades without having to develop a new site altogether? Do you see a future where the site will become a major component of your business? Is there anything that you need to do now to realize that future?
3. Think functionality.
Next you need to think what you want your site to do for you.
Let’s say you have an air-condition repair shop, and your services include repairs and sale of parts. You do very good work in your town and people have come to trust you, and business looks like it can explode. Good. In your case, a website can help you appear professional and even more trusted. It can tell people about your services and where they can find you. You can also show people how happy some customers are after you helped them. You can also show them some basic troubleshoot tips on your site, or they can send you a request for you to contact them back.
If you have a warehouse of clothing that you sell, you know you are looking for a site that people can see the range of clothes you have, and the sizes and colors available. This means the site must be able to showcase your goods and update the images quickly as you change stock. The site needs to be able to integrate with your stocking systems or software.
If you run a tourism service, you want to showcase the various attractions you can provide, and the costs. You want your audience to be able to see some details of what they are getting. You even want them to make a deposit and get them committed before they arrive.
The bottom line? Decide what you want the site to do, before you even think of hiring a web developer.
4. Think simple.
Many times I have had web development requests that are so ambitious that they frighten my team. You would see a local paint shop owner who wants a shopping website with currency conversions, language translation, live help, and all sorts of widgets that can mix colour on screen and apply to a demo building for the user to see, before they decide to contact you. Really? What is that about? Nothing is more annoying than a website that boasts of so many functions that are unnecessary.
Keep it simple but effective and efficient. If you have a small and young business, your website should be very easy and direct to use. Afterall, if you do not have a webmaster who will keep an eye on it regularly, it is only a matter of days before you are frustrated. You will not be able to cope with the problems that multi-function website have
5. Think traffic!
The success of every website is quality traffic — this it the visits you have over a period of time and the quality of them. There are billions of website registered and millions are added every week. How on earth are you going to get anyone to visit your site? The answer is not simple, and don’t think you can cheat and buy your way out of this. It’s a long run and you take it one step at a time with your focus on the finish line.
I. Ensure that what you have on your site (content) is quality, and that people will remember and come back for the good of it.
II. Ensure it is user friendly, and very easy to find anything. Do not keep people guessing. Business web users usually done have time.
III. Respond with urgency. This means you need some kind of eyes constantly on the site to respond to people needs. If you need to hire a web-designer to do that, then hire one.
IV. Make an effort to promote it. Keep your web address on your business cards, email signatures, get them on social network sites (and maintain them otherwise it can backfire and hurt your business). Bottom line, make sure your site address is listed anywhere you think your target audience are.
So there you are, before you think of developing a business website, do a bit of research and know what you want, rather that the web developer suggesting to you what you need. They will sell you all they want, just so that they can create a long term job for themselves and keep you spending.