We live in a society where everyone is connected. Wifi, smart phones, and lap tops make it easy for us to access what ever we want, when ever we want. While technology can sometimes be overwhelming with all its upgrades and changes, it also offers valuable tools that have reshaped the way we live. For instance, high school reunions are not just once every ten years, thanks to Facebook. Finding your way to a destination, while driving is a lot more calculated, thanks to Google Maps. And looking for a job, house, or anything else you can think of is only a click away, thanks to Craig’s List. The internet has opened an array of access and it is the first place people go when they need to find something. So what does this mean for a small business owner?
It means that in order to seem relevant and worthy to potential business, you need to go digital. In fact, your website is probably going to be viewed by everyone who uses your services, as well as everyone who will use your services in the future. It is one of your most important marketing tools, and must be thought out strategically. Not only is your website the visual face of your company, but it will be side by side with your direct competitors when searched for, and you will want to stand out. While building a great website may sound intimidating, you should not be overwhelmed. There are simple things you can do to assure that your .com is an asset to your business.
-Content: Content refers to anything on your website. It is all the copy, pictures, and media that visitors will see. The amount on content you have on your website is directly related to your goals and type of business. But just remember, a website that is too copy heavy can seem overwhelming, while one with only a few photos and not much copy can seem like it is lacking information. You need to chose your content with purpose and only include what is deemed as important information. Anyone can design a pretty website, but if it’s content is lacking, than it is worthless. That brings us to aesthetics.
-Aesthetics: People are drawn into a site by design. You don’t want to overwhelm people with too many loud graphics that can seem overpowering. In the website world, less can often be more. Choose three to five colors that you want to use for a color palette. Make sure these colors are associated with your brand and logo. Stick to one or two fonts for all of the website copy. The text treatment should always be uniform (that is to say, if you use 20 point bold font for one headline, make sure all headlines are 20 point bold font). Keep your background simple to allow the content to be easily viewed. And make sure you design to a multitude of browsers and monitor ratios. Not everyone has the latest flat screen 20 inch monitor.
-Navigation: Your content is great, and your design is tight, but you still need to make sure that website visitors are able to find the information they are looking for, with ease. Provide a header and/or footer that are the same on every page. This header/footer should include a link back to the homepage as well as menus/tabs to navigate to any other pages on the site. Limit the number of menus/tabs and make sure that all your pages are labeled correctly. Also, if your site contains links to other places, make sure that all the links work. And continually check for broken links.
-Search Engine Optimization (SEO): You now have a great website with rich content, clear design that is easy to navigate. But, how can you assure that people are finding it on search engines? This is where SEO comes in. SEO is the art of creating a website that is “friendly” for Google, Bing, Yahoo and any other search engine to pick it up and shoot it out to thousands of people searching for your services. There are simple things you can do when creating your website that will help you rise to the top of search engine rankings. Check out this link for 55 quick SEO tips.
Your website is a powerful tool, and when you execute it correctly, it is one of your biggest assets.