Website Design For Small Businesses
A good website design should pay for itself for your service business many, many times over.
On the flip side, a bad website design, carried out by a bad website designer (of which there are sadly too many), can eat up your time, your marketing budget, and worst of all sap your energy. I do not want you to meet the latter tyrant, so I want to share some vital information with you that can save you a lot of stress and wasted time. Don’t be put off by the fact that this information is free. I expect you to read it, and if you are suitably impressed and find it helpful, to sign up for my free marketing tips using the form on the right hand side of this page or at the bottom. Fair deal? Good, let’s move on then.
It Is Your Website
Website designers can become very precious about their designs. They can explain that they are trained in design and you are not. When you say you want changes to their initial design because it does not do what you want it to do, they will try and talk you out of it. Do not let them. If you go out of business because your website does not do what it is supposed to do, namely attract and convert new clients, then let me assure you that your website designer will not be there offering you a refund. You must be strong and this means working out exactly what you want from your website before you start.
Don’t Copy Your Competitors
Knowing what you want from your design does not just mean looking at your competitors and seeing what they do and asking for the same. In most cases, this can be fatal. Most service business owners, be they accountants, coaches, consultants, financial advisers, surveyors (or any other service provider) are usually really good at the service that they provide, but often not at the marketing of that service. Therefore, you will need to look around at websites outside of your field of excellence. Start by downloading my guide which focuses heavily on website design and marketing. Then look at other service providers. Get a really good understanding of what you want from your website, and then stick to it. Do not let your website designer talk you out of it!
When you purchase a website you must have content management so you can make your own changes to the website. That is not to say you should do this, but you should at least have the ability to do so. And when it comes to content management, never let a website designer sell you their own content management system. All this will do is tie you to their services forever and a day. You need to be free to add your own content and free to change the host of your website whenever you like. Accept the bespoke content management system of a website designer and you cannot change host easily, if at all. You might start with a five page website yet have one with 50 pages in two years. Do you really want a struggle to move that content to a new website design platform?
In my opinion, based on working on the design of hundreds of service business websites, the only platform to choose is WordPress. Whilst this started off as a blogging platform, it has developed really well and is now a full website content managment system. More importantly, it is very easy to make changes to content, and even more importantly Google loves it. Only recently I posted a new blog post to my Wordress blog and the Google Spider was reading it only seconds later.
If your website designer cannot do a WordPress website, keep looking. One of my long term clients wanted a WordPress website but his current ISP (internet service provider) could not host a WordPress blog. Rather than change his ISP (which he should have done), he changed his website designer. A bad mistake.
Website Design Budget
You provide a professional service, yes? In which case, you do need a professional website. However, it does not have to cost the earth. You can hunt around and obtain a perfectly good website design for around £500. However, realistically you can expect to pay between £2-5,000 for a good design. You can keep the costs low by deciding all of the pages you will need before approaching your designer, and deciding on the layout of most of the pages of your website. This way you can demand a fixed price and make your website designer stick to it.
A good website is a vital tool in your marketing mix for your service business. Use the advice above to save some valuable time and money. And sign up for my future tips using the form below to provide you with even more sound and solid marketing advice.