Your website shouldn't ever cost you anything.

If the cost of your website is at the front of your mind, the real issue is probably that it's not working. If it's generating income, the cost is rarely a concern.

Richard J Pickul, Account Director

Posted on June 13th 2018

Yes, all businesses should have a website for obvious reasons but it should be the right one and it should work harder than you on growing your business.

If you're one of the 2 million small businesses that don't currently have a website, you're having to work harder than your competitors to find and close new business. Astonishingly, the number of businesses that do have a website is far greater however there are only a small percentage of these businesses that use it to generate new sales leads. Whaaat?

Creating a business website is crucial - it was crucial back in the early 90's and it's still remains true today. The issue is usually that the expectations from these small businesses is set extremely low because getting a website is a complete unknown. What should it look like? What should it say? What should you expect when it's live? Since the boom back in the early 90's, self-proclaimed website designers have lauded the fact that businesses need websites. Heck, every business does need a website but it has to be designed and developed by an agency which is focussed on the commercial return it generates. Building a website without this focus would be like buying a kettle, only to turn around and start drinking kool-aid. It defeats the purpose of having one.

What should your new website look like?

Websites come in all shapes and sizes so for a budding entrepreneur or business owner, there is no easy answer. However, there are certain features which should be present on all business websites.

If your business relies on a conversation with prospective customers before they become actual customers, it's important to have your contact details visible at important places within your website. Your telephone number should be clearly visible at the top of each page and at the bottom of each page - if your visitor is a returning visitor, they'll likely use the number at the top and first time visitors may want to contact you after reading whatever content you have in the body of your page, so they'll likely use the number at the bottom.

You'll also want the ability to collect customer details through other means, such as e-mail or web forms. Some, if not most visitors, may not be in a position to speak with you so giving them the ability to leave their details for you to call them back or e-mail them more details is crucial. Place these contact details where you think you've told them enough to entice them into contacting you. Great places for this is at the bottom of important pages or within your contact page.

If you had a showroom or a retail space, you would suspect your visitor to perform some research before walking up to the till with one of your products. The same rule applies to website visitors, so you'll need to also include details about your product and services. Now, you don't want to go too far and include every minor and major detail but you do want to include enough to educate them sufficiently so they grow an interest in learning more about your products/services. Around 500 words is probably enough content for each of the products you provide unless you offer a complex product with a number of variations.

Your website should also run perfectly on small devices and large.

Responsive. You've probably heard about this before, right? This simply means that the website you have changes it's appearance, functionality and pitch depending on the type of device the visitor is using. For mobile devices, you would want only key items shown and your contact details visible. For desktop users, you would want to go into more detail about your business and products. The reason? It's due to the type of interest each of these users have - those on mobile are typically in more of a rush, thus needing access to only short pieces of information and your contact details. Desktop users are typically in less of a rush and thus have time to consume more detail before they reach out to you. Either way, your website should flex and bend depending on the type of the device their using.

Now, how do you tell if your website is working?

If you've spoken with us before, you'll know that we are data-driven. We live in data. We build our homes, cars and world around data. Your website should be connected with an Analytics tool which records visitor interactions and spits this out into an easily consumable report.

The analytics should tell you how many visitors it experienced, what these visitors did and where did they come from. It's crucial to know these pieces of information because without this, you'll never know if your website is working. What if the analytics showed you that 2 out of 3 visitors viewed your contact page and then left without reaching out to you?

Using analytics, you can explore how visitors are using your website, which pages they're looking at and how long they're sticking around. This way, you'll be able to understand if they're reading your content or just landing on your site and leaving. If they're reading your content, you're onto a winner and have a higher chance of converting visitors into customers. If they're landing on your site and instantly leaving, you know there is a problem which needs correcting. If each lead is worth £10,000, then having just one of them bounce without reading your content is a costly error and needs attention. With analytics, you can constantly optimise your website so that even if it doesnt work to begin with, you can optimise it so eventually it will.

What to do if you think your website isn't doing it's job?

You can either follow the steps above and optimise your website so that it shows relevant details to your visitors or you can hire an experienced marketing agency to help you. Sometimes, it's cheaper to hire an expert than it is to spend your evenings humped over your laptop.

There are lots of moving parts to a website and design is only one of these elements. If you're doubting your websites performance and want a sanity check, we would always recommend talking to a professional. If they're trustworthy, they'll spend some time with you to review it's current standing and suggest improvements.

Let's get to work.

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