I work with many great small businesses on a regular basis, and see how much money is spent on various forms of advertising. Phone book, radio, newspaper and some even television advertising. What amazes me is that in 2012 these companies spend thousands on all kinds of advertising but never realize the incredibly important need a great website is to their business!
There is no better marketing tool available right now then your company having a great website. Think about it once you pay to have it developed, the only remaining cost is the hosting and domain registration. Both combined for a small business will cost probably under $200 a YEAR! Thats less then the cost of a single newspaper advertisement. Now don’g get me wrong, because updating your website with new features is always a great idea too, but even that is an affordable business expense when you consider the impact the website makes on your business.
With smartphones in everyone’s pockets these days and the amount of time people are spending online, there is no question your customers are going to check out your website. If you are a restaurant, they will make their decision to visit your establishment based on online reviews and your website. They will want to see pictures of what the restaurant looks like, what is on your menu, daily specials, the ability to make an online reservation and directions on how to get there. If your website looks like a 5th grader did it for free, your customer is going to get a bad image of your business right off the bat. They may just on that impression alone start looking for the next closest restaurant on their smartphone. This doesn’t hold true for just restaurants, its the same for every business. A small businesses websites should be top of the priority list for every businesses marketing budget.
So what goes into creating a good website then for your business?
1. Professionalism: The website should look as professional as you want your company to be thought of by your customer.
2. Simplicity: The website needs to easy to navigate and allow your customers to get to the most important information quickly.
3. Message: The website needs to quickly, as in a few seconds, get your main message to the customer upon them visiting your website
4. Functionality: Your website should incorporate common functionality with other websites in your field. With restaurants for example: allowing online reservations or ordering, and driving directions with Google Maps.
5. Usability: Keep the site simple enough that even the novice computer user can figure it out
6. Branding: You want to keep the same branding for your company on your website as well as your other advertisements, business cards, menus, etc.
7. Engaging: Give your customers a reason to come back to your website. Include daily special information, information on upcoming events, maybe a recipe occasionally, and anything else that keeps them visiting and sharing information from your website