I’m often approached by small-business owners frustrated with their website project. The end product rarely meets expectations and costs more than they expected.
What I find is that usually a lack of planning leads to both issues.
Starter websites vary in price, typically ranging from about $10 per month to a one-time cost of several thousand dollars. However, there are a number of things to consider before publishing a site.
First, you need to define the purpose of the website.
Will you sell products and services online? Are you simply trying to inform would-be shoppers? Or both?
Most websites includes a homepage, an “about us” page, a “contact us” page, and a detailed list of products and services.
The homepage serves as a high-level summary of your business.
The “about us” page gives you the opportunity to tell your story. Why are you different? What value do you provide?
Your “contact us” page should make it easy for a person to get in touch with your business. Make your phone number, address, email address and hours stand out.
Thoroughly describe your products and services. And, as time goes on, integrate functionality like online ordering, chat and more.
The main point of planning a site is to make your business stand out and sell yourself to consumers.
For example, a mobile massage therapist makes house calls, something a traditional brick-and-mortar spa can’t compete with. So make that feature of your company a point of emphasis throughout your website.
When planning, be sure to include how you respond to would-be customers.
Make it easy for potential customers to get in touch with your business. Chat, contact forms, and a prevalent phone number are most common, but response time is critical.
The quicker you respond to contacts the greater your chance to make the sell.
After all, customer service is the most sustainable way to grow.
Jeremy Sisk is owner of Durham small-business marketing firm Xperience4Higher. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.