How do you get a powerful web 2.0 enabled business website? How do you get a look that you will love with the latest, leading technology behind it? But most importantly, where do you start?
That’s what we are going to answer in this article.
Having a nicely designed website for your business should be a top priority. But more importantly, you should have it loaded with fresh content and fully optimized to easily drive traffic. Why? Because a website should serve at least one of the following purposes:
- Provide information about your business.
- Market (or sell) your products and services online.
- Create leads (or inquiries) to generate business.
- Be a source of information (i.e. blog) for your specific area of expertise.
Here is a breakdown of how you should approach creating a web 2.0 small business website:
- Plan Your Website
- Choose Keywords
- Write Your Content
- Leverage Social Media
- Build Your Website
Plan Your Website The first thing you can’t do is get a website because everyone else has one. It has to have a purpose and you have to find out what that purpose is. What’s the objective of your site? Is it to
(1) sell a product,
(2) market a service,
(3) capture a sales inquiry,
(4) have someone subscribe to your blog’s RSS feed, or
(5) get followers to your twitter feed and Facebook page. Chances are you said yes to most of these.
Once you know your objective, you can go about creating your website to achieve what you want. Without this first and most important component, you can’t get your website visitor to do what you want them to and they will be just left wondering “Ok, but I don’t understand how you can help me” as they leave your website. So now that you understand this and you have your objective, the next step is to determine what keywords are important for your website.
Choose Keywords Before you go off spending countless hours writing content for your website, it is important to find out what people are searching for on the internet that relates to your business. For example, let’s say ACME Web is a web design company that provides web design and software development services. The type of visitors we want on our website are the people that are on Google typing “website design”, “website design company” or “software development service”. Why are keywords important? Because they enable your content to be ranked by Google and increasing your exposure on search engines will drive organic traffic to your website. That should be your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy for your business. Organic search results are the results you find in Google that are right under the search bar below the paid advertisements. You want great placement without having to pay Google. To rank well in organic search results should be your main SEO strategy. Remember, SEO is forever while ad placement is temporary (and costs money). So before you begin creating your content, make sure to pick your keywords carefully. Use free tools like the one provided by Google to help you in determining what keywords are right for your business.
Write Your Content Your website can look awesome. But that doesn’t matter if the content doesn’t provide the website visitor what they came looking for. If you fail to provide meaningful content, your website visitor will simply leave looking for someone else and all that time, effort, and money you spent getting them there would be a waste. When a visitor arrives at your website you have just a few precious seconds to capture their attention and deliver your message as if they where standing right in front of you. You know your business well and how you want your clients and potential customers to see it. Get down on a personal level and abandon that overly technical or complicated message. Keep it simple and straight to the point. Use those couple of seconds you have to capture your website visitor. Remember, good content is what drives search engines. As we discussed in the previous section, you have to include the right keywords in your content. The last thing you want is someone being directed to your site only to leave and never come back.
Leverage Social Media When you create a web page or blog post, share it. Post it on your Facebook page or Twitter feed. Social media is an easy, free way to get your business out there to a large number of people waiting to hear about it. Setup a blog and let your website visitors read and comment on it. You need to engage your audience. Some of your website visitors will notice you’re on a social network they use and will follow or friend you. Don’t be afraid, that’s a good thing because you got their attention.
Build Your Website So now you have a good idea what your website needs to do and what you are going to put on it. Now, how do you get your website online? Without getting too much into technical talk, you’ll need what we in the web community call a Content Management System, or CMS. With a CMS you can manage your website content, design, and features. At TECKpert, the CMS of choice today for our small business clients is an open source platform called WordPress. WordPress is one of the most popular blogging tools available. But what many people don’t know is that it is a powerful CMS that can be used for more than just a blog. With WordPress you can build a small business website that years ago would have cost tens of thousands of dollars. WordPress was designed as a platform for bloggers, but you don’t have to use it as a blogging tool. With a few modifications, it can be used to power your website. The fact that WordPress was designed as a blogging platform gives it some great advantages. It is optimized for easily publishing and you can add or update content without having to hire a website design company. And getting good search engine rankings requires fresh, unique content. You need a system that does not get in your way when you want to update your website with a new page, article, image, or video.
Expanding on topics earlier in this article, WordPress provides a strong foundation for:
- SEO – WordPress provides good search engine optimization (SEO) right out of the box. There are a few tweaks you need to make, but there are many SEO benefits that WordPress provides for free.
- Content – it is easy to update content on your website without knowing HTML. I am sure you don’t want to have to learn HTML and how to use a tool like Dreamweaver. Do you want to have to “ask” your webmaster every time you want to make a small change to your website? Well that is a thing of the past. Once WordPress is set up, you can easily create new pages or edit existing pages using a simple rich text editor.
- Social Media – all your pages and posts can be easily configured to share content on most, if not all, social networking websites. Furthermore, each category you setup comes with its own RSS feed for easy distribution.
- Plugins – There is a large community of developers creating themes and plug-ins. This means you can browse and use great design themes from a large collection, or extend your website with contact forms, a slick image gallery, a shopping cart, or hundreds of other cool features without having to hire a web developer.
Don’t suffer the same frustrations other small business owners experience with their website. With WordPress you don’t have to worry about that problem anymore. Building a website that is designed to meet your goals powered by a full featured content management system like WordPress will set your website up for years to come.