How Can A Small Business Afford A Professional Website?
You can start by understanding what you need, asking others for referrals and getting estimates. We provide affordable, professional websites for small businesses. Along with website design and development, our goal is to educate business owners on the use of Internet marketing so they can make informed decisions about cost and results. Unlike most website designers, we include basic search engine optimization (SEO) as we develop the site. We also offer website makeovers and advanced SEO for businesses who wonder why their website isn't helping them attract new customers.
What Is the Right Website for Your Small Business?
Reports indicate a large percentage of potential customers use the Internet (many via mobile devices!) to find or learn more about a business today which means you need some type of business website for credibility. But where to start? Decide what benefits you expect from a website, research similar companies online to determine how competitive your field is, and set a budget you can comfortably afford. Then consider your options:
A Free Website? If a bare-bones description of your services with contact information and location would suffice, you may be able to create a single web page or a mini-website for free with your Internet Service Provider (Cableone, Cox, Comcast, AOL, etc.). Just purchase a domain name for about $12 a year and forward it to your site and you're done.
A Template Website? If you want something more professional but free (with ads) or inexpensive, try a do-it-yourself website. Inexpensive template websites allow you to fill in the text and launch your site almost immediately, and the cost is only about $5 a month. Purchase a domain name for the site and you're all set. If you're expecting your site to attract new customers, you need to learn about search engine optimization and search engine marketing to place well in Google search results. Studying and applying the techniques will take more time and effort but won't cost you a penny.
A Custom Website? If you prefer to spend your time working on your business, not your website, we can manage the entire project for you. Don't be surprised if we recommend you scale back some of your website ideas. You can always add to your website later when you see how it works for you and you get feedback from your customers. If your ego demands you have the flashiest website for your business niche, we're not your go-to company. However, if you're looking for an effective, professional and affordable website, please contact us to discuss your project, no matter how big or small.
Why Isn't Your Website Helping Your Business Grow?
Many website designers produce attractive websites that business owners are quite happy with initially. It isn't until the site has been up for six months or a year that they begin to ask, "What good is it?" Launching a website is just the beginning of an Internet marketing strategy. If your website designer didn't include search engine optimization on-site according to Google's guidelines and submit your site or add at least one link off-site, you may NEVER show up in Google. Placement on page one or page two in search results is critical if you want your site to bring in new business; however, you have to be realistic about your competition. A loan officer will find it almost impossible to compete nationally for mortgage customers but might do well specializing in a small niche and attracting a very particular type of borrower. If your business comes from referrals and you use your site primarily as a reference like we do, Google placement isn't as important–although I don't know anyone, including us, who wouldn't like to be Number One on Page One of Google, Yahoo and Bing!
How Important is "Mobile-Friendly"? Very! You may be surprised to learn that about half of your website visitors are viewing your site on a tablet or cell phone. Are you catering to that huge mobile-device audience? Your site should be easy to read and navigate, and just as important is Google's latest algorithm formula that gives more weight to mobile-friendly sites. If your website doesn't pass Google's test, you may find your position in search results plummeting! If you've been on page one, say goodbye to traffic from that position. They didn't nickname this change to Googles's algorithm "Mobilegeddon" for nothing. When Google says something is important, you need to pay attention .
What Is Search Engine Optimization? Search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) aren't rocket science but they do take time and effort. SEO requires creating website pages with good content and strong keywords in the title, description and text on each page. Your website pages should appeal to both human visitors and search engine "spiders" (robot programs). That means page content should be easy to read and flow smoothly so it's pleasing to potential customers while it also contains carefully chosen and well placed keywords to ensure it's properly indexed by search engine spiders.
What Is Search Engine Marketing? Search engine marketing means off-site promotion and it's accomplished by posting good-quality links back to your site in articles, press releases, forum comments, directory listings and additional web pages. SEM has changed a lot in the last few years with social networking gaining in importance. Again, SEM is not rocket science, and something you can do yourself if you enjoy this type of work and have the time.
Is Social Network Marketing Important? Social Networking is everywhere. Twitter and Facebook, the two most popular networking sites, are in the news every day. Both are easy to use once you understand the basics and can be helpful in finding new clients and building traffic for your website. Maybe you also want to add others like Linkedin, Pinterest and Instagram. These social networking sites have tremendous potential but you may overlook their benefits if you don't learn about each in depth and keep up on the latest developments. For instance, do you know which is better for your business, a Facebook Profile or a Page? Do you understand how Retweets can built relationships and help your Tweets go viral? Do you know how HootSuite can simplify posting to multiple networks and help with analytics? You can learn to do it yourself but you must invest the time. More importantly, do you know that Google now gives more weight to social media which can help your site show up in search results? Even if you don't get many visitors from your social networking, Google still will factor in your presence there.
What Kind of Website Services Do You Offer? We can handle web design, SEO, SEM and Social Network Marketing as a package or as individual services. Or maybe you need and update or makeover of an existing site with a fresher look or a completely new custom website, please contact us to discuss your project.