How To Start Your Own Business. Part 8

Thinking of starting a business, but not sure what you need to know? Begin your journey here with my basic guide to business start-ups. In my role as Editor for The Business Show and Business Startup, I have talked with literally thousands of business owners and entrepreneurs about what they really need to know, not what a business guru thinks they need to know. This series is the result. Today’s blog looks at what to include on your website and how to encourage people to visit it.

Get A Website

If you don’t have a web presence, then you simply won’t exist as far as a lot of customers are concerned. Your website can serve three purposes; to establish your brand, to advertise your product or service and to enable direct sales.

A professionally designed website can make all the difference to how your brand is perceived. This means that you need easy to navigate content, professional images, grammatically correct editorial and a carefully chosen colour scheme. Every website should think about including contact details, testimonials, social sharing buttons, promoting your new content, links to relevant sites, accreditations, security certificates or assurances, using tags on images, and keywords where possible – including the URLs.

Some companies like WordPress and 1&1 offer heavily templated web building services that aren’t too tricky to use. This website was built entirely in WordPress by myself. Is it the pinnacle of internet innovation? No. Are you reading these words? Yes. Job done. If you’re not web-savvy, then you’d be well advised to contract a web developer to build your site for you. You might be reluctant to spend the money, but they’ll do it a lot quicker, build in more functionality and it’ll look a lot more professional.

If there’s one phrase you’ll hear web professionals use repeatedly, it’s ‘Content is king!’ You need to give people a reason to come to your site, to look around while they’re there – and come back again. This could just take the form of a weekly blog, but it could also be pictures, video, articles – anything you can think of! Just make sure that you can easily update your website with fresh content, not only to be of interest to your customers and avoid stagnation, but also to get a higher ranking on Google – the route that most new custom will come to you. This is the single most important thing to consider for your website.

The important thing is to ensure that your content is relevant and professionally presented. It’s all too easy to set up the infrastructure of a website, then shoot yourself in the foot by forgetting to update it, so it takes on all the appeal of a graveyard on a cold December evening – or even worse – posting stuff that nobody cares about and actually removes from their ‘feed’. This is where a copywriter/content marketing professional is worth their weight in gold. If you aren’t confident that the content you provide is timely, relevant and engaging, please talk to a professional. They will also know the best ways to convert browsing into buying. Spending pennies now will bring in pounds later. Is this a sell? Maybe, but I’m happy to do it because I know the value that my words bring to businesses. Get in touch today to find out how I could help your business.

You’ll find it easier to manage existing customers if your website has customer relationship management (CRM) functionality. Customer contact lists, email marketing and SMS alerts will all help you to stay in touch with your customers. And if your business runs on appointments, an online booking system can increase productivity while also improving customer experience with email confirmations and text reminders.

Google offer a couple of tools that can be very handy. Google Analytics is free and will enable you to track how your customers are using your website. Using this information, you can improve any areas of weakness or develop strengths. Google Webmaster Tools will tell you about your website’s visibility on Google – in other words, how easy it is for new customers to find you from an internet search, while Adwords will enable you to serve adverts to specific customers.

Useful Links:

Getting British Business Online

1&1

Go Daddy

WordPress

 

NEXT: How Marketing Works

 

If you find the series – or any of the articles in it – useful, please share them via LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or your own blog. I’d really appreciate it, thanks. If you need professional copywriting for anything from your first business plan to marketing collateral and press releases, I’d love to hear from you. Get in touch today to find out how I could help your business.

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