Websites 101 for Small Business

Updated: Jun 9

This blog is part of a content series helping small businesses to get set up for digital marketing best practice.


You’ll find a guide for each of the major channels that are consistently used amongst each of my clients.


I will be releasing a guide per week.


One key area of focus is websites, and rightly so. If you’re selling online and you haven’t set up your website appropriately for your business type then you’re shooting yourself in the foot.


So, let’s get started.


What do you need to first consider?


What are you trying to achieve online? Traffic, appointment bookings, leads, product sales? Before building a new website consider what your primary objectives are and make judgement calls on the below based on what’s important to you.


What is your website currently built on? If you’re building a new website you’ll want the move to be as seamless as possible. Moving platforms can cause some data loss, so before you make the jump I encourage you to make sure that you’ll be able to do so with minimal damage done.


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What platform should you build your website on?


Depending on your business you will want to choose between a few different web platforms. I’ve listed a few below in order of simplicity to build with.


Wix / Squarespace

These two platforms are made to be super simple. They contain visual editors to build your website meaning that you’ll edit your website as though you’re looking at your actual website. You’ll start with a theme and from there you’ll be able to chop and change to your heart’s desire. I’ve built Hedgehog’s website on Wix for this very reason - there’s nothing finicky to learn and you get a very simple website experience. Quick changes take a few seconds and are easy for anyone (i.e. you) to do. Wix / Squarespace are ideal for businesses that are primarily delivering information or generating leads online.

Shopify

Do you sell products online and is selling products online your primary business? If so, Shopify should be your first port of call. Shopify is built with one thing in mind - selling online. It’s homepage, product discovery and route to purchase are fine tuned and oiled up to help you get your audience to that purchase moment. It has a whole bunch of apps (that can end up getting expensive) to help you further customise your website and connect with other platforms.


WordPress

WordPress is the Internet's most popular website builder. It will be the platform that most website developers are familiar with and has the most integrations with other services. WordPress is a great solution for information, lead generation, appointment-based and ecommerce websites. It’s the jack of all trades and the most customisable at that. If you don’t know anything about coding and don’t want to hire a developer then you may want to think twice before choosing WordPress. WordPress is best for any website, so long as you’re not walking around blindly in the back end.


Themes, themes, themes.

All of the above website builders are best used by starting with a theme. I suggest Googling ‘best [WordPress / Shopify / Wix / Squarespace] themes for XXXX business’ and looking through examples. On your journey keep an eye out for themes that are within your branding and requirements. By selecting a theme that ticks most of your boxes you’ll then need to do less customisation to get to your final website product.


There are other website builders out there, such as the likes of Magento, Big Commerce, Webflow, etc. Of course, these are all options but they are options that tend to be more complex to build. If your business is big enough to pay a developer / designer to consider these options, then go for it!


Special mention for niche platforms that serve a specific purpose. For example, if you’re building an online video subscription platform then consider Uscreen.


What do I need to make sure I get right?


Your website is your digital shop front. You want to make it as appealing and accessible as possible. It’s just like when you walk down the street or meander through a shopping mall. There’s a lot out there that’s trying to grab your attention but there’s only so much attention for you (and your prospective customers) to give.


That’s why you need your website to shine its best possible light. So, what should you care about?

  1. Key Messaging - Ensure that your website is built in a way in which your key messaging can be delivered to your customers. Don’t hide it behind 14 clicks on a sub-page underneath your FAQ and don’t slam it all at the top of your homepage. Deliver your key messaging to your customer as a story through your website.

  2. Usability - Your website needs to be usable by your audience. It should be as simple as possible and create as little friction between your audience and what action you want them to take.

  3. Speed - Speed matters. Your website should be fast, both for the audience experience and for making Google happy. Use Google’s Page Speed Insights tool to analyse your website’s speed and how to improve it.

  4. Capture Audiences - Your website should always capture audiences for remarketing purposes. I encourage you to place email capture forms through your website. Remember, your audience will only hand over an email if you are providing them value in exchange - think whitepaper PDFs, discount codes, etc. You should also install tracking codes for ad platforms such as Google and Facebook so that you are able to remarket to your audience.

  5. Install Analytics - You should always be able to analyse the performance on your website. Without the data you’d be shooting yourself in the foot and limping through your reports and subsequent optimisations. For more information on this check out the Website Analytics blog.

  6. Have Clear Call to Actions - Want your audience to take action? Make it clear what you want them to do. Whether you’re looking to capture an email address or sell a product, you’ll want to make sure that your audience knows exactly how to do it. Make your call to actions clear and concise.


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Happy marketing!




About the author, Josh Berg

I’ve worked with over 200 small businesses, spending thousands of hours analysing their performance to advise on digital marketing best practice.


Over the hours there have been several key recommendations that have been consistent for almost all of my clients. This guide is the product of this time and focuses on providing you with an actionable list of tactics to get your digital marketing basics set up.



Want help with this guide? Tap me on the shoulder.


I’m available for consultation to help you work through this guide, ensuring that you’re implementing with best practice advice and are set up for success.


Book a time in my calendar for 30 minutes or for 60 minutes or check out my plans.