Website Design 101 for Small-Medium Businesses
In this digital age you need to be visible online or very simply the business goes to your competitors and you will never even know that you lost a potential new client.
Even if the prospect knows about your company they will go to the Internet (think reviews) and most definitely to your website to “check you out”.
You need to pass the first “trust test” before you even get a call or email inquiring about your products or services.
By making information about your firm and services available online, potential clients can more easily and quickly reach out to you.
All it takes is a few clicks or taps on their computers, smartphones or tablets. Even seniors are computer literate.
It’s all About Getting Better Results
Whether you have decided to build your first website or plan to upgrade an existing one, getting it right from the start will get better results.
- Provide content (blog posts, web pages, photos and maybe even videos) that will engage and interest your target audience, encouraging them to contact you or at a minimum sign up for your email subscription.
- Create a website that will rank high in search engines (Google in particular) so prospects can find your business using generic keywords such as accountant (your city).
Here are some key steps to ensure your business has a great site i.e. one that converts and gets you new clients on a regular basis.
Other than Step A, these are best done by an experienced digital marketing agency.
A. Do Your Homework
You need to do some homework in planning a new website or upgrading an old one.
Start with a Google search for your competitors. For example if you have an accounting and tax practice in Dallas, TX, then do a search for “Accountants Dallas”. Review the top 3 to 5 websites as they are your competition.
You are going to have to bump one of them down the search rankings for your firm to take a spot in the top 5.
- Does their site look modern? A modern site will give potential clients a sense of your professionalism.
- It is clear what services they offer?
- It is clear what their specialties are? g. do they offer bookkeeping or audit services?
- Do they have an about page with pix of the principals and key staff. Are there pictures?
- Are there any testimonials from clients?
- Did they take the time to write a blog to keep visitors interested?
Now determine what your site will be all about. You want to answer the following questions in your research about your site:
- Who is your target audience?
- What products or services do you offer? Be specific.
- What differentiate your firm from other firms?
- What is your objective in having a website? Get leads, branding?
- What social media accounts do you maintain?
- What is the status of your online reputation? Do you have negative reviews or comments that show up when prospects check you out?
B. Develop a Site Map
A site map presents an overview of the website, including all the pages in the website. It is the instructions that go to a programmer to develop your site.
It forms the basis of how your navigation is organized
A site maps lists out all the pages you want on the site, something like this for an accounting firm:
- Tax Return Preparation
- Financial Advisory
C. Get Keyword Research Done
Keywords are a crucial part of building a new website so that you get good SEO (search engine optimization) results. In order to rank on page 1 of Google and other search engines, you need to determine which keywords are used when prospects are looking for products or services.
Key factors to consider in keyword research:
- Search volume – How many people are using this keyword to search for your selected keywords?
- Commercial intent – Does the keyword have a commercial intent? For instance, it’s smarter to use the keyword “accounting services” than “accounting” because some people might only be using the latter keyword to look for an answer to an accounting question, not to hire the services of an accountant.
- Competition – How many other websites are also using that keyword?
The ideal keyword would be one that has commercial intent, a high search volume and low competition.
D. Write or Edit Web Pages Using the Keyword Research
Include keywords in the following parts of your content:
- Body text
- Website code
Don’t forget to use synonyms in addition to the major keyword. Very important – don’t stuff keywords into your content; otherwise your site could be penalized by Google – they will ignore you.
Each webpage needs one major keyword and a number of synonyms. Write for you end user not Google.
E. Upload the Content and Launch Your New Website
Upload content onto the pages of your website, including text, pictures, videos, charts and other elements that you want to include.
Add links to help people navigate through the site more easily. For instance, you can add links to a page of your website that’s relevant to a blog post, and vice versa.
Review all pages, making sure that images display well, links are working and there are no typos. There should also be adequate white space for readability.
Developing a website for your business may seem overwhelming. Do the parts you can and hire a professional to do the rest.
Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to Doug Hay & Associates and a clickable link back to this page.