Do you remember the early days of the World Wide Web? Back then, consumers were so thrilled by the prospect of communications forum that they were pretty forgiving when it came to website design. If they stumbled across a website from their favorite brand that was little more than contact information and a few pictures, they were still pretty happy - but that’s not how the Web works today.
After a couple decades online, most consumers have very high expectations when it comes to corporate websites, even when it comes to small businesses.
They not only want websites that look great, they want websites that provide useful content. Though that’s a tall order, it’s definitely not mission impossible for a small business.
Designing a website (and web strategy) that consistently drives traffic, and boosts revenue, is a very hands on process. It also requires a certain flexibility that allows site owners to embrace news technologies as they emerge.
If this sounds like a project you’re willing to tackle, here are some things you’ll want to think about.
More Than Just a Website
Those simple websites we described earlier are what’s known as, “static sites,” and wouldn’t really pass muster on today’s Web. These days, websites require a steady a stream of both content and promotion via e-mail newsletters, social media sites, search engine optimization, and word-of-mouth references.
Though the long-term goal of the aforementioned strategies is to start making these things happen on their own, this outcome can takes months or even years to achieve. The important thing to keep in mind is that your multi-pronged web marketing strategy can’t be executed haphazardly, and needs a solid foundation.
Actually Building and Designing a Site
If you’ve ever thumbed through an HTML for Dummies Book or a Guide to CSS3 , you might think you’ve got what takes build your own site from the ground up. This do-it-yourself approach is definitely doable, but you need to really understand what you’re getting yourself into.
The day-to-day operation and maintenance of a website can be very time consuming. You might also find out that reading about something like CSS3 and actually implementing it are two entirely different concepts. Unless you’ve really got a knack for technology, you can get in over your head in to no time.
To avoid this outcome, you might want to consider hiring a professional website designer to help keep things on track. While there’s definitely no shortage of designers offering their service on the Web, you don’t want to hire just anyone. Make certain that your designer can come up with references and a solid portfolio.
We would also caution you to enter your dealings with web designers only after you’ve done some research on your own. The last thing you want is to be sold a lot of flashy bells and whistles that distract your customers and wind up costing you money in the long run.
Building out a successful web strategy is something that takes time and patience, but offers serious rewards. If you’re willing to make that investment, you’ll see a pretty solid return.