Ten years ago, businesses could put together a nice-looking website that basically acted as a digital brochure, and feel confident that they had built a web presence. On today's information superhighway, that type of website design is destined to become roadkill.
Today, website design for small businesses and large corporations alike takes a serious plan, some specialized knowledge, and a lot of work. Attracting traffic to your website is one step in a complex process that, when it's done correctly, turns visitors into buyers and helps you get more clients or customers.
- Give Them A Reason To Come – Having a website is not a one-and-done proposition because, in order to improve your website ranking and make your web presence known, you need a continual flow of fresh and shareable content on your site. Search engines like Google give preference in their Search Engine Results Page (SERP) rankings to sites that are frequently updated, while sites that are not updated often have their SERP rankings decreased. The content your site offers should give visitors a reason to visit your site, and to share your content with their contacts; simply posting company announcements and promotions alone won't cut it. Offer them helpful, interesting, or entertaining content that's worth their time, and they'll come … and keep coming back.
- Keep Up With SEO Evolution – SEO practices in the current market are largely determined by Google's SERP algorithms, which have been through some major changes since 2008. That's when Google began to reward sites with original content and penalize sites for having duplicate content. More recently, Google implemented changes that penalize websites that are not fully mobile-responsive, slower-loading sites, and sites which do not use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) security. Achieving strong SERP rankings is critical, because about 95 percent of the sites users visit after making a web search on Google, Yahoo!, or Bing are on page one of the SERPs for that search. If your site isn't ranking on the first page of SERPs for its most likely search terms, it has less than a five percent chance of being seen by search engine users at all. This is why working to improve your website's SEO and the resulting ranking is so important.
- Feed Your Site Through Social Media – Your website is a specialized tool designed to walk visitors through a carefully crafted path that, hopefully, leads them to buy. Your social media, though, is the place where you build a community around your brand, and interact with customers and prospects. Used effectively, social media gives you a perfect platform for building brand loyalty and expanding your reach, developing social endorsement, and managing your brand impression by building relationships with your followers. When you've got an engaged following on social media, you're in a strong position to attract those users to your site over and over, to get those people to market for you by sharing your content, and to take desirable actions like joining mailing lists, signing up for a newsletter, or coming to in-person events.
Website Design For Small Business Is A Brave New World
Building an effective online presence for your business rests on the foundation of your website. If you build that site as part of a comprehensive online marketing plan, you'll have the support you need for converting social media followers, prospects who saw your ads or met you at a trade show, and people who found you on page one of the SERPs. An effective website will greet those visitors at the "door," help them find solutions while building trust with your brand, and keep them engaged until they're ready to buy.