The Internet is growing at an exceedingly rapid rate and it’s not going to slow down anytime soon because by the year 2015, it’s been projected that global Internet traffic will quadruple.
Right now Facebook is the world largest social media network with over 900 million users. If Facebook has that many users online and is adding more every day, just imagine how many people are actually using the Internet for other things besides Facebook.
The Internet gives your business access to users around the world because anyone with an Internet connection on their computer, laptop, tablet or mobile device such as the iPhone can find your website.
If you don’t have an Internet presence, how are people going to find your business and buy from you instead of your competitors?
There are thousands of designers across the country and even internationally that specialize in Web design and development. Many designers either work independently also known as self-employed freelancers, while others work for small, medium or large-size design studios or ad agencies. These designers have the education, skills, knowledge and understanding what it takes to create a successful functioning website that is also ascetically pleasing to the eye.
Depending on where you live, what you’re looking for in your website and the designer(s) you want to hire to create your site, price can vary and range from as little as $200 to over $100,000 based on a variety of factors such as number of Web pages, photos and graphics, videos, scripting, and Flash animation.
The cost of the website all depends on what you need to have on it to make it work for your business.
Another option is to use a website builder service that helps you create a website from a variety of pre-designed templates and step-by-step instructions. Go Daddy recently teamed up with OfficeMax to offer web services exclusively in-stores for those who desire on-site support.
However, before you jump into creating a website or run away scared about the initial cost to have it done, there are five important things you will need to first consider, thanks to OfficeMax and Go Daddy for providing these small business website tips.
Top 5 Tips for a successful website:
1. Name Wisely – Choosing a name for your Web address is a critical element, as it is the foundation of your online presence. Select a short, easy to spell and memorable name that clearly reflects your business, products and/or services. If your ideal domain name is already taken, don’t panic. Try adding a transition or generic word like “the” or “company,” or consider a different top level domain (e.g. .net, .org, .info, or .biz) or backorder the domain name in case the current owner does not renew. Another option is to use an underscore ( _ ) or dash (-) in your name.
2. Make a Great First Impression – Create your website with the end-user in mind which is your target audience. You will need to make the website visually pleasing and easy to navigate since many users only spend an average of 10-20 seconds on a page. Categorize your Web pages by topic and provide clear and logical navigation with a toolbar that runs horizontally or vertically on each page. Use language that is direct and easy to understand and reinforces your company mission and values. While it may look creative or exciting to have animation, videos or other special effects on your website, the fact is that it can increase the load time of your site and be distracting, which may not only deter visitors, but prevent them from ever returning to your site in the future. Your website may be the only interaction a customer has with your company, so make the first visit useful and worthwhile.
Fact: 75% of Internet users agreed that they would not return to a website if it did not load within 4 seconds.
Fact: Smartphone users will leave a website if it doesn’t load within 3 seconds.
3. Be Accessible – Provide opportunities for potential customers to contact you without jumping through hoops by posting contact information on the main page of your site. While there are likely multiple ways to reach you from email to fax or even Twitter, focus on contact methods that you want people to use and ones you monitor regularly. When it comes to your email, share one that you use for public inquiries, as it’s possible spammers will find it, and keep your personal email addresses separate.
Fact: 60% of small business websites do not include a phone number on their homepages.
4. Go Mobile – With more than 44% of U.S. consumers using smartphones to shop and research, make sure your website is also configured and optimized for mobile use. If you find consumers visiting your site frequently from mobile devices, consider creating a mobile app for your business to better serve these customers. Contributing factors such as loading CSS style sheets, loading scripts, loading images, and loading HTML can play a huge role in how fast and compatible your website will be with mobile users.
Fact: A whopping 93% of small business websites are not mobile friendly, which can result in lost business.
5. Optimize It – Drive traffic to your site through Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Search engines use algorithms to determine when and where your website comes up in search results. Major factors that improve SEO include the frequency and prevalence of keywords on your site and “tagging” select terms. SEO can be a rigorous process, so engage an expert or use a step-by-step website builder to help increase your website visibility.