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Is your business already up and running? Are you ready to promote your business online professionally but don’t know where to start?  With so much information coming to you from all angles it can be a bit confusing.

A small home based business, with hosting secured in a multi million pound complex alongside Million Pound companies, our passion for website design and excellence surmounts the majority.  We keep up to date with new technology and are large on experience and website protocol. We will not complicate matters further by talking in IT jargon but communicate with you simply and effectively so you understand exactly what we are doing and why.  

Our small overheads are reflected in our charges.  
We are proud to say that we can offer you a website design and host service that will be competitive in every way including financial outlay and upkeep.

Why you Need a Website.

If you are a small local business, with a front street shop, providing products and/or services to your customer on a face to face basis you are probably wondering whether or not you even need a website.  

You may pick up the majority of your customers through referrals and word of mouth and think this is enough and whilst it may have kept you ahead of your competitors until now, more and more people are referring products and services through websites and online social networks where they can chat about their experience.

If you are a Local Business you could be missing out on a stream of clients. People who are disabled, who have children, who are working full-time,or who have elderly or impaired relatives to look after may find the internet a worthwhile tool in seeking services and products not just for themselves but for their families too.  If you can pick up online recommendations you may find that you also pick up clients from further afield, as well as locally.  

There is no doubt that having a professional looking website is an affirmation that your business is in good standing.  It is guaranteed to promote your business branding, ethics and customer care and give prospective clients a peek of your business identity and image and this knowledge and familiarity will help them relax and feel secure when they come to buy from you and use your services.es.

Ecommerce Website - Shopping Site

Do you have physical products for sale? If so, you will need a website that will allow customers to purchase online. This type of site is called an ecommerce website, which allows you to list your products in different categories just like a catalogue. When customers find your website they are able to browse through your products and add them to their 'online cart', once they have selected all the products they wish to buy, payment can then be made through the website and their order despatched.

This type of site is great if you have lots of products to sell, and in most cases you can update the products and prices yourself using a content management system connected to the website. This makes it easier when you start to generate more sales through your website, the system will generally adjust the stock levels as products sell.

The only downside to having an ecommerce website is that it is more difficult to rank highly on search engines. Search engines, such as Google, prefer to show regular information websites before they show ecommerce sites. Don't be put off though, there are still ways of gaining strong search engine rankings but it generally takes more time and money.

These are just a few of the different types of website options to consider, in most cases you will get a better understanding of what you need by speaking to some web design agencies. It always helps to have an idea of what you might want before ringing around so please refer back to this page if you need to.

Step 2. How will customers find you?

Unfortunately, it's not enough to just have a website for your business. We need to think about how our potential customers might find us. Now, there are many forms of online marketing and the best ones are completely dependant on what type of niche you're in.

"What has online marketing got to do with my website, I'll worry about that later"

It's true that most of the marketing in your business will happen after the website has been built, but there are a few things you will need to consider before you handover your cash to your web designer.

The way a website is built can have a HUGE impact on the success of your business.

SEO - (Search Engine Optimisation) What is it?

Google is the number one search engine in the world. Every single day millions of people search the internet to find products and services. SEO is the method where we can dictate how we appear on search results. Although Google changes its rules fairly frequently, there is always a way to gain stronger website rankings. SEO is arguably the most cost effective way of gaining traffic to your website so you really need to consider this when choosing a web designer.

Some web designers will have a good understanding of SEO and will bear this in mind when building your website. On the other hand, others may not understand as much about SEO, and won't realise that the way they build your website will have a long lasting effect on how your website ranks in search results.

Be sure to ask your web designer if they offer SEO as a service. We would always recommend that you choose someone who understands SEO, as it could save you a lot of money in the future.

Social Media

If you are thinking of getting a website, many of you will have already created social media pages for your business. Really understanding social media and how it will improve your business is a big challenge, but you can make things as easy as possible whilst having your website designed. Ask your web designer how they plan to integrate social media within the site.

Most people think that having a link to your Facebook and Twitter pages is enough, but there is more that you can do. Having a share facility on your blog is an excellent way to improve your social/online presence. The ability for people to share or tweet something on your website is a great way to gain more customers through social media. You can also have a Facebook comments section beneath your posts on the website; this means that when somebody leaves a comment on your website, their friends on Facebook will be able to see.

There are many ways that social media can have a positive impact on the success of your business, so have a look around at some of your competitors. See how they integrate social media within their website and try to make yours as "sociable" and "sharable" as possible. Advertising (Online)

When it comes to starting an online business you will might want to consider having a budget for advertising costs. It doesn't need to be a huge budget, but if you want to start building your online audience there are many affordable options you can choose from. Advertising online is much cheaper than traditional offline marketing such as radio and newspaper ads. For example, Facebook offers a user-friendly Ad manager, where you are able to set your own daily budget and target the people you want to target. Google offers a pay-per-click option where you only pay if your advert is clicked. These forms of advertising can cost you as little as £5.00 per day, so almost anyone can afford it.

Step 3. How will your website improve your sales?

Now, it's important to stop and think about this for a second... you are about to dedicate the next few months of your life launching a new website. You will be devoting valuable time and resources intolaunchuing your website. Why? What are you trying to achieve by having a website? Yes, it's important to have an online presence and yes people will take you more seriously by having a website, but how will you convert your website visitors into paying customers? The good news is that there are many ways to do this, but only if you have a plan.

If you have physical goods for sale on your site then it's pretty obvious how you can make money from customers, but what if you run a service based business, what if you're a solicitor or a chiropractor and require a face to face appointment to acquire a new customer? This is where you need to get creative. Below I have outlined a few ideas to influence your website visitors to buy from you.

Create an Offer

Create an attractive offer that's exclusive to your website. Try to make it as attractive as possible, and include an expiry date so that people feel encouraged to take the deal there and then. This could be via a signup form or an appointment booking system which you have on your site. There might not have been a payment there and then, but you have a fully qualified customer who has shown a huge interest in what you have to offer.

Give something away for free

This sounds like a strange one but let me explain.  If you can give away something useful that is relevant to your target market, e.g. a downloadable guide or a helpsheet in whatever field you're in and exchange this "free gift" for an email address, then have the contact information for a super qualified customer. They have already shown an interest by downloading something on your website, and you can then email this person at a later date. If they find it valuable, they are probably going to be interested in receiving more emails from you. This process is really effective if you do it right. Take the time to plan your follow up emails and try to be as informative as possible. Those in your email subscriber list will find your regular emails informative and helpful, so they will certainly think of you first the next time they need your services.

Create a members area on your website

If you run a service based business and don't have physical goods to sell, then you might want to consider having a member’s area on your website.

You can create this by offering lots of valuable, members only content such as webinars, how to guides and email support in whatever niche you're in. You would then charge a monthly subscription fee for all this amazing content. Most businesses are surprised that people will actually pay for content that they can probably find on the internet, but the truth is, that people pay for convenience. If you offer value and support, and create a useful online tool that people want to come back to, then why wouldn't they pay? If you're still unsure about charging people for all your content, then try offering a one month free trial and see what people think? If you have lots of cancellations look at improving your content, and don't be afraid to ask your customers for their feedback.

Website Design Services -  Why you need a website!