With an explosion in online shopping in Australia, now is the time to strike for up and coming businesses. But there is a common mistake many are making.
A website is your piece of real estate on the internet and for most small businesses, a necessity.
With more than 80 per cent of households shopping online since last year, according to Australia Post, how your website looks and functions can help your brand stand out.
Director of marketing for GoDaddy Products Mary Kelly says while website design and management has become cheaper and easier, it pays to plan well.
“As you plan for building a website for your business or side hustle, there are several areas to consider in advance which can help your business grow,” she says.
BEFORE YOU START
Firstly, determine your business website’s goals and identify your intended audience.
“Think about your unique value proposition and how can you showcase it with content and images,” says Kelly. “Do you want to sell your products and services on your website or promote your website with marketing tools?
“Consider choosing an online provider that offers a variety of tools that can help support your digital presence goals and offers customer support to help you along the way.”
THE BASIC ELEMENTS
Your website is where you control messaging and information about your business, so determine the basic elements you wish to include.
Kelly says these can be: your company’s story, what it does, descriptions and images of your products and services; an online store; appointment bookings; and, a call to action with contact and location information.
“Include elements such as: customer testimonials; a blog; and, social media channel share buttons, to help drive engagement,” she says.
Ensuring your digital presence is optimised for mobile and other devices is a critical element of business strategy, says Kelly.
GETTING THE LOOK RIGHT
“Small businesses need to get noticed and keep customers’ attention on their website,” says Kelly. “The look and feel should reflect the business, its owners and its products and services.
“This can be achieved through the choice of images, colours, fonts, graphics, video elements to provide relevant and engaging content for the visitor.”
THINGS TO AVOID
People tend to want to say everything about their business all at once, says Kelly, but having too much text and not enough white space on a page can appear cluttered and confusing.
“Website visitors are coming to your site with a very specific goal, such as to view a menu, book a service, and you want to make this as easy as possible,” she says.
“Not including business contact information on an easy to find area of the website can be frustrating especially for a mobile user.”
WHEN TO UPDATE
Avoid your website looking stale and dated by performing minor but regular content updates.
“Keep your website fresh, but that doesn’t mean frequent complete site makeovers, as you want to establish a consistent look and feel your customers will grow to trust,” says Kelly.
“Updates can be made when you have changes to your business, new products and services, a new blog article, new customer testimonials, a special offer, seasonal sales and photos.”
BE FOUND ON GOOGLE
There are a number of ways to help lift a website for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), says Kelly. “Attention to SEO is important to help your website show higher on the list of search results pages.
“The use of keywords, or the word or phrase that someone would type into a search engine, should be used consistently across your website.”
BEAUTY IN SIMPLICITY
Barnett Building owners Ben and Jodie Barnett say their construction and renovation website serves as a portfolio for customers to view their work.
“Ben and I formed the company about eight years ago,” says Ms Barnett. “He’s the face of the business and has the building experience, I’m in the office doing the admin, finances and website.
“When we first started, we used another company to build and manage our website and it was a nightmare as we had to constantly contact them to make changes.
“Through GoDaddy I use their template and play around with the design features. It’s easy and really cost effective. I went for simplicity and made photos the main aspect with nice, clear information.”
ENSURE YOUR SITE IS SECURE
Include security protections for your website from the very start. Installing an SSL Certificate for a website helps to protect the transmission of personal information from the website to the server, and can help build trust with customers for your business, as Google marks websites without an SSL certificate attached as “not secure”.