Running a business is tough. Jumping into the world of websites and internet services can be even harder to think about while you’re busy with the day to day of your business. As a maritimer, I’ve seen many small shops that I loved go out of business. I’ve seen the way it impacts communities and the intense struggle that local businesses have in a world where Amazon is at their customer’s fingertips. Having lived in both New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, I’ve seen the struggles not in one province, but two. I’m sure this struggle extends to Prince Edward Island, and even areas in Newfoundland and Labrador. This isn’t an isolated problem.
Because there is so much competition and so much noise, business owners want to spend their time at work, thinking up new ways to drum up business, and of course, operating the day to day of their operations. A web and graphic designer may be the last thing on your mind. I get that!
There are few types of businesses that couldn’t use more money, more eyes, and more business. Even freelancers (photographers, artists), lawyers, accountants, and any service you can think of can benefit from a website.
Many people think they can get a free website or get a family friend to set something up fast. This might be true, but there could be underestimation on what goes into running, operating, and building a functioning website. While being visually appealing and offering information seem like the most important part of having a website, these are just two of several necessities of web design. Designers and developers are proficient in maintaining a website that will help get your business found. Having a web designer can also help you learn how to get found on the web. Nowadays, websites need to be functional both for mobile and web. They also need to be fast, efficient, and considered reliable by Google.
Persons that run websites professionally will be able to identify whether or not a website has a problem. Through using analytical data, and tried and tested methods of website optimization, they can help your website be found through the noise. Through this professional expertise, you can rest assured that your website is taken care of, and can help your business grow.
So, onto that point. Can websites actually help you make money? Absolutely! So long as you’re using your website efficiently. Think about how much you’ve spent on a radio advertisement or newspaper placement. If instead you had spent that money on a one-time website (that will likely not need to be changed too much for a while) you could be looking at returns over the long-term. For local businesses I often lower my rates (between $250 and $500), because I think that local businesses have enough on their plates. Many design firms will charge upwards to $5,000 for a website. But, that just doesn’t suit or local economy.
So, how can websites make money? By showing people where your business is, controlling your own message, and ensuring that your customers know that your business can exist. Facebook pages can certainly be a helpful part of this, but let’s remember that you do not have complete control over Facebook, or their guidelines for posting. This can change at any time. On your own website, you can control your narrative and continue to do so as you grow, expand, or change your focus.
When people google your business what do they find? A Facebook page? Nothing? Maybe they find some news report from years ago. Maybe you’ve changed locations since. Are your business hours visible when they google? Such as through Google My Business. If your business hours have been listed – are they correct? Maybe this was suggested by the general public, and haven’t been updated. I’ve seen it happen that a person’s business was wrongfully listed as closed. You can also control this through a Google My Business account, which I would happily help you set up as part of the small business package.
Websites should also be easy to share and engaging. This can be done by having a photo like the above, and differing ones on each page that show up on google. Through SEO optimization, a web designer can help you to guide how social media shares will show your website. For example:
A bad example of a website share on Facebook
A good example of a website share on Facebook
Web designers can help your business grow because they help you control the conversation. Through beautiful, fast, efficient, and functional design, web designers help you show customers that your business exists. The following statistic is something you should really consider before thinking a website doesn’t matter!
Eighty-one percent of shoppers conduct online research before they make a purchase. Sixty percent begin by using a search engine to find the products they want, and 61 percent will read product reviews before making any purchase. On average, a consumer will visit three stores before making their purchase. — Adweek
If you’re considering a website, or a package, you can check out my rates and services here.
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