Archive for October, 2012

Small Business Websites – Are You Successful or Are You Failing?

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

Small Business Website Design

More and more each day we continue to get the phonecall that comes from the small business owner trying hard to have their website do one simple thing – make money.

It does not matter whether you have a brochure website or an ecommerce website, either way each has its own approach to help bring much needed sales and revenue into your company.

But still, we see many a small business owner who has huge expectations, limited knowledge about the internet and website design, and for some business owners, they just don’t want involved with the website, and just leave it in the hands of others. This usually falls to the website designer.

There are many web designers who operate alone having started their own web design business. But each will have come from a different skill background. Some will be programmers, others will be graphic designers, then there are those who pursued a career in copywriting but decided – hey I can build a website with some of the tools around today. And maybe you can.

But the reality is when this phonecall arrives at OnlineXcellence in most instances the scenario is – my website is not working – I had a web designer or marketing company working on the site, but I am just not getting traffic or sales and I have spent X amount. Does this scenario sound familiar? Are thinking – yes – I am here right now in that very position.

So Why Do Websites Fail for Small Business Owners?

Most business owners will all follow the same path. Search online for a web company that builds websites, give that web design company a verbal brief and want the website delivered yesterday. And then by the end of the first month wonder why it has not got any traffic or sales. Let us take a case study I saw today.

Website built by web designer, a single one man band

Website pages cannot be changed by the business owner

Website designer admits he does not do marketing. This can reflect in the design. How do you know what type of website to build if you have not done some marketing analysis that involves keyword research and a look at who your competitors are? So, does the web designer need to understand a bit about marketing?

So, the business owner needs marketing services. Next action Google for an Internet Marketing Company.

Business owner contacts what appears to be an Internet Marketing Company talking the language of ranking for keywords. Let us put the record straight here, it is not just about ranking for a keyword that will make you money. It is not even about always having to be number one for that keyword. There is no point in ranking for a keyword if your website when the visitor gets there does not convert that visitor into a customer!

But, what the small business owner does not know, they will just go ahead and pay this internet marketing company the fee dictated. But this is where we get told more horror stories by the small business owner:

Yes, I gave the Internet Marketing Company 2 weeks but got nothing out of it

Yes I the Internet Marketing Company suggested I do some ADWORDS with Google, but – phew – lost a lot of money and got nothing out it

Is Website Success or Failure have anything to do with approach to Design and Marketing of your Website?

The answer to this I am afraid is YES IT DOES!

The small business who called today, did not know he had a WWW and NON WWW version of his website.

The small business owner did not know his website was also sporting 4 HOME PAGES that were sitting on the following addresses:  | | |

That scenario could get worse for the business owner if they also own the website domain – WHY – you want to be working with just one primary domain. So a decision shoulld have been made – do I use the .COM or the .CO.UK and one domain should point at the other. So, if you type in the domain you don’t intend to have as the primary one for day to day promoting of your website, then if someone types that into a browser it will serve up the other domain URL address. But many independent single operator web developers still overlook this issue.

TECHNICAL SEO is as important as ON-THE-PAGE SEO. Web Developers, understand how to get your website foundations in order that internet marketers can then take the site and build good relationships with it when trying to encourage search engines to love the site.

The moral of this story. There are many things for the small business owner who wants a website to consider. It can take a number of months just to get the planning right, where the Internet Marketing Company has to work closely with the Web Design Company just to get the website architecture correct. Look at a website like how you would choose a racing car. You want to win races, so you want to rank well in the search engines but more importantly you want to convert. The element highlighted above of just getting your domain name infrastructure correct is one of hundreds of tasks that the web designer may need guidance upon. In our opinion whilst we love the freelance web developer, he does have a living to make, can he really be ALL THINGS to ALL MEN in today’s demanding field that is Online Marketing. There are so many tasks you can easily end up doing a 17 hour day to keep your website alive. In order to do that every page is a CHILD, and it needs fed. Get the architecture wrong during the website build and you maybe another small business statistic that falls into the website failure camp rather than getting awards for being a succesful website.