In the world of business it’s easy to get caught up in the latest and greatest fads for marketing and generating business. There’s a plethora of schemes, frameworks and blueprints that all seem to promise business success and riches, but usually tend to overcharge and under deliver.
Here at Marketeam we’ve always believed in the saying “success is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration” and building successful websites is no different. To make a website successful takes a lot of hard work and dedication, even more if you don’t know what you’re doing. With that in mind we’ve decided to put together this guide of important things about websites for small businesses.
Why is a website so important for small business?
When it comes to low-cost ways of generating business, a website is one of the best ways to get your products, services and brand in front of prospective customers. When you sit down and think about it, where’s the first place you usually go to to look for answers or find products? Google.
If you can build a website that can be found in Google and also turns visitors into customers, you’re onto a winning combination. But just how many people are looking for your products or services online?
Yes, many of the major searches we did online in 2017 were for the big ticket items like The Las Vegas Shooting or North Korea. But we also asked things like How to vote for gay marriage?, How to make slime? and What is kimchi?
If your website answers the questions your customers want to know, there’s a good chance they’re going to find it and if you have a compelling enough website design and excellent content, they’re likely to convert and buy or order from you.
Small Business – Big Numbers
Sometimes as small business owners we think we may have to go up against large, corporate entities with marketing teams and fulltime SEO copywriters, but this isn’t always the case. Small businesses with less than 20 employees make up over 97% of all businesses in Australia (source) so for many of us, we are pitted against other businesses just like us for a share of customers and conversions.
This being the case everyone has the opportunity to generate business online, particularly if you’re in a small business. You just need to go about it the right way.
What do I need to get a website?
If you don’t have a website, the first thing you’re going to need is a domain name. Take a look at our article What is a domain name? for more information about that.
Once you've got a domain name it’s time to start thinking about what type of website you’re going to build, the look and feel of the website design, the types of services or products you’re going to put into it and the content you’re going to add.
To set up a website that will generate business you need the following:-
- Domain Name
- Content Management System (like Joomla or Wordpress)
- A list of the functionality you need (blogs, e-commerce, social media integration, etc)
- A sitemap of the pages you will start with
- An idea of the images you want on your website
- A web designer
- SEO optimised website copy
Can’t I just set up a Wix, Weebly or Squarespace site?
Yes, of course you can and if you’re just starting out and have literally no budget for a website or online marketing, these are great options – however, these types of website building systems can be very limiting in what you can do with them.
It’s kind of like buying tools from the $2 shop. Yes they’re tools and they work for some things, but they won’t do the job nearly as good or last as long as high quality tools from a proper hardware store. Your website is a tool to generate business, so if you invest some money and get a quality website built, you will see much better results.
Things to consider about services like Wix, Weebly and Squarespace type services:-
- You don’t own your website
- You can’t easily change services if you want to leave
- Fees can change any time
- Functionality is limited to what the platform offers
- Can be difficult to do anything other than ‘basic’ website functions
- Need to pay to remove advertising from your website
- Can limit bandwidth and storage
- Can’t change templates once you’ve chosen
- Can’t do anything but very basic SEO on these types of services
- You can’t export your data or content
Now these types of systems certainly have their place in the market and I’m not saying they’re not useful, easy to use or a great option for some people. What I am saying is that if you want to use your website as a marketing tool to generate business and have control over the end product, these types of website builders might not be for you.
What can a website do for my business?
In short a website will enable your business to be found. There are many strategies to get your website in front of customers – for example you can push your message through advertising like Google Adwords, Facebook Ads or you can build up your website using SEO to get customers to come to you.
With over 1.2 trillion search queries typed into Google every year (source) it becomes painfully obvious that a huge proportion of the public are looking for answers, products, businesses and services online. If you’re not part of it you’re missing out.
Here at Marketeam we’ve seen businesses go from home-based online stores with stock in their garage to opening up multiple shops. Another business we have worked with went from only having one website and doing perhaps $1,000 of online sales per year to running multiple websites, dominating the market online and creating over $20,000 a month in online sales in just a few short years.
How do I make sure my website is a success?
There are so many different ways to approach digital marketing and many different avenues you can choose when it comes to spending your marketing budget. Take a look at the infographic below to get a small taste of the different tools, systems and services we have at our disposal as digital marketers.
As you can see there’s a huge range of online tools and resources you can use to help you with all aspects of your digital marketing, but here at Marketeam we believe in a more simplified approach for small businesses.
Awesome looking website + engaging SEO optimised content = online success
Obviously you can do a lot more than these two items and we highly recommend clients look at every advertising or lead generation opportunity, but if you get these two items right they can make a significant difference to your business.
Let’s look at an example:-
Case Study: Rockhampton TV Antennas
Premier AV Installs, a small business based in Rockhampton that installs home theatres, smart home products and VAST Satellite TV, etc approached us as they wanted to get more business in Rockhampton installing TV antennas.
The brief was simple – generate more enquiries about TV antenna installations in the Rockhampton area. The main call to action was for customers to pick up the phone and call their business number.
The strategy was to register a keyword rich domain name www.rockhamptontvantennas.com.au and set up a one-page landing page that had well written optimised copy, along with having the ability to expand content in the future.
We built a one-page site using the Joomla platform along with writing search engine optimised content for the ‘mini site’. Once the site was built we made sure it was mobile friendly, that all the buttons linked to phone numbers for one-click calls on mobiles and that we could track the site by installing Google Analytics. We also set up a sitemap feed into Google Webmaster tools to make sure Google knew about the new webpage as quickly as possible.
Let’s talk to the business owner about the results:-
“Since Marketeam built the TV Antenna site for us we’ve been getting at least 2-3 calls a day from the page. It’s unbelievable how quickly the site could be seen in Google. We’ve even had to farm out some of the work because we’re just too busy to handle it all.”
Brendan Forde, Premier AV Installs
The final word
As you can see from the case study above, you don’t need a huge budget or multiple tools and teams to be successful online. As a small business you have the opportunity to get your website in front of a great deal of people if you have a website that is built well and contains well-written, unique, targeted and optimised content. If you get these two things right, everything will flow from there.
That’s why Marketeam focuses purely on these two aspects of online marketing, because they’re the two things we’ve tried over the past 10 years of being in business that continue to generate results and business for our customers.