These days it is very do-able to build your own business website. Creating your own website has the advantage of being more affordable and more flexible because you have control over it. But if you haven't done it before it will obviously require a time commitment.
A lot of business owners are questioning whether they need to invest in a website now that social media is making such an impact.
Some micro-businesses are managing just fine using Facebook only but websites are still considered an essential shop window to allow potential customers to check you out.
For bigger businesses, a well designed website gives you credibility and supports all your other marketing and branding activities.
As with most things it pays to do your research and planning first before you go rushing into it.
If you are keen to build your own business website here are a few tips to get your started:
1. Create a design that's easy on the eye and appealing to your target audience. If you're in the business of weddings, make it pretty. If you're in finance, make it more traditional looking.
2. Don't use horizontal scrolling - people do not like having to scroll over to read the whole sentence.
3. Avoid lots of flashy gimmicks on your site - they distract your customers and increase download times. You have only a few short seconds before people will click away so your site needs to download quickly.
4. Make sure all your links work properly
5. Avoid people counters that say how many people have visited
6. If you are a local business put your contact details in the top right and at the bottom of each page.
7. Your most important information should be in the first screen shot that people see when they land on the page - ie. visitors shouldn't have to scroll down to see special offers, free ebooks etc
8. Create well written content and use a spellchecker. And, make sure each page has value. If it doesn't really add anything it is better to delete it.
9. Make it look neat and well spaced - don't be afraid of white space, it stops your pages from looking too cluttered and makes it easier to read
10. Use an email address connected to your website URL (hotmail addresses look amateurish)
11. Make sure its keyword optimized
12. Domain names - avoid using .net or .org type URL's. Stick to those that people will remember ie. .com or .com.au, .co.uk etc depending on which country you're in
13. If your business is very visual eg. photography, you must use good quality images because these will sell your business.
14. Text is easiest to read when it's black on white or similar. Avoid red on black or other strong colors.
Write in a personal tone of voice
16. Update it regularly - think about putting a blog page on because this is the easiest way to keep adding new content
17. Make sure it's well organized with a menu bar on every page and links back to the home page
These days there are plenty of template web design sites around so you can easily build your own business website.
We used www.sitesell.com for this site.
Owned by Ken Evoy, Sitesell is a complete website development package that allows even non-technical people to build a successful website. It includes web hosting and a whole host of clever analytical tools and systems which are easy to use. Best of all it only costs about $300 per year.
But it does take time to learn and implement. Expect to feel like you’re studying for a degree in website development! But it is do-able for non-techies and the information they provide is invaluable.
The Sitesell system takes you through a step by step small business web site development process towards building a website that generates traffic without you having to buy ads. Follow the formula and traffic will follow.
In summary, it involves understanding your target audience and what they want, analyzing their search words and phrases and creating a content-rich website.
This process is about giving the search engines what they want (ie. good content) rather than trying to play games with search engine optimization.
Go to www.sitesell.com for more information about how to build your own business website.
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