Having a website for your local small business today is no longer an option. Few folks have the yellow pages around any more and are looking to find local businesses on their smart phone, iPad, and laptop. If your business doesn’t have an online home then you’re losing valuable potential income.
In my experience, local small businesses struggle with 3 mistakes once they decide to get a website.
First business website mistake #1:
Get your website designed by a part-time teenager or relative who has little experience and will even complete (maybe some day) your website for free.
When your vintage Ford Mustang is needing repairs, you don’t take it over take it to the kid next door because he is taking a mechanics class in high school. The same is true with your valuable website. You’re going to be offering and showing your precious local small business to the entire online community. You want your online representation of your business to shine.
What to do instead:
Choose carefully. Find a web designer who has experience designing websites. And more importantly designing websites you LIKE. Ask other local business owners who they used for their websites.
As a local business owner, you want to make sure your business image is reflected professionally. While it might seem like a simple process to throw a website together, a professional can share and guide you with the best options for your business. They may also help you skip over some of the pitfalls that may come from poor planning, poor design and poor SEO (search engine optimization – think Google).
First business website mistake #2:
Building the website yourself.
You are smart enough to build your own local small business so developing a great website can’t be that hard. Whether you spend late nights learning how to design and code your own website from scratch or you bought into one of the “free”website options being advertised everywhere, you’ve invested your valuable time and effort into an ever-changing and technically challenging marketing tool. You have to climb the steep learning curve of whatever website system you are learning. It can be very frustrating!
What to do instead:
Instead of investing your creative talents into something outside your local small business expertise, hire a website designer to do your website for you. Use the time you would have spent on the website creating and serving in your local small business – where you are the expert. Only you can lead and build your local small business, but a professional website designer can easily build a great website for you without the huge time expenditure on your part.
Having someone else develop your website frees you from keeping up with all the latest technical and design changes and updates, too. Wouldn’t you rather call someone to figure out why Google crashed your website overnight and losing a day of money making work on your local small business.
First business website mistake # 3:
Going overboard and insisting on using a high end PR firm (or the most expensive marketing company in town) to make sure you have every imaginable bell and whistle on your small business website.
Adding factors like music and moving actions or Flash throughout the site as well as insisting on a lot of complex content upfront distracts your website visitor from the primary purpose of your website – to make more profit. Eventually you get so bogged down in the perfect and huge website, that nothing happens.
What to do instead:
Consider what results from your website would make it successful. Is it more traffic through your front door? More leads to your sales force? Better attendance at your next show?
Keep your initial website as simple as possible. You can always add to and improve it, but first you need to have a website live.
Talk to a few different website designers recommended by fellow local businesses. Interview them and compare their pricing. Give them the marching orders and get the website live.
If you’ve made some of these mistakes, don’t despair. There are a lot of qualified, reasonably priced website designers ready to help you create the website you need.