Think of your website as your telephone number.
In the technological and social environment of this decade, a website of some kind is as important as a telephone number. Would you consider running a business without a telephone number? Can you imagine how much business you would loose if your telephone number was disconnected for just one week? Can you really afford to run a business without a website?
Is "just having a website" enough?
There are a few things that you should consider in regards to having a business website.
Does your website conform to industry standards?
Would you accept your telephone number only working if people phoned from Nokia and Samsung phones. Seems ridiculous to consider but this is the case with lots of small businesses websites, if they are not built to industry standards. Web Pages can be rendered differently according to the Internet Browser the viewer is using.
At the beginning of 2005, 75% of the Internet viewers used Internet Explorer, with the remainder of the viewers choosing Firefox, Mozilla, Netscape and Opera. At this time most web developers only developed for an Internet Explorer experience. By 2009 Fiirefox had quickly caught up with Internet Explorer, and by mid 2011, Firefox is the leader in preferred internet browsers, with Chrome overtaking Internet Explorer as the second most preferred Internet browser. Firefox and Chrome conform to industry standards, however Internet Explorer does not. Have you considered how your website looks on these different browsers? Have you considered different versions of these browsers? Internet Explorer 7 is buggy, it is a well documented fact. So your website looks great on Internet Explorer 8 and Firefox 4, but how does it look in Internet Explorer 7?
Is your website optimised to Google standards?
After your business phone number is connected the next thing you would do is ensure that it is listed in the phone directory. What's the use of a phone number if your clients can't find the number. This happens automatically with the White Pages and the free Yellow Pages listing. But not with your website. To ensure your website is indexed by the major Search Engines you need to tell them that the website exists, and the search engines then need to be able to discover your business type and what you offer through the website content and the way the content is displayed. Search Engines simply use maths, nothing magical or mysterious, just basic maths. The number of times words are used, the positioning of the words on the page, the number of links coming into your site are all part of the search engines algorithm. The original Search Engines accepted the Keyword Meta Tags for indexing, but this is a thing of the past. In recent times Google (and other earch engines) decided to use the page content and the quantity of links to the pages to organically calculate the relevancy of the page to the search word entered by the viewer and dismissed the content of the keyword meta tags.. Content is Everything.
Does the design of your website appeal to your Target Market?
Who is your target market, is it the Baby Boomers entering into retirement or is it the Gen X, or the younger Y Genners? Is it women or men, parents or grandparents? The design, the content, images even font size and colours are things that need to be considered when designing a good website. Other matters you need to consider is the quality of visual effects and the navigation. Optimum navigation for a young Y Genner is very different than for an older baby Boomer.
But What Else?
So you have a good, working website that is well optimised, and is visually appealing to your target market. What is the added value you can give your prospective clients through your website? What will your point of difference be from your competition? The possibilities are endless and limited only to your imagination and budget. A lot of your existing business operations can be carried out through your website over the Internet.
- Do you run workshops and require bookings from clients.
- You could do this through your website with online bookings, without tying up staff members.
- Do you often get phone calls asking what your opening times are?
- Put it on the web!
- Do you run catalogues and specials?
- Publish them on the web!
- Do you send out newsletters?
- Newsletter are very easily managed and created through a good well developed CMS website.
- Are you ready for offering your clients online purchasing?
- E-commerce solutions are a simple addition to an existing well developed CMS website.
- Are you an expert in your field?
- Impress your clients with your knowledge and put it on your website by offering hints and tips relative to your field.
- Most consumers nowadays use the Internet to research products and services before even leaving home.
- Provide this information to your prospective clients to assist them in their decision making process.