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Do I need a website? And what should I put on it? – A guide for small businesses Part 1

[postpic=whattypeofwebsite.png class=center-block img-responsive title=Do I need a website for my business? alt=Do I need a website for my business? and what should I put on my site? style=STYLE][/postpic] [hdmd]What people tell you[/hdmd] [l]When planning your new business one of the first things people will say to you will be, ‘You need to get a website up and running ASAP’.[/l] [l]They may stand there looking all smug, as if their vague piece of advice had just saved your life. This blazing inferno of pride will quickly turn to ash once they hear the oldest question known to man: Why?[/l] [l]If you are very unlucky you will hear the false promises of unending success and a rock star lifestyle but for the most part you’ll get something like, ‘well mate…. You just sorta do, everyone’s got one.’ What was once an ear to ear grin has now turned to a look of uncertainty. [/l] [l]Because of situations like this it’s easy to see why so many small businesses don’t bother getting a website and then struggle to build any sort of brand recognition.[/l] [l]Another thing you may hear is that it’s so easy, you just grab a template and away you go. There is a problem with this. Search engines love unique content, using the same template as another site can damage your sites search rankings. Also, and most importantly, your website should be a direct representation of your brand. It needs to fit in with your brands image completely and seamlessly. Your website is at the forefront of your company’s public image so it has to convey your brand in its best possible light. So don’t be fooled by the sea of cheap template junk, a bespoke website is the only way to go.[/l] [l]The truth of the matter is that most businesses need a website but no 2 businesses need a website for the same reason. While your overall goals may appear to be similar (increase sales, etc.) but when you look at them in finer detail they are all wildly different. Whatever your reason you will find that your website will become your most valuable marketing tool and your users will thank you for it by coming back and, hopefully, referring others to your company. [/l] [hdmd]What do you want from your website?[/hdmd] [l]As I have mentioned before your business is unique, as a result your business goals are also unique. Before you can make any plans to have a website built you need to figure out exactly what your business goals are and how the website will help achieve those goals. With this information you can then figure out exactly what you need your website to do.[/l] [l]For example Mr P is a plasterer. Most of his jobs come through other construction companies. What Mr P wants from his website is to be able to display the many different plastering techniques etc. that he specialises in so his clients can see exactly what they are getting from him. Mr P also wanted to be able to show some of his previous work and clients to further prove his skills, experience, and reputation.[/l] [l]Mrs C is a beautician and has recently opened a salon. She wanted her clients to be able to book their own appointments on her website. She also wanted to share some of her skills and experience with her clients. Another requirement was social media integration. Mrs C operates several different social media channels which she wanted to bring together in her website so that her social media feeds can be viewed without leaving her website. The biggest requirement she had was the budget constraints. Having just opened her salon meant that she had little in the way of money to work with, which she was quite concerned about. We managed to fulfil all the requirements within the budget by utilising a 3rd party tool for appointment booking.[/l] [l]Before you progress any further you need to sit down and really think about what function you want your website to perform. The entire site will be built around this information so it really is important that you are adequately prepared. As with anything else in life the success of your website, and your business, depends on your ability to plan ahead.[/l] [hdmd]They have spoken, and I have listened[/hdmd] [l]So at this point you have listened to the world and its wife spout on and on about how you need to x, y, and z. Then they mumbled some nonsense and slumped away, leaving you with the age old question of why? So to address that question you have had a good long think about what your goals are in relation to your website and in business as a whole.[/l] [l]Hopefully you are starting to see why you may need a website and what it can do to improve your business.[/l] [l]In the next chapter of ‘Do I need a website? And what should I put on it? – A guide for small businesses’ we will discuss the different types of website and how that relates to your business needs so check back soon for part 2.[/l] [l]Thank you for taking the time to read this. Any social media shares etc. are greatly appreciated. Thanks again.[/l]

Why your business NEEDS a professional website

[postpic=why_your_business_needs_a_website.png class=img-responsive center-block title=Why your business needs a website by Griffiths Web Design alt=Why your business needs a website by Griffiths Web Design style=STYLE][/postpic] [l] Like many business owners, you may believe your business cannot benefit from having a website or that a website is not within your budget. Or maybe you think because you don’t use a computer, neither do your potential customers. These are misconceptions. The reasons show why your company NEEDS a professional website, no matter what size your business may be [/l] [ord] [item][l]YOUR BUSINESS WILL GAIN CREDIBILITY In today’s world more and more consumers use the internet to search for the products or services they need. Your business will gain credibility by having a professional website. Without one, potential customers will go to your competitors that do. If you already have a website but it is "home-made" or template based, having it professionally redesigned will provide your business with a unique professional image which will inspire even greater confidence. For home-based businesses, this is particularly beneficial since you do not have a store front to promote your products or services. [/l][/item] [item][l]A WEBSITE SAVES YOUR BUSINESS MONEY As a business owner you may think that you cannot afford a professionally designed and developed website, but fortunately this is not true. In fact quite the opposite is true, you cannot afford not to have one. Our brochure sites start at £200. The costs after the initial creation of the site are also very low, with hosting costing around £5 a month. If you compare this to the cost of advertising through printed media you’ll see that there is no contest. Having a website is the most cost effective way to market your business. [/l][/item] [item][l]YOUR CUSTOMERS WILL BE CONTINUALLY KEPT UP TO DATE Think of your website as being your online brochure or catalogue. It is much easier and quicker to update information about your products and services on your website than in print material, making it an effective way of letting your customers know about the arrival of new products, upcoming events, special promotions, or any new services you now offer. Unlike print ads which quickly become outdated, your website can provide current information and news. [/l][/item] [item][l]IT’S ALWAYS ACCESSABLE, WHEREVER AND WHENEVER YOUR CUSTOMERS WANT Your website will be available to your current and potential customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. Your customers will be able to view your products and services no matter the time or place, which with today’s busy lifestyles can be a lifeline to your business and to your customers. [/l][/item] [item][l]TARGET A WIDER AUDIENCE THAN YOU EVER THOUGHT POSSIBLE Your website will be available to people in all walks of life. As such all those potential customers that you’ve been missing out or didn’t even know existed can come and view your products and services. In the modern world, when searching for a service or product most people will use search engines to find what they need. Without an effective web presence all of those potential clients will be directed elsewhere. Can you afford to lose these clients? Remember that every client that goes elsewhere is money that could have been in your pocket. [/l][/item] [/ord]

The importance of a clear and concise brief.

[j]When working with a client, I always ask them to provide a detailed brief. In that brief I require as much information from the client as they could possibly provide, nearly every brief brought to my attention is lacking in some way. To combat this, after I receive the brief I then discuss it with the client further and add to the brief. Company overview, project goals and objectives, technical requirements, usability requirements, functional requirements, proposed budget and project schedule are just some of the nuggets of information and insight required in order to design and develop an effective web presence. So why am I telling you all this? I’m telling you because I would like to provide you with an example of what happens when this, very important, stage in the design and development process is blatantly ignored. I have recently just finished redesigning my website. Because it was my own site I ignored my own protocols and just dived straight into the design and development phase. I thought that, because it was my own site, I would be able to just ‘wing it’. Sadly this was not the case. What actually happened is I spent ages designing, redesigning and redesigning again. Adding and removing functionality and just generally being horribly unorganised. In the end I scrapped the whole project in favour of writing a brief and sticking to it. I had already wasted several weeks on it, time that could and should have been spent working with clients. Once I had hammered out a brief it took only a short time to complete the project and present to you, the user, a complete site that I am happy with. The moral of the story (apologies for the cliché) is as follows: If you do not wish to waste to waste the only real commodity we have in this world (that’s time by the way) and save yourself un-ending amounts of frustration then write that brief, and most importantly, stick to that brief. Your project is important and deserves you at your best. Becoming frustrated because of our own disorganised nature, (even the most organised of human beings is still only human), can have a damaging effect on the project. A clear direction and a level head is what is needed to make your project a success. While this example is focused on web design and development it also applies to most other aspects of life. Nearly all situations could be improved by proper planning and forethought. We all know this yet we all leave things to chance and hope for the best. When you come to tackle a situation, any situation, make sure you have carefully planned your course of action. Taking that little bit of time at the beginning will save you enormous amounts of time and stress later on. I hope you have found this post interesting and informative enough to read to the end. If you have any comments please feel free to add them using the form below. I would love to hear your stories, on this or any other subject. If you wish your stories to be just between us then please by all means send me an email, to which I will reply to as quickly as possible. [/j]
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Griffiths Web Design Logo by Michael Griffiths
Griffiths Web Design Logo by Michael Griffiths