Small Business Website Design Best Practices

If you own a small business or practice (selling your services, like an accountant, a therapist, a consultant) and don’t have a website yet, it is not too late. And it doesn’t have to be a big deal.

In this economy, the winners are going to be those who continue to market and promote. If you have not gotten around to putting a website up (enough business, referrals, just avoiding), do it now. You are conspicuous by your absence.

You have probably heard horror stories from colleagues about the web designer who flaked on them or paying thousands but getting nothing. Learn from the mistakes of your predecessors and when you do embark on the Internet adventure, seize control of it!

Don’t hire that web guy you met at a networking meeting or have your kid do it for you on college break. If you are serious about making your website an important part of your marketing, you must control it yourself.

There are content management systems (like Web Power Tools and others) that make a website as easy as typing a letter in Word.

Here are the top ten business reasons you should build and maintain your own professional website:

1. It’s Easy To Change – Your business will change. You’ll add a service, you’ll change your tag line. Something. If your web guy is the only one who can change your website holding it hostage (for a fee), you will not keep it up to date. An out of date website can be worse than no website at all.

2. You’ll Cut Out The Middleman – You are responsible for the content anyway. Why not just do it yourself?

3. Investment – It’s a lot cheaper. Even if you get a freelance person to do it for the same price as a template, you’ll have to pay again and again when you need to touch your site.

4. It’s The Right Amount of Website – The reality of a business website is that it needs to be good enough to get the job done! Not over-the-top with music and animation. Your clients need the appropriate information presented clearly and you don’t need a designer to do that.

5. Speed – You can do it quickly. In just an hour or two. Start with just one or two pages and then as you develop more content, you can add it.

6. Getting Found – Search engines like sites with changing content. If you have to pay your web guy every time you need to add a new event or change a link to an upcoming teleclass, you will not do it and then your search rankings will go down.

7. Test – If you control your website, you can use it to test new ideas and offerings. A summer special, a discount offer. Just put it up and see what happens.

8. Course-Correct As Needed – When you build your own website, you can easily track the traffic and statistics patterns, seeing where your visitors were referred from, what pages they visited, how long they stayed. This is meaty information you can really learn from.

9. Don’t Reinvent The Wheel – Working with a templated system gives you straightforward guidelines on best practices and what pages and content to develop so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

10. End Procrastination – You can finally cross “build a website” off your list!

The Internet is here to stay and your business needs to get on board. Control your web marketing yourself and see how effective it can be!