We love WordPress – there, we said it. Whether you’re just looking to blog or you need a great looking website for your small businesses, WordPress has developed into a platform that can handle just about any requirement – and, as we’ve already discussed, make it look great. Of course, there are other Content Management Systems out there, and we may be being a bit biased, but we’re not the only ones who think WordPress makes a great business tool, check out the video below for more reasons why you should choose WP for your small business.
When it comes to your company’s brand and image there are few things that are as important today as your website. This virtual ‘shop front’ can be seen the world over and can serve as either an amazing conversion tool, taking your visitors from first click to contact form, or a representation that leaves a poor first impression that sees your visitor never likely to return.
With this in mind then it can’t be overstated as to how important choosing the right web design is. Here we’ll then tell you all there is to know about this process and how you can be sure that your chosen web designer will ‘get you’.
Talking tech waffle?
If you’ve phoned a web designer or web design agency that seems to talk in nothing but techno waffle then the chances are that they’ll be more communicative issues to come. A good, personable web designer will speak your language, regardless of the level of your technical expertise.
Loving the look of existing websites
On a daily basis the majority of us will most likely spend a significant amount of time surfing the internet. During this time be sure to be aware of any websites that you like the look of. Generally you’ll find the web designer’s link in the footer of the web page. This additionally ensures that you’ve seen a genuine website in action from their portfolio. Which leads us onto our next point.
The main selling tool of a web designer’s is their past work. Web design companies should always display a link on their website to their portfolio of previous work, so review their collection of websites to get a good idea of design styles, quality and any particular niches that they may cater for.
Your web designer should be as passionate as you are
When speaking with a potential web designer you should feel as if they are as enthused as you are about your business and what is possible in presenting your company online. If they are lack lustre then the chances are that your design will be too.
When’s your deadline?
If you’re working to a hard and fast deadline then it pays to know that most good web designer agencies get booked up 4 to 6 weeks in advance and far from putting you off you should consider this as a sign of their popularity, and hence the quality of workmanship that they produce.
Web Design Pricing: If it’s too good to be true…
When it comes to the pricing of web design services there are no hard and fast rules. However, good web design takes time and consequently you should expect to set a reasonable budget. Whilst there are many companies offering budget packages for less than £150, you should be aware that such services will not be extensive and most certainly won’t include a design that is unique to your business.
You should additionally consider your potential return on investment. For example, if you sell products where every fourth lead equates to a £10,000+ sale, a website that drives such leads effectively through to your contact form can serve as an invaluable ongoing investment.
In an earlier article we looked at why you would want to invest in a professionally designed eBay template for your listings or your store, in this video from OC Designs, you get to see how easy they can make it for you to get great looking eBay templates to use for your store or listing.
We’re going to be adding short video soon that shows you how easy it is to great a good looking template for your eBay listing using one of the leading providers on the web, but first of all we wanted to spend a bit of time looking at why a well designed template is so important if you’re serious about building your eBay business. If you don’t add many listings at the moment or have only just got your eBay shop, it’s possible you’ve not really paid any attention to the option to use a custom template.
Perhaps you’re put off by the cost of having one designed professionally. However, the truth is that an eBay store will really benefit from having a custom design. A professional eBay template design will pay for itself by increasing sales and boosting revenue. There are several reasons people will be more likely to buy from you if you have use a professional eBay template.
It looks More Professional
Even if you’re selling a product that people want at an attractive price, eBay is a crowded and competitive market. The chances are that a lot of other sellers will be selling similar items at similar prices. So how do you persuade more people to buy from you instead of from competitors? One of the most important ways is to look professional, to reassure buyers that you are a legitimate and trustworthy business seller. A professional eBay template will look far more professional than a standard listing or one of the free templates eBay makes available to everybody. It will look good and give your brand a unique face, while showing that you are a serious seller who invests in the quality of your store.
It Helps Your Store to Stand Out
When people are browsing through a list of search results on eBay, they will often click on a few and look through them all for comparison. Assuming there is no major difference in the items, the one they will stick with and eventually buy will often be the one that catches their eye the most and makes the biggest impression. A custom-designed, professional eBay template will make your listings unique, and help them to create a bigger and more positive impact on customers. They will also help make sure that all the key information and images are clearly visible and laid out well. This will help your listing to engage customers, and make it easier for them to look at your product and assess the key points.
A custom-made, professional eBay template will give your listings extra features that can help boost sales. For example, you might be able to incorporate a separate tab that tells customers about yourself and your business. This will build trust, look more professional, and help them to feel like they know you better and can feel safer buying from you. Alternatively, you can display featured products and incorporate navigation bars encouraging them to browse your store and click into sections that interest them. This makes it easier for them to find other products that might interest them, and can lead to more items being sold to the same customer.
If you’re still in two minds because of the cost, you should look at it as an investment that’s similar to that which any other kind of store would need to make to ensure it could attract the customers is needs. After all, if your store was bricks and mortar rather than online, most new businesses would accept that they’d need to spend some money to make sure they’re business was a success – and your eBay store is no different.
In the past, the world of the internet viewed over the smartphone was seen as something of a secondary concern for many business owners and webmasters. It’s unlikely that many of them, then or perhaps even now, realised just how important the mobile web, and the ever-increasing number of apps, might be for the success of their organisation.
According to industry experts, the growth in mobile is only going to continue, and the fact that Google is changing is whole search algorithm to provide better results over mobile devices, not to mention the choice you have when you’re looking for a specialist and highly-skilled mobile web design or app development company, would seem to demonstrate that this is indeed likely.
Mobile and everywhere
Statistic clearly show that we have now reached the point where more users use their mobile phone to access the internet than do with a desktop PC or laptop and the trend looks set to continue in the next few years. In fact, there are estimates that put the current coverage of smartphones at around 2 billion and expected coverage is expected to comfortably hit 3.5 to 4 billion.
So half the world’s population could be viewing the internet through a smartphone but not only that, users expect the mobile internet to be interactive and responsive to touch. Our mobile phones go everywhere with us and we expect them to help us in our daily life – giving directions, reminding us about events, providing information and much more.
The Google factor
This high usage is the reason that Google are releasing an update in April that will change how sites are rated on their vitally important search engines based on the quality of the mobile website they provide. Google is looking for sites that give users a faster and smoother experience and will rate sites higher than comply with this than those that don’t.
So why does this matter? Mainly because Google is the biggest name in search engines and 48% of searches online start with a search engine. You go to Google, type in what you are looking for and it provides you with the results it thinks are best suited. It uses many factors to determine these results and when the new algorithm starts, mobile sites will be placed according to their relevance to smartphone users.
Apps for all
The other important statistics for businesses and brands is the amount of time people spend on mobile apps rather than just on mobile sites. Around 89% of a user’s time is spent using the internet through an app, rather than merely pulling up a website through a browser than might, or might not, be optimised for their phone. This means that the creation of a quality mobile app is a must for a growing business to attract customers via the smartphone market.
So in your next meeting with your web designer, app developer or general computer whiz kid, the question you should be asking is – how good is our mobile site? Do we have an app in development? Because if the answer is no to these questions, you are potentially going to miss out on a lot of traffic from the world of smartphones comes April 21st when the new algorithm begins to shape the mobile world.
When it comes to their websites, most business owners know that it’s important that they make a good impression. Medium and large-sized organisations usually have sizeable budgets to develop their web presence, so developing an attractive site that will appeal to their target audience isn’t usually too much of a problem. But what about website for smaller businesses – are they up to the same standard?
In a lot of cases, unfortunately not, and many small business websites, from flower shops to pub websites, would struggle to be described as ‘attractive’ or ‘appealing’. These smaller organisations face a number of issues that may make it hard to create a well-designed website – namely time and money. Or at least, that’s the perception of many small business owners.
Many feel that setting up a website would require them to hire an expensive designer or developer, and getting the kind of website they want for their business will therefore cost a lot of money, and also take up a lot of time going back and forth with the designer to get things right. And even if they are able to get the website their business needs, they might think they’re going to have an even bigger headache when it comes to choosing the right kind of SEO services so their site gets found in the search engines. Grapefruit Marketing (www.thegrapefruit.co.uk), a London SEO company who have been achieving excellent results for their clients, say that SEO is so often only considered at the end of the process, when the best possible optimisation really should be at the very heart of any website design.
The reality is however, very different – it’s just that so many small business owners aren’t aware of their options, or once again, they don’t have the time to investigate the alternatives that would allow them to get an attractive website for not a huge amount of money.
With content management systems like WordPress, Drupal and Joomla, and thousands of high quality themes developed by designers all over the world (all of them easily customisable to get the unique look each owner wants), expensive, bespoke websites aren’t the only option for people who want something that’s really going to sell their business and give potential customers the right impression.
Spending only a small amount of time looking in the right places will turn up any number of experienced and cost-effective developers that can quickly and cheaply put together the kind of website that might look like it cost thousands, when it was really only a few hundred dollars.
While some small businesses might feel that having any kind of website up, no matter how bad it looks, is better than nothing, they could actually be doing more harm than good. Think about it, if you owned a flower shop, would you just throw your flowers in the window so people could see what you sell, and rely on them coming in to show them how you’d make them into a nice bouquet? If you run a restaurant or bar, does your menu just have pictures of the raw ingredients for the meals you serve, and the customer gets to see how beautifully put together their dish is only after they’ve ordered it? Hardly!
The design of a small business website deserves the same care and attention as any shop window or menu, or any other kind of marketing for that matter. In fact, most business experts would probably say that it deserves even more attention, since the number of people that search for a product or service online is growing every year, and your website might be the only chance you have of attracting new customers.
So, whatever the excuse has been in the past, whether it’s the time or the money, the fact that a well-designed website is only going to become more essential, not to mention that it’s now cheaper and easier to obtain, means that anybody who’s serious about the success of their enterprise should take a look at making their website the very best it can be. It could be one of the best business decisions they make.