How to Build a Successful Small Business Website

In this blog I explain how to set about creating an awesome website for your small business.

I also reveal where smart business owners concentrate their energy to get the very best return on their time and dollar  investment.

Skills Required for Success

5 Pillars of a Website Build

There are 5 key elements to a successful website build. They are:

Strategy – smart planning

Design – the visual wow

Development – the programming that makes the website work

Content – the engaging words, images and video

Search marketing – getting the eyes you want on your site

Here’s the detail.

1. Digital Marketing Strategy

Unless your strategy is sound your website will fail.

I’m going to say that again in case you skimmed it. Unless your strategy is sound your website will fail.

The stakes are high. Today’s online audience are used to very high standards and very impatient. They know what they want and they want it NOW!

Depending on your area of business there huge numbers of great websites out in cyberspace  competing for your business. Clear branding and clear strategy are vital.

“Know thyself… and Know thy market”

Be sure you know yourself. Be rock solid on the services you provide and what the benefits to your clients are. Writing down what you do, how you do it and why is a great start.

Don’t skip this. Unless you’re clear about what you offer and why how can you expect any consumer to take you seriously?

Be sure you know your target market. Picture them in your head. Research the kind of websites and social media platforms they visit and like and pinch ideas. Think about the problems you can solve for them and their wildest dreams that you can make come true.

Once you have this clear in your head you can draw a wireframe.

A wireframe is black and white plan of your website. Wireframing is about the elements on the page not the colours or design. You can sketch your design on paper or use a wire-framing tool like Balsamiq

Make your website unique to your business. Standard templates are low in cost but always a compromise and convert much less successfully than bespoke designs.

If you don’t know anything about websites and search marketing pay a digital marketing consultant with a track record of success to help you wireframe your site.

2. Website Design

This is where a designer brings your black and white plan into life! Superb design is the key to catching your visitors’ attention. Great design also builds trust.

Your website design MUST be good. The stakes are high. Make sure your designer is highly skilled in the latest responsive design.

Explain your target market to your designer and help them by providing logo files and any images you want to use in reasonably high res.

Note – owning a copy of photoshop and messing around with it for a few weeks does not qualify you to design a website that will deliver in today’s competitive online world!

3. Website Development

Once you are happy with your design a programmer will turn it into a living, breathing and working site (well working anyway).

You need to find a developer or programmer who is experienced in building small business websites and knows how to do responsive coding so that the site looks amazing on everything from a phone to a desktop.

In the vast majority of cases WordPress is the best platform for your small business website. It’s open source, constantly being updated by highly qualified programmers and very flexible.

Make sure your developer does not change the WordPress core and only uses high quality code. This article on website security will tell you more about this.

4. Sizzling Website Content

Great website content is the key ingredient that sets the best websites apart from the rest. Content is the thing which engages visitors and starts the process of warming them up. The best content invokes an emotional response in your visitors and drives sales.

Words are king. A website without words will not convert – however good the the images and design. (Conversely websites without images can convert.)

Learn to write for the digital media or hire someone who knows has a proven track record. Your investment will pay you back over and over again.

Great images by the side of your words increase their power massively. Use real rather than stock images wherever you can. You must get professional shots of the key people in your business if you are providing a service.

5. Search Marketing

The basic on site SEO of your site must be right. This includes a logical structure, unique and inviting title tags, smart meta descriptions and optimisation of your copy. This basic on site SEO will help you get some organic traffic from Google.

In addition you need to look at other ways to drive traffic to your site.

Online advertising, social media marketing and electronic database marketing are options you can consider. Quality blogging on your own site is a good way to increase organic leads.

What do Smart Business Owners Do?

Over my years as a digital marketing professional I’ve watched smart and not so smart business owners tackle website builds.

Business owners who have great and successful websites generally do this:

  1. They engage in strategy with a passion. They schedule a face to face meeting with an expert and spend time thrashing out the detail.
  2. They leave design and development to experts. They know they are not qualified to design or program a site so they largely stay out of it.
  3. They invest time and money in great content. They spend time with the person writing the copy and give enough input to make it sizzle.
  4. They invest in ongoing marketing. They understand that a skilled person needs to spend time on search management and social media to get their site in front of their target market.

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Brilliant Digital
Sydney based with clients Australia wide

177 Victoria St
Smithfield
NSW 2164

02 9939 5223