If you’re a small business owner or consultant, the thought of having and managing your own website can seem intimidating, and if you’re not tech-savvy you may be wondering where to start. Well, a good place to start is by understanding the importance of a quality website for your business. In fact, 81 percent of shoppers research online before making a purchase, and 30 percent of consumers won’t consider a business that doesn’t have a website. Potential customers are online, therefore that’s where you should be. Not having a quality website may well be costing you, customers.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us the importance of being able to connect with our customers virtually. Many stores have had to shut down, cut hours, and reduce the number of customers they can serve at once, which puts an increased reliance on e-commerce for business survival. Having a website for your business can mean the difference between staying in business and shutting down for good.
Now that you understand why you need a website for your small business, it’s important to understand that not all websites are created equal. There is such a thing as a bad website, and a bad website will scare away customers. There are tons of platforms that will allow people with little to no experience to put together a website rather quickly, but what the drag-and-drop sites can’t do is make you an experienced graphic and web designer who understands user experience. Whether you’re choosing the do-it-yourself route or plan to hire an experienced designer, there are some essential questions to ask yourself before starting your website project.
Should I have a website?
Now I know what you’re thinking. I just spent the first couple of paragraphs explaining why a website is essential— and for most businesses, it is. However, there is a small percentage of businesses for which a website doesn’t make sense. For example, my grandfather owns a convenience store. Most people don’t need to understand the benefits of buying toilet tissue. In addition, most convenience store customers are aware of the type of products they can purchase at this type of store. There’s little that a website will communicate that his customers don’t already know. Therefore, building a website would likely be a waste of resources. However, this is the exception. Most small businesses will greatly benefit from having a quality website.
Who is my ideal customer?
Before you build your website, you should have a solid understanding of who your ideal customer is. A website is more than just code. It’s words, images, and calls to action. What words to say, images to use, and actions to suggest will depend greatly on who your audience is. For example, if your audience is women over 40, then it wouldn’t make sense to have images of young men on your website. That’s just one example of how misalignment can occur if you don’t carefully define your audience. Your website is a communication tool, and it’s important to know who you are communicating to and what you want to say.
What’s the purpose of this website?
Do you want your website to be informational? Should customers be able to make a purchase? Understanding what you expect your customer to get from your website and understanding their journey will make your website more successful. For example, if your goal is to convince your customers to make a purchase, then all of the copy and buttons should be helping them reach that end goal. If your goal is to get your ideal client to book a meeting with you, then your website should lead them to that. If your website doesn’t have a purpose, your visitor will likely leave without getting what they came for.
What’s the visual identity of my brand?
You don’t want people familiar with your brand to visit your website and suddenly not recognize you. It’s important to make sure that your website matches your visual identity elsewhere. That means the same colors, fonts, and image styles that you use elsewhere should be reflected on your website. Moreover, having consistent branding helps potential customers to remember you and start building familiarity. Brand continuity will lead to brand value and trust.
Drag-and-drop builders can seem like an easy solution to getting your website off of the ground— and they can be for some. For others, they may find themselves stuck with a half-finished website because of technical issues or stunted by all of the design choices they must make to get their website to completion. Many people also forget about the maintenance and upkeep required with a website. If you’re ready to establish your brand online and want a well-designed, functional site that clearly represents your brand and drives action, check out Dotlogics. IAW has partnered with Dotlogics to provide our members with exclusive pricing on website design projects. Building and maintaining a website can take a lot of time, so let Dotlogics do the heavy lifting for you and re-invest the time saved into other areas of your business.