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Step-by-Step Guide: Building A Small Business Website

Establishing and maintaining an online presence is a necessity of running a business in the 21st century. Without a website, your business is next to invisible to about 3 billion potential customers. That’s a lot of people that could be using your services, if only they had a way of finding out about you online. Fortunately, developing a website for every conceivable need has never been easier than it is today. It is not an exaggeration to say that you can have a website up and running in a just a few clicks, provided you took the necessary preparations.

That being said, building a website from scratch can be difficult if you have no clue where to start. To bring you up to speed on what making a website entails in practical terms, we have made a concise step-by-step guide for you to read.

1. Determine the Purpose of Your Website

Think of your website as a storefront. It’s the first thing your customers are going to see before deciding whether to conduct business with your company. And in order to design a proper one, you first need to answer two basic questions: 1.) What is your main line of work? and 2) Who is your intended audience? Having a clear answer to these questions is a necessary preparatory step for figuring what kind of website is appropriate for your specific business needs. Always keep this information in mind when making practical design decisions, which we will be talking about in the rest of this guide.

2. Decide Which Tools to Use

Now that you have an idea on the purpose of your website, it’s time to dig in into the technical details. The first thing to consider is whether you want to build everything from scratch, or use a website builder service. The first option at the very least involves using HTML, CSS and JavaScript, the three cornerstone web technologies. Going this route means you are either proficient in coding, or are willing to hire a professional, which might be too expensive for smaller businesses. The alternative is to use a website builder service, which offers more user-friendly design interfaces, built-in themes and a host of customization options for every need. Be sure to look into different website builder options to find the optimal one for your particular needs, if you decide to go with this route.

3. Choose and Implement the Right Design

Whether you are using pre-built tools, or doing everything yourself, the next step is to figure out what your website is going to look like. Start by making or choosing a template, then keep adding the necessary elements such as menus, buttons, navigation bars, social network plugins, etc. Make sure that everything fits together both aesthetically and functionally. Each element of a website should be designed in such a way to draw attention to the service your business is providing. Keep in mind that mobile browsing is now the dominant way of surfing the web, so optimizing your website for portable devices according to principles of responsive web design is no longer optional. If you feel your design still has room for improvement, consider hiring a professional web designer to give it an extra touch of class at the end.

4. Add Relevant Content

Once you are satisfied with the general look and feel of the website, the next step is to populate it with content. This involves text, images, video, custom illustrations, etc. The goal is to make sure that visitors can find the information they need in order to decide whether or not to use your services, starting from your landing page. Quality content is ultimately what determines the fate of your website. A poorly designed website might turn-off a lot of visitors, but one lacking in relevant content will appeal to no one.

5. Optimize for Marketing

Marketing optimization is something you should take into account during each step of the process of building the website. That being said, once you have your design and content in place, it becomes possible to further fine-tune your website for maximum impact and discoverability. Site design involving bright contrasting colors, asymmetrical layouts, and bold typography is predicted to be popular in the coming years. As for content, optimizing your search engine rank through tactical keyword usage and link-building is something every business needs to do in order to stay ahead of the competition. Before settling on SEO strategy, take some time to get acquainted with coming SEO trends. Keeping up to date with what’s hot in the world of digital marketing is a key step in future-proofing your website.

Conclusion

Building a professional-looking website used to be something only big companies could afford. In recent years however, the availability of powerful consumer-grade tools has allowed smaller businesses to compete on equal footing. By following the steps we have outlined, you will be well on your way in staking your claim in the digital frontier.

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GUSET POST: Impact of Social Media on Business

Most entrepreneurs and small companies wonder how to generate greater impact on their audience and how to reach potential customers that may be outside their local area. Social media can offer a great way to get in touch with them and benefit from the possible feedback and communication that is activated through these channels.

There are clear benefits that can be achieved through the creation of pages, blogs, and events you can share on social media networks. Here are some aspects that must be considered when starting to work with social media.

Increased traffic to Your Website

This is one of the main benefits of investing time, money and effort into the social media platform of your business. Increasing exposure means more visibility; it means getting more views and more people to try your products and services. As simple as this, if your business does not have a window nobody will ever see what you have to offer, social media is a window to the world, not only to your local street.

There are several ways to increase the traffic to your site. Twitter, for instance, is excellent to share content using short and provocative texts that get the reader’s attention, so they are inspired to check out your quality content. Remember that adding quality content is the first requirement for successful social media investment. The audience that is attracted to your content is always looking for uniqueness, creativity, and updated information. Make sure you offer it, and they will surely return.

Enhanced Relationship with Customers

Pages, forums, groups, and events give the opportunity to people to contact you more often. Customers have valuable insights that can be easily shared through a comment section or a video response. You can also offer great customer support if your clients feel they can reach you and have you listen to their concerns, complaints, and comments.

It can be a little fuzzy at the beginning; from the various sources of connection between you and your clients that are available right now, you have to choose the one that suits your business better. If you do not know how to start a blog or how to run a customer support page, there are teams of experts always willing to give you a hand.

Lead Generation

As the business grows and gets involved in social media, leads can also grow about 50% faster when compared to not using social media at all. Remember that it is not only about getting names and phone numbers; leads have to be interested in what you are doing. Good quality leads are engaged in what you do and have a need for what you offer.

Measuring Social Media ROI

Once the social media machinery has been set into motion, it is necessary to measure how effective it is. It can be a little difficult to measure ROI (Return on Investment) because there is no direct button to calculate this. There are, however, certain tools that allow the media team to calculate how people are interacting with the resources given. Campaigns need to engage the audience and make them like, comment and follow directions so as to be considered successful.

Negative Customer Reviews

It is a very simple equation, the more visible and reachable your business is the more exposed and vulnerable to negative reviews is going to be. Negative reviews are many times visible to other customers that may be using and interacting with your pages and websites, this can be potentially harmful if not treated carefully.

Complaints and comments have to be read and answered, most of the times customers just want to be heard and to feel their opinions are taken into account. Make sure to channel their voices so as to control the impact they may have on the rest of the audience.

Daily Monitoring

Having a site, page or app needs special and daily monitoring for all the interactions that are going to occur. One of the characteristics of this new and modern era of communication is that everything happens fast and people are used to having answers and results immediately. If the group of the company is left alone for a couple of days the next time you read the analytics, you’ll notice how interaction plummeted, and you may have lost a few members.

Several tools can make monitoring easier for you or your social media team. From Google Analytics to HootSuite, the options are varied and offer multiple ways of obtaining and interpreting the interaction of the people. Depending on the area that you want to tackle you may want to use one social media platform or another, Facebook may be great to share events, Pinterest if you want a more visual approach or LinkedIn for a business style vision.

Regardless of the social media platform that you prefer to use to approach your audience and potential clients, it is vital to remember that there must be a team in charge of monitoring and analyzing the behavior of the pages so as to understand how deep the impact of your business is.

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