Starting Your Website
THE INTERNET: MORE THAN JUST CAT VIDEOS
In the third quarter of 2015, can you even name a business that doesn’t have an online presence? Quite simply we businesses cannot live without the Internet. Each and every year, traditional “brick and mortar” businesses are finding an ever increasing share of their business coming from Internet-based sales. Even if your business does not rely on online sales, a strong Internet presence can function as a virtual resume of sorts to attract new clients. Inversely, many new businesses solely conduct their business over the Internet.
Clearly, the Internet is here to stay. The Internet can provide an endless source of leads and opportunities for small business– if they can properly tap into it.
GETTING YOUR BUSINESS ONLINE
Start by asking the right questions for your website. Many businesses rush to establish a website without fully knowing what they want (or need) and wind up with an expensive headache. Whether it’s your first website or your hundredth, consider the overall goal and functionality of the website. Some questions that might help you on starting your website:
- What do you hope for your website to accomplish? In other words, what are you starting a website for? Is your business entirely online? Is your website intended as a call to action to get potential customer to call you?
- How much are you willing to pay for your website?
- How much time are you willing to invest in your website, not just to get it established but to maintain it over time?
HOW TO HIRE A WEB DEVELOPER
Because of the time and technical expertise associated with building a website, many small business owners resort to hiring a web developer (or firm) to get the job done. Here are some tips on how to hire the right website developer for your website:
- Investigate Templates. Do yourself a favor and avoid a “custom job” like the plague, especially for your first website. Instead go to ThemeForest and view available templates for WordPress. Can you find a website template that accomplishes 80% of what you want? If so, start there and you will decrease your overall website expenditure by 98%. I promise.
- Search for Software. Does the web developer you’re considering recommend a website that requires “special software”? If so, make sure that “special software” isn’t proprietary. Find out it’s name, google it, and make sure EVERY web hosting provider includes that software in the list of products they offer.
- Determine Payment Beforehand! Are you paying by the hour or by the job? If by the hour, make sure you can manage your web developer on a daily basis and you can clearly measure progress. If by the job, make sure you have “detailed requirements” and specifications. Detailed requirements include wire-frame diagrams of the pages / interactions you want, detailed description of interactions with the users, and use cases that spell out the different types of users and what they experience.
- Get it in Writing. If you hire a web developer without a contract, you run many risks, including cost overruns and loosing control of your website (because you don’t actually own the work your web developer, as an independent contractor, produces). For more details, read our article Don’t Get Screwed- Managing Website Vendors .
Before you run off to build a new website, keep in mind some of the very common errors we see.
- Copyright Infringement– there’s a good chance you cannot use all the pretty images on Google for your new website. That’s right, those images are owned by someone else and using them without permission can result in a hefty fine. Try iStockPhoto or taking your own pictures instead!
- Forgetting Mobile– these days, many customers and potential clients will look at your website from their cellphone. Make sure that your website looks appealing for computers, tablets and cellphones.
- Language– make sure your website is grammatically correct. Spell things correctly. You only get one chance to make a first impression. Don’t make your website memorable for all the wrong reasons!
- Jargon– we get it, you love your business. Unfortunately, potential customers may not be as familiar with the field as you are. Using too much slang or fancy vocabulary can turn viewers off. Try to tone down your language or explain everything.
- Time– last but certainly not least comes the issue of time. A good website takes time to build and time to maintain. If you are not willing to invest the time, your website will look dated.
Not sure where to start with your business? Give us a call.
Law 4 Small Business (L4SB). A little law now can save a lot later.