Tag Archives: small business tips

Your Small Business Website: Planning Tips

The purpose of a small business website is to increase sales, leads and exposure to your brand. It’s also a way to inform prospective buyers and clients about your products and services so that they can make an educated buying decision. But your website has to be planned and executed correctly in order to be effective. Here are some tips for planning and developing your website.

Picking the Right Domain Name

The first detail to consider when you’re planning to create a small business website is the domain name you will choose. This is not a small matter — this is the name that people will come to recognize you by over time. Here are a few tips for picking the right domain name:

  • Use your company name for the domain name (i.e. HomeDepot.com or Forbes.com) if this website will be used mainly to establish and build your brand.
  • Use a name that describes what you do (FlowersandVeggies.com) if your main goal is to increase web traffic from search engines.
  • Do keyword research to find out what your target audience is searching for online when they want what you sell, then try to incorporate that word or phrase into your domain name.
  • Keep your domain name as short and catchy as possible so that it’s easy to remember.
  • Use simple, everyday terms in your domain name; words that an 8th grader would understand.
  • Stick with a dot com or dot net domain name whenever possible (maybe dot biz); most people trust clicking to a “com” or “net” address over the others.

Will Your Website Be Information-Rich or Action-Oriented?

Some business websites are designed to educate the consumer and provide extensive guidance or advice on a subject while others are meant to inspire quick action (a sale or a sign up). Decide which method best fits what you’re trying to sell because it will have an effect on how you build the site (the approach to designing and planning your site is also called “website architecture”).

Choosing a Design Platform

Once you know the general style and focus for your website, the next step is to decide which tool or program you will use to create it. Here are a few of the most popular methods:

–          HTML text editor. This is the most basic yet time-consuming way to create a website. You would use Notepad or a similar text editor program to manually type in HTML, PHP, JavaScript and other code to develop the website. Heavy website coding skills and knowledge are needed.

–          Web-based multiple page website builder. A number of online website building services give you web-based tools that you can use from your browser to put a multiple page site together using drag and drop features.



–          Web-based one-page website builder. This is a fairly new way to create a small business website. It is a web-based tool that also has “drag and drop” and “type and save” functionality, but it creates a dynamic and responsive one-pager site. All this means is that the entire website, including specific sections, is on one scrollable page that’s mobile-friendly. This is best for a modern, action-oriented website.

–         Standalone Software. There are standalone web design software programs that you can use to build a basic multi-page or mobile-friendly website. You should be at least moderately familiar with HTML and web design.

–          WordPress.org (or WordPress.com). If you’re planning to create an information-rich small business website with plenty of content (namely blog posts) posted over time, a WordPress site may be your best bet. It allows you to set up your site design using a free or paid WordPress template, then post blog updates whenever you want. You can also add new pages to your site that have the same design with just a few clicks. With WordPress.org you host the files on your own server (maintaining total control; flexibility) and with WordPress.com they are hosted by WordPress (limited control and options).

If you are not familiar with how to use these tools to create a website and would rather focus your time on other matters, hire someone who does. A designer will also be able to provide more guidance on what tool is best for creating your small business website.

Your Content Plan

Once your small business website is up and running you will quickly realize that you need content — a whole lot of it — on a regular basis. The more high quality, search engine optimized content you post to your website (namely the blog), the higher its chance of being picked up by search engines. One statistic shows that companies who blog get 55% more web traffic. So if there’s an investment you definitely want to make in your website, it should be in writing content yourself or buying content from skilled writers.

Planning your small business website will take some time, but that’s okay — it’s best to take your time to ensure that it’s right. Once your site is finally up and running you can focus your attention on other details, like how to funnel more traffic to your site using social media, ads and promotions.

 

Louise Gaillard is a professional writer, marketing consultant and the author of Easy Twitter Marketing Tips for Business Success.





Starting up a small business, even if it's just on the side, is no longer an option -- it's a necessity. Why? Because everyone needs an additional source of income in our new economy. Click here to sign up for educational and motivational posts to keep you on track.

Small Business Tip: Invest in Good Web Content for Your Site ASAP

Making an investment in good web content is a key to long-term business success when marketing your company’s products and services online.

I have been writing professionally for well over 10 years now. When I first started out, I worked for a variety of clients who paid me for the full rights to each article that I wrote.

When I think back on the many hundreds (possible thousands) of high quality articles and blog posts that I wrote for these clients over the years, I have to wonder how much money these articles and posts have made them by now. Probably a fortune compared to what I was paid for full rights.

A Hypothetical Example
It’s probably impossible to come up with an accurate figure for the ROI on a good piece of content because there are so many different variables, so I’ll just theorize with a hypothetical example.

Say you sell a useful gadget on your website that costs $40.

You hire someone to write a quality blog post or article to post on your website that is related to your business, industry or product. This evergreen (relevant indefinitely) content that you post is compelling enough to draw a 2 percent conversion rate from your traffic (I think that’s modest).

Here is a conservative, hypothetical model of the traffic that the article draws over the next 5 years:

1st year: 5 clicks per week in first 6 months it’s published; 15 clicks per week in the second 6 months = 390 clicks per year

2nd year: 25 clicks per week = 1300 per year

3rd year: 35 clicks per week = 1820 per year

4th year: 45 clicks per week = 2340 per year

5th year: 50 clicks per week = 2600 per year

Total traffic from this one piece of content over 5 years = 8,450

So with a conversion rate of 2% that one article sold 16 gadgets for a total of $640.

Say you paid $100 to a content writer for full rights to produce that custom blog post (500-1000 words). The return on investment (ROI) is

(Return – Investment)/Investment

640-100/100 = 5.4 or 540%

This is a conservative estimate of how the content would perform, but clearly this would be a smart investment for your business. Not to mention the sales continue indefinitely into the future.

In Conclusion
So when you’re managing a small business website, whether it’s to sell a product or service, you have to look at each initial expenditure as a long term investment. An investment in quality content is one of the best decisions you’ll look back on 3, 5 or 10 years into the future.

 

Louise Gaillard is a writer, marketing consultant and the author of Easy Twitter Marketing Tips for Business Success.



Starting up a small business, even if it's just on the side, is no longer an option -- it's a necessity. Why? Because everyone needs an additional source of income in our new economy. Click here to sign up for educational and motivational posts to keep you on track.

Small Business Trips – Tips & Advice

Stay updated on the topic of small business trips (tips & advice) in this section of StartUpaSmallBiz.com .

 

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Starting up a small business, even if it's just on the side, is no longer an option -- it's a necessity. Why? Because everyone needs an additional source of income in our new economy. Click here to sign up for educational and motivational posts to keep you on track.