How much does a website cost

The typical answer would be “it depends”, but I want to be quite detailed in this article. It pays to be prepared when you shop around, knowing that you’re not being charged too much, but also to know that your expectations and objectives are in line with those of your website provider.

“It depends” however, is an accurate answer. Pricing a website is far less about the number of pages and its functionality than it is about the website design, business objectives and the availability of information.

Let me break it down.

Before your Web Design Company can start pricing

Keep in mind that your website is a reflection of your business, whether that is a brochure site or a shopping cart, so if you’re expecting your web company to accurately present your business, then be prepared to answer a list of questions. In most cases a website is aimed to achieve above a list of competitors. To make that happen, your web designer must be familiar not only with your business, but also that of your competitors.

So, even before your web design company can start pricing, they need to fully understand your objectives, your products and services and your clients and they may need to spend some time on researching that information.

A very basic website

Unless you want a bespoke design, one that truly reflects your brand and your business, you can probably work with a templated design. That may work to keep design costs to a minimum. The may be build is limited to adding a logo, changing colours and adding content, so the expectation can be that this is the least expensive way to build a website.

Don’t be fooled by how much work is really involved though. In my experience, the minimum time to set up a meaningful website, including creating the core, adding templates, written content, images, logo, SEO, security etc. will take between 16 and 24 hours. That excludes meeting with the client, assumes that images need little or no manipulation and that content is supplied in a web-ready format and also that there is no functionality beyond perhaps a web form.

It you’ve ever worked with templates then you’ll know that they can be very restrictive and to make any changes outside of the allowed parameters can be frustrating and can take time. If you want a low-cost website, then don’t expect anything that falls outside of the template design or functionality.

A bespoke design

You may be surprised that many web designers or developers use some form of template even for bespoke designs. For some of my websites I use one standard template that provides most of the “device responsiveness”. That saves me time, but does add some “bloat” (strictly unnecessary code) to the website and can therefore compromise performance. It’s a payoff I can live with most of the time.

The templates I use do not restrict design and, before I even think of the build, I design both the front page and the follow up pages. Those are presented to the client on A4 paper.

The design proves can be time-consuming, not only to gather ideas, but inevitably, a final design usually consists of a few failed attempts before the final showing on glossy paper.

Bespoke design usually places more emphasis on the business brand compared to a templated design. Brand, presentation, user interface and a many other parameters have to be geared towards the business and must consider outcomes. That usually means a longer meeting time with the client, more research and sometimes a second or third attempt after the initial presentation.

If you want a bespoke design then anticipate that you need to work closely with your web design company and that you or someone in your business has to spend time on the project. Also remember not to be too prescriptive. If you’ve chosen your web design company well, then trust them on their guidance. How much more time to add for a bespoke design depends on many factors. Usually your web design company can give you an accurate quote after the first meeting. Be prepared to spend the time with the designer in that meeting and don’t expect a quotation without an initial meeting.

If you’re after a bespoke design and you’re still shopping for a web design company to work with, then be prepared to kiss a few frogs. You’ll find that the pricing can differ significantly. Be careful not to choose on price alone.

Website Content

I’ve seen websites held up by over a year because of a misunderstanding around content. As web designers we’re unlikely to be experts in your field of business. Many times I’ve come across the expectation that the web designer magically creates content. Even where the content is supplied, it has to be re-written (usually condensed) and geared towards “web speak”. Don’t underestimate the time it takes to come up with the right hero words and images. If you’re no prepared to pay your web designer for the time then you may want to work with a branding agency on some areas of content.

A good business website should have images that are unique to the business, i.e. not stock images. For that there may be the cost of a professional photographer and the cost of image manipulation. The images that are take on a phone or are on the business Facebook page seldom make good website content, and if they do then they usually require some time-consuming manipulation.

Selecting stock images that are consistent with the business brand and image also takes time, so even for a templated site this must be taken into consideration.

Be clear with your web designer who is responsible for providing and reshaping the website content and be clear about the direct costs and time costs.

Skills and knowledge of your web designer  

Experience counts for a lot. Learning about my clients business is one of great positives of being a web designer. The website success is greatest where the web designer can get immersed in their client’s business and work closely with them, not only during the design and build phase, but also after the project completion, on the marketing and SEO of the website.

It pays to use a website designer who can write sufficiently well so that you don’t have to re-write the content yourself. Also, it’s worthwhile to choose a design company that has some experience with your business products and services, or enough business experience to be able to relate to the needs of your clients. After all, most websites are created to speak to your clients or to your potential clients. (See how to choose a web design company).

So what is the actual cost of the website

Expect to pay at least $2000-$4000 for a basic templated site, even if you supply all the written and content. That should include the complete website, with initial on-page SEO take care of.

For a bespoke design you can pay anything over $4000. Factor in the design time, potentially the cost of a professional photographer, branding agency, graphic designer (if required) and the time it takes to create content (written and media), research, etc. and the cost will be anything above that. With a bespoke design, the answer really is “it depends”.

So how can you get a reasonable estimate? The answer is to meet with your potential web designer before you expect a quotation. Trust me, that meeting is essential for all parties.

What about on-going costs?

That’s perhaps the topic of another blog, but understand that having a website without active SEO and on-going marketing is a lot like arranging a party and forgetting to invite the guests. Expect to allocate some on-going costs to make your website a success.

What you should know before you get a website for your business

Investing in a website for business a smart move and in some cases it’s essential. A website could open a vast array of online possibilities; you could be expanding to an online store, arranging your appointments, gaining online traction for advertising or simply use your website to gain awareness. Before you dive in, here are a few useful things that you should tick off about website design for business.

Purpose and the desired outcomes

I’m big on knowing exactly what your website should achieve and it is usually the first question that I ask my prospective clients. To a large extent the purpose and the desired outcomes determine how the website is designed, built and marketed and that determines the overall cost.

Purpose could simply state whether the website is an online shop or a brochure website and outline the technical functionality of the website.

The desired outcomes are more complicated. I’ve come across businesses that expected their website to take all the business and more away from their competitors. That’s just not going to happen. I remind my clients that the desired website outcomes have to have to be based on solid market research. No website will generate more business than there actually is in the market. Realistic planning avoids disappointment as is simply a part of a good business strategy.

Content

Probably the most time-consuming part of building a website is to create meaningful content. Even if the content already exists in some form in the business, then it has to be prepared and often re-written to form meaningful website content.

Producing that content also requires intimate subject knowledge and familiarity with your business. When you read on a web designer’s website that the first step in the process to build a website is to “get to know your business”, then that is meant sincerely. Without knowing your business well, no web developer will be able to write meaningfully about it and its products.

Producing written content that is factually accurate and in line with your brand, values and character of your business is one thing, writing it well is quite another. My advice is to get your website developed by someone within your country and by someone who has access to a professional writer.

Rich media like images and videos are important to communicate the uniqueness and character of your business and brand. Consider using your own photographs on the website rather than stock images. If you do then a professional photographer of videographer are a must. Even if the images that are above average, they may just not be good enough to create impact for your website.

Don’t underestimate the cost in time and money that creating good content requires.

Website Design and Build Budget

Just like content, the design and build requires specialist skills and knowledge. I have seen few effective websites that have been built by amateurs, although I’ve also been surprised by what can be achieved. Designing and building a good website is time-consuming, even if you use online web platforms like Wix or Squarespace.

With the build you have to consider the build platform. My experience is that most businesses are not too concerned about that, but it’s really important. Some platforms e.g. Drupal and WordPress may require more maintenance than online platforms, but are fast and flexible if you want to expand the functionality of the website. In contrast, the hosting costs of online platforms like Wix and Squarespace are usually quite high and less flexible for expansion. I like using WordPress since it is both flexible and well supported for expansion and there is no question about the ownership of the website. It can easily be transferred should that be necessary.

Marketing Methods

If the purpose of your website is to win more business for the company, then it has to be marketed. A website can be seen as the shop window to your business and as such it has to be shown to your target prospects.

You now have to work with an SEO and online marketing company to get the website seen.

That includes not only getting the website as close to perfect with “technical SEO” (your web developer should do that), but also noticed with on-page and off-page marketing. Off-page SEO is a vast subject and there are many varied approaches to it. Some may work for your business while others may not. Knowing which methods work is the task of your SEO Partner. Analysing, and making adjustments to content and method are usually required as is on-going link-building and content creation and marketing.

Then there is paid advertising through Google PPC and other paid online advertising. To be effective and especially cost-effective, knowledge of your particular product and market is essential.

Who to partner with

Time, cost and effort aside, the most important decision you can make in creating and effective website is whom to partner with. And don’t be fooled, it must be a partnership. Creating an effective website is an on-going commitment and process. Do it right and your sales may go through the roof. Do and average job and your money spent will be wasted.

The company you will work with has to take time to understand your business and objectives. They have to work closely with your sales and your marketing department, your photographer, your content creator.

SEO and web design are very closely linked. I believe that they should be done by the same company or businesses that work together very closely. They have to have the one common goal: “to make your website achieve and surpass your purpose and desired outcomes.”

What to look for when choosing a web design company

When you start asking around, you’ll find that the offerings to build a website for your business are many and varied, from those that want to supply a quick “template” design to others that offer a fully customized website with all the bells and whistles.

So, what are the real considerations? Are web design companies that offer cheap template designs a worse choice over those that offer the full customized Monty, or is something in-between right for you? You’ll find that there are other more important considerations than costs when making your choice.

The most important point I want to make here is that a website is not a stand-alone entity. It has many moving parts. The question really is whether the company that you choose to work with can handle all the various parts and whether the objectives that the business wants to achieve with the website will be reached.

What are the objectives?

That’s usually my lead-in question when I meet a new potential client. It goes deeper than: “I want more leads” or “I want a website that looks really flash”.

I encourage my clients to put real and researched figures to it. It’s unlikely that you’ll become the top-selling wedding-dress company, or the most popular business consultant, lawyer, real estate agent, IT company (insert your business category here), just because you have a flash-looking website.  (There are very few exceptions).

When I discuss these objectives with my clients, I will usually have done some market research myself. Figures like the market size, the competitors, local and seasonal variation, etc. are valuable when placing expectations on the performance of a website.

The many components of a website

Setting out the objectives usually leads to the realization that there are many components that are linked to the website’s performance. For example, a website without rigorous SEO will simply not perform. Neither will a website with badly written, or irrelevant content, slow speed, low engagement, or incomplete and low-value link building. Equally, there are other components that should be considered in your choice of a web design company.

This list of components will lead to a list of questions that your web design company should have ready answers to. Let’s look at some of them:

SEO or Search Engine Optimisation

SEO is a vast topic and one that is easily misunderstood. SEO is so closely linked to the website itself that I believe that website build and SEO should be done by the same company or a team that works together closely. My advice is not to choose the website and SEO Company separately. Frequently, an action relating to SEO will require a change on the website and vice versa. Sometimes the content wording, sometimes even the hero-wording that is linked to the identity of the business will need to change. If there is a divergence in thinking between web and SEO companies it could be detrimental to the performance of the website.

Ask your web designer how they will handle the on-page and off-page content SEO.

Technical SEO can be complex at best and only and above average understanding will lead to an above-average website.

How well does your web design company understand technical SEO and how do they apply it.

Content

Ensuring that your website ranks high in search engines is more and more reliant on good content. Keep in mind that this content has to be created, not only for the first instance of the website but also on an on-going basis. What’s more, the content has to be informative, relevant, and engaging. If you choose a web design company that is all about design and little about content, you’ll end up having a flash-looking website that no one visits because it does not rank for relevant searches.

Discuss in detail where that content will come from. Usually, the expectation is that the business will supply the content. Understand that there is a cost to that and one that is frequently underestimated.  Someone with sufficient technical knowledge in your business has to supply this content for it to accurately reflect the product and service offerings of the business. Furthermore, it has to be written in a language that is engaging to your target audience and then distributed, not only via the website but also on relevant social media platforms.

Can your web designer take an active part in re-wording this content with an understanding of the complexities of your business and publish content on various platforms?

Analysis

Keeping an eye on what works and what doesn’t, who visits the site, how visitors engage, where they come from, how they are referred and other analysis, is all-important. Since we started with objectives, it’s now prudent to ensure that the objectives are reached. Measuring website performance is as important as measuring business performance.

Ask your web design company how they will handle this, whether you get on-going reports and importantly, who looks at the report, works with you on the interpretation, and how the required changes to the findings will be implemented.

Conclusion

There are other specific questions. Importantly, initial and monthly costs should be clear. Understand how your web designer handles ownership of content and URL, hosting platforms, delivery timeframes, software integration, security, and training. Ask about previous projects and successes and get client references.

More and more I learn that being a good web designer has less to do with design and more to do with how I engage with my clients. Those that want a quick website and little else are unlikely to succeed on their website journey, whereas those that engage me as a part of their team, bounce ideas off me and allow me to lead the complete web journey, those that understand that a website is a living entity with many tentacles, are the ones that achieve success.

Ask your web design company how they will engage with your business during the build of the website and what their long-term approach is. Remember that for a successful website, your web design company will be part of your team.

5 Things To Keep In Mind For Your New Website

Build your own website in 3 easy steps” to “No coding or design skills required“. Usually, these offerings allow you to select a template that you then populate with your own images and text. You may think, that a template allows you to just add text and images to pre-defined spaces. You’re done, Bob’s your uncle and you have a website.

There’s more to the actual process of building your website than slotting text and images into place and there are many considerations before you start building your site and some things to wrap up after your site has been built. None of that is usually included in your DIY offering.

But whether you use a web developer or are a DIYer, here are some things to consider:

  1. Planning
    Like many worthwhile things we create, much of the final success lies in the initial planning. Every website should have a clear purpose. It is easy in the design and development process to lose sight of that purpose.
  2. Is the right person doing the work
    In contrast to the advertising of DIY websites, sourcing the right images, formatting and placing them on the site is actually very time-consuming. The same is true for creating text content, look and feel, colours, and layout. We suggest working with someone that is experienced in graphic design or at least get an idea of what the site will look like before you dive in.
  3. Hosting
    Make sure that your site is hosted locally and that you have someone that can deal with the technical challenges of hosting. Some of the things to consider are cost, security, encryption, mail gateways, site performance, not to mention the legalities, especially if your site is a shopping cart.
  4. Search Engine Optimisation
    SEO is paramount to the success of your site and has to be kept in mind throughout the design and build process. Search engines like Google have complex rules that change from time to time and your website has to be flexible to work with the changes. Your initial design and wording content is as important as keeping current.
  5. Keeping things going
    The formula to keep your site being found is not an easy one, but in short, if you create lots of original content and you get ‘liked’ on social networks, then it’s likely that your website will perform well. None of that happens without constant and time-consuming work.

You see that there is no silver bullet to getting noticed on the web and that, like anything worthwhile, it requires hard work. It’s not that we don’t support DIY, but keep in mind that often DIY ends up in not done well or not done at all.
Give us a call at Hello Web.
Uli

5 Things That Get In The Way Of Website Success

Every website is created for a purpose. From the outset, it’s critical to define what that purpose is and how to create your website accordingly. If you find that your website is not fulfilling its objectives, then there are likely some things in the planning or the execution that are neglected. Here are five things that you can check.

  • You don’t understand your audience
  • The website does not communicate immediately what it is about
  • The website visitor cannot engage
  • It is technically poor or incomplete
  • It’s simply not found or – you’re ignoring Google.

Simply put, if a website is well and strategically planned it has a far greater chance of success.

Let’s look at those points.

You don’t understand your audience.
Spend time to research your audience. Speak to your best clients and find out exactly what they would be typing into a Google search to find you. Never lose sight of those important keywords since a lot of your content and advertising will be built around that. That way you ensure that your website caters to your audience and also to your unique selling point. (USP). Keep in mind that times change and websites have to keep up. For instance, did you know that now well over half of searches are done on mobile devices and that voice searches are on the increase? That alone may change the wording on your website.

The website does not communicate immediately what it is about
No one wants to spend time to figure out what a website is about. You have only a few seconds to leave an impression. If the visitor can’t immediately tell what you’re offering they’ll simply move on. So, one of the first things we do is to re-think how we communicate your value proposition, your “above the fold” content and your navigation. The aim here is to make sure that your website speaks immediately to those visitors that are in your target audience. Since we now know your target audience, that will already be somewhat easier.

The visitor cannot engage.
How frustrating is it to come across a business that you want to contact but you can’t find a phone number on the website. If you want new business through your website then make it easy for your visitors to engage with you. Even more, prompt them to engage, in fact, stop just before you beg them to engage. Understand that your average site visitor needs a nudge (and sometimes a shove) to take that final step. There is a good reason that exit popups and live chat popups are so popular. However much you may dislike them, they actually work.

The website is technically poor or incomplete.
I could conjure up a long list of things of technical things that I take care of when I build a website. Surprisingly I come across many websites in my website review where not even the very basics are taken care of. Although clean code and adding Alt Tags to your images is paramount, a well-constructed website goes far beyond that. It seems though that many web developers think that their job is complete when the website is launched and up and running. The technical aspects are mostly invisible to the client as well as the website visitor, but they have a far-reaching impact on the ultimate success of the site. Ignore the technical side at your peril. You’ll be happy enough with the end result until you realize far down the line that the money and effort that you’ve spent has gone wasted, simply because Google will place you way down the search rankings.

You’re ignoring Google
If we follow the first 4 points we’ve already won some of Google’s respect. If you understand your target audience and your content is successful in engaging them quickly then Google will also understand your target audience and your website. In that respect, Google has to be treated just like your best customer.
But there is more. Google offers a host of tools that allows us to analyse and further improve the understanding of your target audience and how they engage with your website. Over time we use those tools to make constant improvements to the website and to conversions.
Google also gives us an opportunity to advertise and I believe that no business should ignore that. If you have a well-working site then using Google’s paid advertising is inexpensive and effective.

Start your website journey with a thorough and strategic plan, from knowing your audience to the presentation of your business on the web and ultimately to the marketing of the website and the growth and change that it has to undergo over time. I believe that then you’ll be rewarded with a successful online journey.

Contact me at Hello Web

Why would your website customer look elsewhere?

With online, only the shop window has changed. All else remains what it always was. 

We still look into the shop windows and then make the decision either to enter or to move on. The landing page of your website is your most important web page.
Today around 70% of all purchases start with a browse on the Internet, and some time down the line that will either lead to a click on the “Buy Now” button or a visit to a shop or business with the view to purchase.

All businesses can have a shop window.

Where the shop window was the realm of those that had street fronts and sold services to passers-by, now those that would merely hang a sign above the door, the accountant or lawyer, IT Company or graphic design studio, in fact anyone who runs a business (and is concerned about not missing out on 70% of the market), has to stage a successful landing page (often the home page) in order to be successful at attracting customers.
Your landing page is all about “visual” and not all businesses lend themselves to what only the eye can see. It’s worthwhile to employ a branding expert to push your business ahead of your competition.

Without knowing anything about what’s behind the window (or screen) the decision on whether it’s worthwhile to enter is based purely on emotion.

We still make decisions on emotion. Your landing page has to be convincing.

While your shop window may now be a website, the way we make the decision to enter your “shop” has not changed.  Without knowing anything about what’s behind the window (or screen) the decision on whether it’s worthwhile to enter is based purely on emotion. That is why the landing page of your website has to be compelling. It has to make a promise on what is behind the door when you walk into the business or when you click to go further into the website. The good thing is that there are ways to design it so that the shopper wants to engage.

You still have to make the sale.

Ultimately you still have to make the sale. Your landing page gets a potential customers through the door, they now have to be convinced to buy your product or services. But for now, because of your convincing landing page, you’ve made a great start. I’m tempted to say that “the rest is up to you” and in part that’s true. However, if your website content is true to its initial promise it can assist with getting that important handshake from a new customer, or with getting that money in the till. Why would your customer look elsewhere?

A short list of website tasks that every business should do

You’ve put a lot of effort into getting that website up and running. Finally it’s live and you can show it off to family and friends and your valued business contacts and perhaps even on Facebook. (Definitely on Facebook). Here are some things that you need to take care of after your website is launched.
There are now some website tasks that you now need to take care of to get the maximum benefit from your new website. You’d be wrong to think that you can now lean back and reap the rewards. That would be a bit like advertising only to your closest friends.
Most websites aim to attract new business. That will only be successful if it gets seen and used by many and preferably by many that fit the right target audience.
So once your website is live it pays to check that you have everything in place for your website to reach the top of search engines quickly.

There are a few website tasks that that you should be taking care of:

  • Onsite SEO
    Work with your web developer to ensure that your keywords are on target and that your on-page SEO (that’s the SEO component that your web developer should have built into the website already) is well in place. These are things like headings, the meta data, content, image tags, etc.
  • Mobile
    Google now puts more emphasis on mobile. It’s a good idea to work hard on the presentation of your website on mobile devices and to optimise for searches that are likely to be done on mobile, including voice searches.
  • Adwords initial paid advertising (but also on-going advertising)
    You may want to run an initial Adwords campaign to get some site visitors early on. Think about creating a separate landing page for your ads. Just keep your AdWords Campaign running if it works for you.
  • Links to your site
    Make sure that your website has incoming links. Work with an SEO agency on link building. Find any opportunity to create links to your website from other business related websites. Some are easy and obvious: e.g. Neighbourly, your own Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, The Chamber of Commerce, and there are a host of sites (free and paid) that will offer a listing service. Consider all industry-related websites.
  • Use Google Analytics regularly
    Make sure that you have your website linked to Google Analytics and then have a look at the Analytics results often. With every visit you will learn a bit more about how your website visitors use your website. For instance, if you see website traffic going to your “Contact Us” page and you’re not getting calls, you may need a better “call to action” on that page.
  • Don’t ignore other search engines
    List your website on other search engines like Bing and Yahoo.

This is just a small to-do list after your website is launched. My main tip is this:

Make sure that you have access to Google Analytics and then visit it often, even daily.

SOME WEBSITE TASKS THAT NEED TO BE DONE REGULARLY

It is soul destroying to suddenly find yourself on page 6 of your Google search after you just managed to make page one. It is not always obvious why that should happen, but a here are two things that regularly get ignored and that can cause a significant slip in search ranking.

  • Security Updates
    Your website engine has not been updated: Yes, just like your PC, your website engine needs maintenance updates. Make sure that your web developer regularly does those updates.
  • Fresh Content
    Create and share content. While Google changes the rules from time to time, I regularly hear that “content is king”, so create lots of relevant content. You cannot really get away from writing blogs and articles if you want your website up there in the searches.

Hello Web is a website design and development company in Auckland, New Zealand. We like working directly with business owners to ensure an effective Internet presence. We work in the following areas:
The first 10 words:     Ensuring that your marketing message is spot on.
Your business Story:    Creating your visual story on the web. The design of your website.
Building your website:     Magic with Drupal or WordPress. We build your website.
Digital Marketing:    Everything to get your website visited often by the right target audience.

Just in: For a complete list have a look at this awesome checklist.

Effective SEO actions to improve your website results

Getting to page 1 on Google Search Results takes a bit of effort.

 
New Zealand is overrun with services in most market sectors and so the competition between like businesses is naturally high. Certainly in the Web Design and SEO space, there is ample competition, not only from business within our borders but also from overseas.
With well over 90% of all new B2B engagements starting with a Google search, it’s more important than ever to appear on Page 1 for your relevant search terms. It’s a fact that Page 1 companies get most of the website business. While I can (and do) spend money on Google AdWords in order to be seen on Page 1, a company that advertises SEO and Website Design services (like Hello Web) will naturally be judged by where they appear on an organic Google Search.
 

Everything I learned about Google Searches I learned from Google Searches

For me then, it was paramount that I get found on Page 1 for “Website Design Auckland”, and here’s how I did it.

I asked for help

The beauty of today’s world is that information is available. In fact, everything I learned about Google Searches I learned from Google Search. I did my homework well by reading lots of online material, blogs, Twitter and Industry experts. Sift through all the clutter and the information you will find is invaluable.

I invested in Software

Google rules are difficult to understand and they change frequently. Keeping up-to-date is time consuming, frustrating and, without help is usually fruitless. I use three separate software packages;

  1. Software that checks the quality of code, speed, SEO components, errors, backlinks, etc.
  2. Software that tells me all about words on the website. Search ranking is all about wording, keyword densities, and keywords in strategic places on the website.
  3. Software that tells me even more about words on the website.

Along with the purchased software, there are a host of free to use websites that you can use to determine key performance aspects of your site. I make use of many of those.

I was Patient

Try, try and try again. This is fraught with frustration because just when you thought that you cracked it you may get punished and Google decides to push you back a few pages. Persevere.
Making page 1 takes time and effort. In fact, the SEO work on a website often takes as long as building the website in the first place, so if you’re after a “Cheap” website or a DIY website, be prepared to find it a few pages down the rankings on a relevant search and ask yourself what the point is in the first place.

Treat your website like you would treat a friend

Stay in touch. Visit your own website often to check that it is still relevant. Does it reflect the message of your business or does it bore with outdated pages and links that no longer work? Find out how things stand from time to time. Just like your friends, your website needs an occasional visit to stay on your side.

TO BE EFFECTIVE, YOUR WEBSITE NEEDS CONSTANT TLC.
NEGLECT IT AND YOU CAN EXPECT DIMINISHING RETURNS.
HERE ARE 6 STRAIGHT-FORWARD IDEAS ON HOW TO STAY IN TOUCH.

Update Often

Update your site often. Make sure that you keep the content fresh so that your clients stay interested. If you have stories to tell then tell them. If there are things happening in your business then don’t keep them a secret? Your clients want to know that you’re busy, that you have things going on. Stay interesting if you want your clients to stay interested.

KEEP YOUR WEBSITE INTERESTING IF YOU WANT YOUR CLIENTS TO STAY INTERESTED.

Stay on top of the search lists. Search engines love websites that change and that get refreshed often. Stop making changes and you’ll soon find yourself on the bottom of the list in searches. Why would anyone want to return to your site if there is nothing new to see?

Google

Things change with Google. To keep a high ranking website the SEO has to be managed well and implemented correctly and it has to follow the search engine rules. That applies to page titles and descriptions, image tags and wider content and also to the structure of your page. It’s is important to stay within these rules in order to outshine your competition. That way, if you have a great website, you can be sure that it is found by those that want to do business with you.

Look at your clients

Expand your circle. Does your content speak to your clients and to the business that you want to attract, or are you mistakenly appealing to businesses that are of little or no value to you? If you want to expand your influence, then be sure that your website and content are aimed at those that can work with you and those that you can work with.

Give your visitors are reason to come back

Give something away. Put a smile on the face of your website visitors. If you give them a reason to visit your site or to engage with you then they also have a reason to come back. That can be as simple as a great website experience, an image or a video that they get wowed by, or an actual give-away in form of information, a special or a voucher.

In the end they’re not that different, websites and friends. Both require a bit of effort to get great rewards. 

Six quick things that you can do today to improve your website

If you’re an owner of a small business then your website is likely to be at the bottom of a long to-do list. In many cases, it was quickly created and then forgotten. The time and effort spent on it are just wasted.

There are a few things that you can do to quickly give your website a boost and to get it to do what it was designed to in the first place; bring customers to your business.
Rather than starting from scratch (see my last point), here are some quick fixes that may go some way towards improving your existing website.
1.    Images
Websites are all about first impressions. Make the images on your website speak to your website visitors. Unless you’re an expert photographer, don’t try to use your own images but find something on sites like 123rf.com or istockphoto.com or the like. (Don’t copy from someone else’s website). I also see many websites with too many and badly formatted images. That often destroys the layout of the original design. Remove or replace those images.
2.    Words and blogs
The right words make your site rank high on search engines, draw your site visitors in and ensure that your site visitors understand what your business is about. Just like you would use professional imagery on your website, you should also use a professional to write your content.

If you ask someone else to write your web content then give them good guidance because they’re unlikely to be as familiar with your business as you are. Make it easy for them by providing them with detailed information and the search terms that prospective customers would use.

The more useful written information you can create, the better for your business profile and also for your online profile, but at the same time remember that white space is important, so keep your text between 300 to 500 words per page.
3.    SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
You want your website found in search listings. If you’re in the first few listings, you’re doing well, but if your website was created a while back then its likely that the way it was created does not make it rank well on search engines. Get an SEO refresh from your website developer to make sure that it’s up-to-date. If you’re more serious about SEO then work with an SEO specialist.
4.    Links
To improve your search ranking, the more links you have pointing to your website, the better. If you belong to industry associations, make sure that your business is listed, with a link back to your website.
Also add your business to free listing pages like Yellow.co.nz, nzsearch.co.nz, and other free listing agencies.
5.    Social Media
If nothing else then social media creates links to your website. Make sure that you have a business page on Facebook and consider services like Twitter and definitely have an entry on  LinkedIn. Naturally, every time you create written information, make sure it’s mentioned on all social media platforms.
6.    A brand new website
OK, that probably goes beyond a quick fix, but sometimes the old website is just too tired and it just may be beyond repair. Besides, creating a new website may actually do more than you might imagine and the process involved in creating a new site can have powerful benefits for any business.

When you plan your new website, you have to view your business from the perspective of a potential customer, create compelling collateral to attract and convince them to purchase. That process will also benefit your sales and marketing department.

At Hello Web we’re keen to talk to you about your online presence and to work with you to create a top-class digital image. Give me a call on 021 640 833.