It's 2017, and having a physical storefront isn't enough anymore - you need to have an online presence in order to stay competitive. However, you're faced with many options when it comes to starting a website for your small business.
Having been inundated with advertisements for competing services, which one should you choose? Is it really worth it to invest time in building a website? And, most importantly, how can you get your website to actually make you money?
Beware of boutique design agencies who make extraordinary claims about the kind of profit they can make you online. If they're so good at it, why aren't they doing it for themselves? You will probably be better off choosing a provider and building a website yourself. It is absolutely possible to build a successful online presence, but the truth is that it requires a constant input of energy and upkeep. Before deciding to build a website for your small business, you need to ask yourself how much time you're willing to invest in it. You will need to constantly add content in order to stay relevant. It's okay if that means writing only one blog post per month, but be aware that the success of your website will be proportional to the amount of work you put in.
Having an online presence is important. Even if your business is a small corner store or flower shop, be aware that new customers are most likely to discover you using their mobile device. To start, add your business to Google Maps using Google My Business. This is a free and simple action you can take that will yield immediate results. Next, you can get a leg up on your competition by leveraging your website to its full potential. We'll talk about how to do that next.
Choose the right platform for your small business. The web hosting platform you should choose largely depends on what you plan to offer on your website. If you are simply offering information and directions to your place of business, it may suffice to build a simple one-page website with a site builder like Wix or Weebly. If you plan on building a larger website with a portfolio, you will want to consider using a content management system such as WordPress or Squarespace. Lastly, if you want to sell products online, you probably will not do any better than Shopify. Using their service, you can start with a simple template and upload your own photos and videos. You can use a simple, visual editor to construct your website. From there, it's a simple matter to add products, manage inventory, and fulfill your orders. You can seamlessly integrate sales through your website and physical location and manage them all in one place. Of course, you have many options to choose from. Make sure to do some research to see which one is the best fit for your small business.
Hosting your small business website is a breeze. If you've never built a website before, you will be best off starting with one of the popular visual builders. They offer design, hosting, and domain packages all in one, so you can focus on the look and feel of your site instead of worrying about the technical details. Of course, if you have a specific design in mind, you'll want to host your website on a server and manage the backend yourself. If you decide to go down this road, be aware that it will require a significant investment of time and money.
You can increase your reach with simple SEO tactics. The easiest way to do this is to become a platform for content. Invest some time every week or month into writing informative, keyword-rich articles for your website that your customers will find relevant. If you want to take your site to the next level, invest some money into Google AdWords to show up first in relevant search results.