Happy New Financial Year! I love the 1st of July, it’s a great time to review how things are going, and reframe my plans for the rest of the year.
However one bit of news put a bit of a dampener on my day: according to ABS statistics 52.9% of aAustralian businesses do not have a web presence.63% of micro businesses (1-4 staff) and 41.9% of small businesses (5 to 19 staff) have yet to lay claim to a website presence.
Digital investment is growing but an amazingly high number of Australian businesses still do not have a website. Overall
Mainly it is the smaller businesses that are yet to enter the digital landscape.
What I hear the most from these business owners is that, yes, they would like a business website to promote themselves online but they have no idea where to look for information, or who to trust.
So to help you get started, here are some of my tips:
- WHAT TYPE OF WEBSITE DO YOU NEED?
As with any new plans for your business, you need to decide the goal you aim to achieve.
Will you use your website to
- showcase your previous work (folio website),
- make online sales (ecommerce site),
- share professional advice and showcase your services (brochure website), or simply
- as a window for your business (business card website)?
It may be that starting with a Facebook business page or Google Places page is enough to get you started, but keep in mind you do not own the content you place there, and have no control over future developments these platforms implement.
I generally recommend you build a stand alone website (where you pay for your own hosting as you would for a phone line), but whether this is the best option for you depends on your personal circumstances and goals.
Once your plan is mapped out, you also have a yardstick to measure your results over time. Is your website delivering on ROI, are you meeting your goals, getting more clients, increasing your revenue?
- WHAT IS YOUR BUDGET?
Once you have decided the best options for you, you need to consider an adequate budget.
You need to think about the money required but also the amount of time you will need to invest now and over time, to keep your website up to date. This is not a one-off job but, more like a shop window, a marketing tool you will need to keep updated and refreshed.
Remember that technology evolves faster and faster so to serve you well your site should be flexible both from a design and technology standpoint. The key word today is ‘responsive‘, that is a website able to reformat content depending on the device you are using.
Google does change its algorithms (formulas) to select who gets shown in response to your query, and as of now if your website is not responsive you will be penalised in mobile search results.
You can go DIY, or get a pro to build a website for you, and the options for design and tools are endless, so giving you an approximate cost for a site is impossible, sorry!
- WHERE TO FIND TRUSTED INFORMATION
As with home construction, look at options, get several quotes, talk to different designers, get referrals from friends or business contacts, do your homework thoroughly!
Many local business communities and libraries provide free or very affordable information sessions on website design.
- A great resource for small business is https://www.communications.gov.au/. Here you will find clear and detailed information on everything related to small business websites.
- And another great tool for Queensland small businesses to learn about online marketing, websites and much more is Lynda.com, which is available for free through the State Library of Queensland provided you are a member of your local library: http://www.slq.qld.gov.au/search/eresources/lynda.com
In my next article I will talk about briefing your designer and getting your content ready.
RELATED ARTICLE: I have a Facebook page, do I really need a website?