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One-third of all businesses in the United States do not have a website, according to the Small Business Administration. If yours is one of them, you’re probably failing to attract new customers, retain existing customers, and grow your organization. Because, according to Statista, nearly one in three American consumers with Internet access searches for local businesses. Daily. 16% more look for this type of information several times a week.
But what does it take to develop a good site? The answer differs depending on the individual companies.
Here are some key considerations.
Find the right platform
Even if your business has never had an online presence, you’ve probably heard of WordPress or Shopify. Originally considered a blogging platform, the first, based in San Francisco, has become one of the most popular choices for small and medium businesses. Shopify, meanwhile, a multinational based in Ottawa, Ont. Famous for its exclusive online store platform and point-of-sale systems, now generates nearly $ 3 billion in revenue. There are many other players out there, and which one is best for you depends on several factors. Start with what a site needs to accomplish. Are you looking to generate inquiries or do you want to sell online … or both?
And who will build the site? Some platforms offer templates and drag-and-drop options, but most ultimately find them restrictive. Having the option of further customization is helpful.
Related: 5 things to consider when selecting a website platform for your business
Another initial consideration is that while most startups or growing businesses have limited budgets, it’s worth considering your website as an investment. This will be the first impression most potential customers will have of your organization – this fact alone is why advice from experienced web developers is invaluable.
About 70% of online shopping carts are abandoned before a purchase is complete, according to the Baymard Institute. To prevent your business from adding to this shocking statistic, it’s important to select the most appropriate payment gateway and payment processor. They work hand in hand and help make the payment process easy and convenient for online customers. Before committing to a vendor, determine if their service will integrate seamlessly with the design and functionality of your website and other operational systems. Weigh the cost of individual subscriptions and purchases for each provider against the revenue your business is likely to generate online. Additional considerations include transaction security and fraud prevention. Reputable providers will also be accredited to prove that they comply with data protection regulations.
Create beauty and functionality
Successful design isn’t just about creating a pretty site; it’s about representing your brand online and getting potential customers to interact. Well-designed pages make it easy for visitors to find what they are looking for, whether it’s information or a product. They also respond seamlessly to any device that visitors use, be it a desktop browser, app, tablet, or smartphone. Of course, not everyone is born with a design sense, so it’s worth getting professional support to make sure your business maximizes its opportunities.
Develop a successful SEO strategy
Even the best looking website can’t work if the search engines neglect it. Search engine optimization (SEO) is an ongoing and vital effort to improve content in order to rank higher in searches. It doesn’t have to be hard work, however. Building a successful strategy is all about understanding how your customers are looking for your business and creating content to answer their questions and solve their problems. Every page needs a clear focal point that is easily identified by Google.
Related: Help your business thrive online with a solid SEO strategy
The sooner you start optimizing your content for search engines, the sooner you will start seeing results. Keep in mind that a successful SEO strategy is subject to regular changes, as search engines regularly update their algorithms, with the goal of delivering ever more targeted results. Keeping up to date doesn’t have to be strenuous, but if you’re too busy with other day-to-day operations to do so, consider bringing in a professional.
Focus on content marketing
Blogs, articles, and social media posts all provide a business with the ability to connect with potential customers. Such content marketing is all about creating opportunities to be seen online, while providing value to the reader. It doesn’t have to be difficult: as an expert in a field, you can share your expertise for the benefit of an audience. Like SEO, content marketing is stronger when it is applied regularly and used to create a strong bond between a business and its stakeholders.
Related: Branding is more than an accessory: it is the foundation of any business
Without a website, your business is missing out on opportunities. However, a poorly designed model can be almost as damaging as not at all. Creating success online starts with understanding your brand and how an audience enjoys interacting with it. With this information, you and your designer can effectively refine the look and functionality of an organization’s web presence.