So it's time for a new website for your small business? Excellent!
Before we start, it's important to note that it's not just about "a website" any more. It's about building a cohesive online strategy for your business, which includes a website. So let's call it a digital presence instead of just "a website", OK?
According to Business Victoria, it's essential for every business to have a digital presence. But this can be quite daunting for many small business owners, particularly those whose expertise may not be in the digital arena. Where do you start?
In this series of articles, we'll go through some key areas to help prepare you for what lies ahead...
Getting Started / Finding Help
There are a bunch of free website builders around nowadays that promise quick and fast websites that you can "Do It Yourself". Great! All good in theory, but how do you know what actually works?
- How do you know which colours to use, which fonts to use, how to layout the site and build an appropriate menu structure so it actually works for your business and communicates successfully with your end-users?
- How do you know the best way to talk to your end-users? Do you know who you're talking to?
- How do you get a domain name and organise the right hosting?
- How do you work out what marketing and social media to set up, and how to run that?
- And Google? How exactly do you Google???
- Who will look after it all, and fix things when they go wrong?
- And most importantly - how do you expand it when your business takes off? How do you add in a blog if you don't start with one, or an online shop, or a photo gallery, or a newsletter?
The problem with all these free builders is that they dumb-down the technical side of actually building a website and say it's "easy", but they don't do much else for you in the way of digital presence. And even though they're "easy", there's still a learning curve for a lot of people.
Here's my analogy - if you need a tooth pulled, do you do a bit of reading then grab the pliers and "Do It Yourself"?! If you're building a new house, do you sharpen the pencil and try to architect it yourself? Well sure, you COULD - but SHOULD you? Are you really helping your business or yourself by spending hours doing something you have no expertise in, when you could be spending those hours on your actual business? It just doesn’t make sense!
If you want your digital presence to be successful, only addressing the technical probably isn't going to be enough.
RESEARCH - digital specialists, website designers/developers, social media and content marketing specialists, and find somebody who can partner with you over the longer-term.
CONSIDER - of course, being digital means you could go anywhere, but working with somebody local means you can meet for a coffee and build a working relationship with your online digital specialist the old-fashioned way!
Next time, we'll go through some strategy and planning ideas.