The Internet offers an unparalleled platform to reach and connect with a global audience. The web is booming and there are no signs of going back. Revolutionizing the way we do business, the web is where we turn to whether we want to read the news, do market research, buy a house, decide what kind of jacket or pair of shoes to buy, or are looking for entertainment. Consequently, mom and pop enterprises, known for their brickand mortar stores, are expanding into online storefronts.
Speed and efficiency are hallmarks of Internet use. Information is available immediately and at your fingertips. The voice of the consumer is also being heard through web blogs, videos, essays, photographs, and reviews.
1. What does Web 2.0 mean for your small business?
Web 2.0 enables you to communicate directly with your audience. You can establish who you are on the Internet, what you wish to accomplish, and what products and services your company offers. A good website offers easy functionality for immediate access to information, marrying good design with content.
2. What role does my website’s design play in my customer’s decision-making process?
When a website is well designed, visitors to the site are able to navigate easily through pages and grasp the message that you wish to convey quickly. A website can establish a new business and complement an existing one, reinforcing branding of the business as well as showing customers that your company stays up to date and informed in the industry. Your visitors will feel comfortable in this online environment when the structure and aesthetics of the design suit your content. For example, when you go into a restaurant, you know where to sit down, how to get a menu, order your food, ask for additional services, and pay your bill. In a brick and mortar store such as a clothing or music store, you are able to walk in, explore different products, choose your favorites, and buy them easily. A website that is well designed, offers a similar experience and can complement and enhance an existing physical store.
3. Do I need to fill my website with everything about my business?
No. Your website should contain content that is relevant and to the point. There should be enough information to make the visitor feel comfortable. You should pick and choose what content you want to share on your website that you feel best represents your company. Your goal with your website is to start the conversation with potential customers. You can then augment your site with additional content to market prospects.
4. What type of images should my website have?
With the plethora of images now available for immediate access on the web, it is important to always choose the best images that are representative of what you want to convey. Images should reflect your content and be appropriate and specific to your content. Hence, using stock images is often not a good choice because you can find the same images elsewhere on other sites. Choose images that are of professional quality with good resolution and convey your message.
5. How will my potential customers find my website?
Potential customers can find your website through searches via Internet search engines, other websites, review sites, blogs, e-magazines, etc. People primarily use the Internet to search for information and if they feel comfortable with the website, they may purchase products or services that fulfill their particular needs and desires. Hence, content drives traffic to your website. It is important that your content is relevant, well written, and current.
Marketing your website requires a clear knowledge of what your company represents and how to portray your company in the best light to Internet search engines through various methods such as Search Engine Optimization or SEO. Hence, choosing a web design company that offers you marketing and consultation services as well, is advisable. Choose a company that can help you conceptualize your ideas, focus your mission, and tailor your content to your audience. The best company that you can select will help you present your information effectively and efficiently, while maximizing your targeted outreach.
6. How do I get my website visitors to initiate the sale process?
You can get your website visitors to initiate the sale process when you make the experience simple, secure, and professional. For example, a website about a golf product that has nine pages with extraneous content is far less effective than one that is just three pages in length and is very specific to the product that is being designed. By keeping your site simple, your website is more effective. The less hoops that your customers have to go through, the more likely they will be to purchase products or services from you. As mentioned previously, offering a well designed website reinforces a professional image so that customers feel comfortable in buying from your company.
7. How can I leverage my website’s visitors to market products or services ongoing?
After visitors have come to your website and perhaps purchased a product or service from you, you want them to stay and keep coming back for more. You can continue to sell products and services to them through various methods such as e-books, RSS feeds,blogs, and e-newsletters where you offer content that is relevant and educational. Youestablish your company as a leading expert and an innovative, flexible company thatstays informed.
8. How do you distinguish your company from competition?
Just like having a brick and mortar store where you have numerous competitors, your website will also have competing sites. Hence, you will want to have a plan to distinguish your company from your competition. This is an ongoing process that will help you define your company’s own niche. What is your market? Do you appeal to a specific demographic such as college kids or retirees? Are your products unique or different in some way such as offering additional products or special features? By focusing in on your products and services, you can define your company. Exploring other websites that are related or offer similar products and services, you can learn what they offer and compare, helping you figure out what makes your company distinctive and what your markets are specifically.
9. What are the biggest changes brought about by Web 2.0?
Web 2.0 launched web-based applications, thereby offering a whole industry of new services and business opportunities. For example, the Ajax application Google Maps completely revolutionized travel plans for both personal and business use. Social networking sites such as Digg.com and Flickr.com enable you to share information that can be tagged with keywords, linking your website to specific searches. Through forums, messaging, chat rooms, and other interactive methods, you can also directly interact with customers and learn what they are interested in, what changes they want to see, and what products and services they are willing to purchase. New markets have thus cropped up as well as entrepreneurial opportunities have exploded. This has been a boon for small business owners. The Web 2.0 platform is democratic, allowing anyone to write and distribute content. This has also created numerous amateurs and access to free content immediately. Established sources of information such as newspapers, magazines, and television have also increased their online presence to keep up with the demands of a savvy public who wants access to information immediately and for free. The volume of information available also has increased substantially through aggregate blogs and RSS feeds such as www.Reddit.com, news syndicate sites, and others. Web 2.0 has paved the way for new opportunities and a personal evolution along with the web while feeding intellectual curiosity.
10. What do you bring to the table when you meet with a web design company?
When you meet with a web design company, you should know:
1. What you want to accomplish
2. What the mission of your company is
3. What you do (such as products and services.)
Being flexible and open to different options, you can express ideally what you wish to accomplish with your website and your web design company will work with you to provide that for you in an optimal manner.