Launching a small business website can seem like an enormous task, although it does require some research, if done right it might be just the marketing tool your business needs. The road to a website is filled with website designers, website developers, and graphic designers. This in itself is very confusing. A website designer is someone who produces the design. A website developer is someone who creates more of the program side to your websites rather than the actual design. Nowadays, most website designers are also developers. A graphic designer is a person who makes the images at the top of web pages, the buttons, and menus on a website. The whole process should not be so difficult and full of surprises. Therefore, the 6 Dos and Don’ts should be a great start to help you launch your small business website.
Don’t concentrate on images and how pretty your site will be. Remember that your sites’ purpose is to answer your customer’s questions and inform your customers of what you have to offer, such as services and products. Don’t use too many images because if your site is so “new age” a lot of people will not be able to navigate and find their way around it, therefore, they will get frustrated and not stay on your site and that would defeat the purpose of the site.
Don’t compare web designers with their prices. Not all web designers are created equal. You must not only compare the price but the type of service you will require such as internet marketing and updates, will they continue to create the site until you are satisfied, and can they write the content. Some designers will create you a site and mail you a CD with the files, and you will then have to figure out on your own how to get it on the web. Others will help you choose a domain and a hosting company, upload your files to your site, and will write your content. Writing on the web is different from writing in print. A good content writer will know what to say to keep your visitors on your site. Keep these things in mind when choosing a web designer.
Don’t hire a web designer until you are ready. Once you are finished shopping around for a web designer, do make sure you have purchased a domain name, hosting, have a general idea of what you would like your site to look like, and written your content, if you will be doing this yourself. This is important! Web designers work virtually, which is directly online (through the Internet). You might not actually ever meet them. This style of work is very different from working face to face and have times set up as to when you will meet. It actually benefits you, the designer can get your website online faster. Therefore, it is important for the web designer to have all your information. If they have to wait a week or so for your website content then you will be pushed to the back burner.
Do request a quote from a few web designers before you decide on one. Once you have looked at some websites find a few who you like and request a quote from them. Explain that you are interested in a website, explain a little about your business, how many pages would your site need, and what are other services you would need from them. Ask them to send you a price detailing what would be included. Understand that this is a quote and if you are requesting any other additional services there will be an additional cost, although designers will usually let you know beforehand.
Do plan on keeping your site up-to-date. Keeping your site updated keeps your customers coming back to either find out what’s going on with your company or about new promotions or sales. It also gives your customers the impression that you care about keeping them informed and that you value their business. The benefit of having a website is it’s easy to update and doesn’t cost much. Usually, a web design firm will have special packages for updates. Find a designer who also can provide updates and when your site is finished discuss an updated schedule and what they can suggest keeping your site looking fresh.
Do find a designer who specializes in small businesses. Small design firms understand the needs of another small business and are more likely to be more personal with your questions. A big design firm might have 5 people working on your website, and they might not all have gotten the e-mail that stated what you want. Whereas a small design firm would have one person working on your site with whom you communicate directly.
This guide to launching a small business website is just the tip of the iceberg. The best thing is always to know what you are going to receive in return for your hard-earned cash. Make sure that your website is like an investment and that you are actually going to receive a return on your investment. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions! Most designers will answer most of your questions, no problem.