Creating An Effective Small Business Website – Introduction
This is the start of a series that will take a small business owner through the steps of creating a website for marketing his business.
Having been in small business, I have a good idea what the needs of a local small business are for a Website.
I also know that as an owner, you don’t have time to goof around or time to learn html. You also don’t want to waste money on a site that is not effective (that is if you have the money in the first place). You’ll want to read this series even if you are planning to have someone else create a Website for you. You may want to read this even if you have a website already because I plan to show you how to make one that will increase your business.
What will you learn in this series?
- You will learn how to set up a website that is very inexpensive (all the software is free).
- You will learn how to setup a website that is easy to modify, add to, and change.
- You will not need to learn code.
- If you can use a word processor and read and send email, you will find this fast and easy.
- You will learn what kind of content you need for the site to get business
- You will learn how to make that content bring in the traffic that you are currently missing
- You will learn how to use your site to bring your current customers back again – with their friends.
- How to use the website as the most cost effective advertising medium you have ever had.
- How to build customer loyalty
- I’ll show you what tools you need and software to download.
- I’ll take you step by step in using those tools and software.
- We will also look at some ways to work with other businesses in your area as joint ventures that help both businesses.
This series will not show how to set up an Ecommerce site.
For most local small businesses, you need to get more customers or clients in the door or to call you on the phone. That is what we are going to concentrate on. I want to help you survive that Wal-mart moving that moved into or is moving into your community. If you are looking to actually sell products on your site, this series will help you in getting customers to that site but you will need to get help in creating an online store. Ecommerce can be complicated to set up. It is also not what most small businesses need.
It really does not matter what kind of business you have.
An effective small business website can bring in more business. You can be a contractor, lawyer, photographer, a music store, a restaurant owner, mechanic,or a jeweler. If you are a one man shop or have 50 employees. We will make a website that is far more effective than any phone book ad ever could be and costs less.
How much should your small business website cost you?
If you do just about all the work yourself as little as $50 to start. That is estimating $20 for a domain, $20 for a custom header graphic, and $10 for hosting. After that, $10 a month for hosting and additional $20 a year when it is time to renew your domain. That is all you really need to pay if your budget is really tight (and I’ll show you a free option for the graphic). The way we are going to create the site will make a very nice looking and very effective site that costs about as much as a one week classified ad in many newspapers. If you want to add more features to your site you can get some custom options for a theme anywhere from $100 to $1000 but you may need to pay to have the theme upgraded in some cases.
It is important though that you start this way and maintain control of your hosting so you can keep it at $10. Many times businesses get locked into sites and end up paying hundreds a month for ineffective sites. The only reason you would need to pay more is if your site makes you so much money that you need a better server. If that happens, it is simple to fix and you’ll have the money to look at maybe even better options. Cross that road when you come to it.
How much time will this cost you?
Setting up the site will take anywhere from 2-6 hours after you finish this series. You will need to spend several additional hours before that creating content for the site. After that, plan on up to an hour a week adding to the site, not including answering emails and that sort of thing.
Creating the content will be the most important part of the process. This is often where most small business websites fail miserably. We will start to tackle the content early in the series so you will have time if you need to find help from a friend or professional copywriter. I cannot stress the importance of the content on your website enough. The way it is written, and its purpose is vital to making your website bring in more money. Once the original content is done, you need to add to the site weekly. This can be just a short bit of news or the latest testimonial from a customer. Adding this content will be quick and easy.
Start your small business webmastering right now by downloading the FireFox browser.
I’m not going to go into how much more safe it is, or how much better it is. I want you to use it because we will be adding some extensions to FireFox that will help with your website. You will want to have a section of bookmarks dedicated to your site an the tools you will use. Add FireFox to any computer you may use to work on. It is free.
The next post in this series will cover getting a domain for your business. I will cover this a bit differently than what I would recommend for someone wanting to blog or create niche sites.
If you want to make sure you catch all the posts in this series subscribe to this site in an RSS reader or by mail at the top right of the page so you do not miss an update.