As a small business owner, you are aware that you should have a website. But how many small businesses take that next step and use a website which promotes their business? Not as many as you think.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, only 40% of Australian businesses with less than 5 employees have a website. This means that only 2 of every 5 small businesses take the next step to design a website for their business.
Building a website can be a daunting process, but the key to a successful web design project is working with the right people.
In the process of choosing a web design company, you need to ask the following questions.
"How long have you been in business?"
Unfortunately, in the web development industry there is a trend for small local web design companies to be fairly temperamental; they may be there one day and gone the next. It is important that the company of your choice has been around for a while and is well established. Far too often do we hear from prospective customers that they cannot relocate the original developer of their website. The web developer has either vanished or closed-up shop.
"Are you local?"
Although the development of a website does not necessarily require face-to-face contact with the business owner, using a Brisbane web design company for a Brisbane based business has many advantages. Our past experiences indicate that our initial consultation with the client are critical to really figuring out website necessities and what the client really desires. Emails do not express the passion the client has for their business and their clients. And for you, the business owner, this initial consultation gives a good indication of whether you can trust the people you will be working with to build your website.
"Is the web development done in-house?"
Outsourcing is common practice now, and it allows anybody to offer any service. We often see designers and marketing companies offering website services with no knowledge of the technical requirements for a well-coded website. Ask the question. Who is primarily building the website, and will it be compliant to both Google and industry standards?
"Is your pricing clear with no hidden costs?"
When engaging a web design company, you need to be certain of any additional ongoing costs. For example: domain registration, website hosting, SSL certificates, security updates, ongoing maintenance and support. These ongoing costs are part of having a website, but vary greatly depending on the website platform you choose. Some services have a lower upfront fee and higher ongoing costs, while others have a higher upfront fee and a lower ongoing costs.
"Will I have complete access to my website?"
It is imperative that you have access to the logins of your website, hosting environment and domain registration. You also need to have access to make changes to your website. There are many horror stories we hear of Brisbane businesses locked out of their website, with no access to their domain and hosting environments. These businesses are literally having their website held ransom by the person that originally registered their domain or built their website.
Already Have a Website?
If you already have a website, then you have competitive edge on other local business already, but you need to ensure that the website is working for you. Technology changes over time, and a website needs to be thought of as a living breathing part of your business. Your website needs to grow and develop as your business grows and develops.
You need to confirm the following items in regards to your website:
"Is my website mobile friendly?"
Google's search algorithm (the algorithm Google has implemented to decide whose website is shown ahead of others) attributes higher weight to websites which are mobile friendly. Mobile friendliness which improves your Google ranking can be indicated by the standard of user experience across different devices, such as mobile phones and tablets. Web=pages will slowly start slipping on Google's page rankings as of mid-2018 if they either contain content wider than the page (where the user needs to scroll left or right to view the content on the page) or alternatively, websites that contain links too close together (where the links cannot be accurately clicked by your finger tip on a mobile device).
"Does my website reflect the branding of my business?"
Did you originally use a generic template for your business that does not use your standard fonts, colours and logos. It is important that your website speaks about your business. It is the initial representation that prospective customers have of your business. Perhaps you need to consider a website redesign. If you website is built in Joomla! or WordPress a simple reskin cannot only freshen up the site to reflect your branding, but with new technology in the themes and templates the site will also be more mobile friendly.
"Does my website show that I am a local business?"
For a local business, now more than ever, to have that competitive edge you will need to embrace being a local business. Google search results will show the best search result for businesses that are the closest geographically to the the IP of the searcher. You need to ensure that the code on the website includes your address and the local areas you service. A good web developer can also include the correct schema code of your website to inform the search engines that you are a local business.
"Is my website linked from social platforms?"
To really take advantage of current trends, you will need to have your website linked from Social Media Platforms. Statistics show that around 70% of small businesses (containing less than 5 staff) do not have a Social Media presence. By having a website and linking it to your social media platforms, you will gain a local competitive edge.
It's Not Too Late
If you are a small local business, whether you have a website or not, now is the time to take action. There are many choices available for Brisbane businesses to develop a web presence through a well built website and social media.
Want to know more, give us a call on 07 3103 3133 and we can help.