Why does my business need a website?
The Golden Age of Internet has officially dawned, where Google reigns as king, with Amazon as its queen. However, around 40% of all local businesses still don’t have their own websites.
Generally, it is because the business owners believe that their business is too small – employing just one or two people besides themselves. Also, sometimes, the products or services they’re selling can’t be sold online.
In spite of the fact their reasoning carries some weight, the pros of having a dedicated website go far beyond their logic – in fact, if you’ve got a responsive, SEO optimised business website, you stand at a big advantage over those who don’t.
- 1 Why does my business need a website?
- 2 Is web site design important?
- 3 What is responsive web design?
- 4 What is the best Content Management System (CMS) for my website?
- 5 Conclusion: Don’t pay too much for a website
Your business will be open every day and at all times:
The most crucial reason for having a website for your business is the accessibility it gives to your targeted clientele. Even after your physical store has closed for the night and your employees have returned to their homes, your customers will still be able to find out about your business at their discretion.
Keep in mind that everyone doesn’t sleep at the same time as your work business does – there are those who work on nightshifts / work from their homes. They may not be able to pass by your physical store or they may not be watching local TV during the timeslot your business ad receives.
There is also the populace who don’t read newspapers regularly. But in most cases, all the people discussed above will access the internet to search for products/services on Google. If you have a business website, they can find out about you in this manner and become aware of your contact details.
You will make a good first impression:
Consumers these days have become more determined and savvier when it comes to finding a good product/service that is the best deal for them. Instead of going from store to store or calling one service after another, they are increasingly relying on the internet to unearth the best business and the best deal for themselves.
It is likely that a large part of your customer base will discover your business by visiting your website, which means that it will be their first impression of what your business is and how it operates. A clean looking, easy to navigate website will make a considerable difference with your customers’ opinions while a poorly constructed one will repel them instantly.
Display your business and its message:
Regardless of the fact that you’re a manufacturer of a particular good or an artist, you will have a message for your customers. Perhaps you’re fond of painting landscapes or you’ve got an affinity for developing eco-friendly products. No matter what you represent and what you do, a website is an excellent way of showcasing your talents and services/products for your intended clients.
Manufacturers and artists should constantly post pictures of what they do for their customers to see. Even if you’re not able to sell your product online, you have to attract customers into visiting your physical address so they can check out what you have to offer. An image gallery on your website is a great way of showcasing your express talents and demonstrating the salient features of your business.
Even if the business you run provides a service e.g. mold removal, plumbing, etc. a website will allow you to highlight the best features of your service, as well as the employees who are responsible for its provision. Post pictures of your work environment before and after your service was implement on it to show your targeted clients how you made a real difference.
Visual illustrations such as these will inform your customers about exactly what they’ll be getting if they sign you up.
Phone books and desktop browsers are fast becoming obsolete as people are shifting to mobile devices for their everyday computing needs. Tablets, smartphones and phablets are utilised by individuals to look for products and services – if you don’t have a website with an Adelaide web design that caters to the needs of mobile users, it means that you’re losing out to your competition.
Opportunity for feedback and lead generation:
At their very core, ad campaigns aim to create leads which will translate into customers. A website can assist you in the acquisition of the right leads which will enable you to better connect with your intended clientele, rather than a general segment of the population that may or may not be interested in your business.
Before the dawn of the internet, people had to peruse yellow pages when they were look for a car mechanic or a carpet cleaner. If the yellow pages didn’t list your business, you wouldn’t be credible. This has been compounded since the internet: besides giving you the ability of showing up in search results, a website is essential for proving that you’re a credible business.
By simply having a functional website, you will achieve credibility with your clients who are looking for you through online services. Keep in mind that your customers are smarter now – they won’t go for the first business that pops up in their search results.
Most shoppers will analyze your business’s webpage, see what you have to offer and check out user reviews before deciding to hire you / purchase your products. It gives them an idea about the company’s management without even having to visit its physical location.
Is web site design important?
Website design is a generalised term that covers a vast variety of tasks, all of which are involved in the creation of webpages.
There are basically two styles of web designs that you can choose from – static and dynamic web page design.
Static design is normally created using basic HTML whereas dynamic site design is developed from more refined, superior technologies.
Webpage design has had a considerable impact on the web: the owner or developer of the site must give it considerable thought and the site’s has to be organized in a way that is both professional and accessible. The website needs to have high quality content that is relevant to the business you are marketing and must have functionality that captures site visitors.
Responsive design refers to a type of web design that automatically adjusts the size and layout of the site in response to the device the user is on. This ensures that the user doesn’t have to wait for a mobile version of the website, and also optimises their experience, resulting in better chances of sales for you.
An SEO friendly web design will have high quality content containing the most relevant keywords in a balanced manner. It will have a structure that is organized to support both human visitors and search engine crawlers. It will ensure that your website lands at the top of the search engine results for searches related to your kind of businesses, which will translate into more visitors, and hence better sales for your company.
A well designed website will include widgets / plugins that keep track of site visitors – or even visitors to a specific page. This metric will allow you to assess the success of your web design / SEO strategy, or the lack thereof so that you can make the appropriate changes. It will also allow you to compare two webpages on your own website so that you can, for instance, implement the successful design strategy of one, on the other which isn’t doing that well.
Good user experience
A good UX is absolutely essential to keep visitors on your website. Typically, users decide whether a website is good or bad in a few seconds which means that your user experience starts from how long your website takes to load and goes all the way through to the number of user friendly features your website has.
Easy to update
A website that has been designed and structured in a logical manner will be easier to update, since the developer will know exactly where the changes need to be made. On the other hand, if the site has been designed in an unprofessional, haphazard manner, it will be difficult to transition to an updated version since there will be numerous conflicts with other parts of the website.
What is responsive web design?
According to a research, 2015 will see mobile devices being used for internet access as much as desktops. This makes its necessary for all businesses to make sure that their websites are fully compatible with these mobile devices.
Being compatible, in this particular case, means that your website should automatically detect the device the visitor is on, and adapt itself to match the device’s screen size so that the user enjoys a better viewing experience. This kind of adaptability is what is referred to as a Responsive Web Design.
In spite of the increasing usage of mobile devices, there are companies which deny the importance of responsive web design which enhances the user’s site experience. Apart from the best possible user experience it provides, here are some reasons why including a responsive website design is so essential for your business website:
Google, in its dominant search engine position, largely dictates search engine optimization trends. In many suggestion on increasing your site’s rankings, an important one is the implementation of responsive web design.
Google has explicitly expressed its preference for responsive web design over mobile templates. Using a single URL that accounts for all devices that may access it makes it easier for search engine spiders to index the site. It also considerably reduces the number of on-page SEO errors.
Better user experience means smaller bounce rate:
A responsive web design offers several different features when users access it through their mobile device; the website changes its screen automatically or tries to reload the mobile version of the website. The latter usually results in the user going back to the search results page and accessing a different website, since redirection a mobile version of the site is much slower than a website that changes itself to suit the mobile device.
This leads to a higher bounce rate which search engines take as an indicator of the site’s interest generating ability – a higher bounce rate means lesser interest. A good web design adjusts itself to the device it is being viewed on, which means that the visitor tends to stay on the page and browse the site, which lowers the bounce rate.
A unified SEO campaign:
Businesses that do not opt for responsive designs end up having to websites – the mobile version and the version on the new media, each of which has to be managed separately. This means an increase in management workload.
Furthermore, the business have to come up with multiple SEO plans to increase their rankings on the same search engine! On the other hand, a responsive design means that the business has to concentrate only on the core website’s working. A single SEO strategy is required for maintaining their ranking, since the website is one-size-fits-all. Also, this option reduces content plagiarism by a great deal.
Long term maintenance is easier:
A responsive mobile web design makes for simplified maintenance as compared to mobile website version. Since smart devices are updated rapidly, the mobile version of a website would also require frequent updates to keep up with the technological advances of the smartphone world.
This means that maintenance of mobile websites is both cumbersome and expensive – requiring dedicated site designers. Even if the mobile site update is slightly delayed, it could lead to an increase in the bounce rate which would ultimately harm your business. It is for this reason that a responsive site design is the best option to keep up with rapid technological developments.
A website with a great design, which offers friendly user experience, can effectively utilise web content for increasing sales. Responsive web design makes it accessible to smart devise which allows businesses to address wider niches and their targeted customer base.
Using an optimal, user friendly site design will give your business an edge over your competition.
Smart devices are enjoying a very vast amount of usage today. Statistically speaking, 5.1 billion people around the world use smartphones. This statistic further strengthens the need for the best web design to provide your audience with a great user experience.
What is the best Content Management System (CMS) for my website?
For those who require a powerful website without bothering themselves with coding and technical aspects of development, there are three content management systems that they can rely on – WordPress, Joomla and Drupal.
These three have established themselves as the best of the best over the years. Here is a comparison between them:
- Technically advanced: among the three, Drupal is the best from a purely technical standpoint. It won’t utilize as many resources as WordPress so upgrading to a dedicated host won’t be an immediate requirement.
- Better performance: Faster loading times than the other two.
- Customizability: Has various customisation options such as plugins and themes. Those who know programming languages will be able to make deeper customisations to their website.
- Free: Can be downloaded and installed on a personal hosting server for free. There isn’t any hosting provided on Drupal servers, so you would have to purchase your own server, as well as your own domain name.
- Social networking: Easiest to create social networks with, which can become a potent asset for a number of sites.
- Commerce sites: Creating an online store is also an easy process in Joomla, which has native support for commerce related sites.
- No as technical as Drupal: It is easier to manage than Drupal, and will not require frequent tech support to run. There may be certain problems that require professional assistance.
- Help portal: Not as extensive or responsive as Word press’s community support, but it is still better than paid support required for Drupal.
- Free: Same as the features offered by Drupal.
- Ease of installation: Can be automatically installed to web hosts – the site can be up and running within five minutes. Manual installs take under an hour!
- Customizable: Has the largest number of themes, plugins and other customization options among the three. Due to its popularity, web designers prefer to create plugins for this CMS in particular.
- Free: Free to install, free themes and plugins, and can be hosted for free on WordPress’s servers initially.
- Community support: Millions of people use WordPress, which means that you can get fast help to solve your issues from the active support forums the CMS has to offer.
Although requirements differ between companies, typically, a small business that is moving to the internet for the first time, will require simplicity, free and active support and ease of update – which is why WordPress web design is the best among the three solutions for them
You will require dedicated hosting if you want your website to run smoothly under heavy traffic, and in order to exude a more professional aura to your visitors. This means that you will have to pay a web hosting company to provide you with a server (a computer on which your website will run) to host your site.
Are there any alternatives
If you don’t want to concern yourself with the technical aspects of site development / management e.g. development, installation, hosting etc., then you can go for DIY alternatives such as Wix.com, Square space and Weebly.
They can be used to create extremely attractive websites – however, this is about the extent of their usability. You can’t make deeper customisations to your website that require coding in PHP, which means that the site created on such a platform will never be completely yours. Truce peace of mind can only be attained through a website that you are hosting yourself, and can customise completely at will.
Conclusion: Don’t pay too much for a website
A professional website can be quite expensive, and even if you have emptied your pockets to hire the best developers, it won’t mean that you will get exactly the website you need. In fact, a website that is decked with functionality and features can actually repel visitors!
The best website for your business needs to be designed in a way that targets your intended customers and enhances their experience – no more, no less (read: as simple as possible), whether it is developed on WordPress, Joomla or Drupal, or on Square space, Weebly or Wix.com.
Furthermore, your website will need also to address the search engines through which the users will find it – this means optimizing its design to support search engine crawlers, among other things, and comes under the collective umbrella of Search Engine Optimization.