Here at Locally, we work with all kinds, types and sizes of businesses, from fledgling start-ups beginning their journey and medium to large enterprises, on the cusp of global ‘domination’. They all have several things in common…
They all started as an idea. Then this idea took shape with help, hard work and sheer determination, this initial idea took shape. Some may have had more of a stilted start, fractured and stressed whilst other businesses flourished.
But, in the mix there is something else that underpins their success – and that is their online presence. More specifically, their websites.
Do you have a website?
The likelihood is that you do and this is great news.
Do you a presence of social media platforms, appropriate to your business?
The likelihood is yes, and this is great news too.
Do you treat your online presence as a fluid, living, breathing thing; a thing to be nurtured and coddled, a thing to be developed and advanced over weeks, months and years.
This is a common misconception about websites. We think of website development as a tick box exercise. You may pay a company to develop the design; you may spend a large slice on getting a copywriter to create the words and then someone, somewhere flicks the magic button and your website goes live.
And then, because life and business is busy, we tend to sit back and think that ‘we have a website so that’s done’. And move on to the next item.
If only website life was so easy. But it isn’t. The truth of the matter is your website may not be working as hard for you and your business as what you think or as what you need.
The time has come to grasp this thorny issue. So the next time you see a company advertising website design for “only £99” you know that this is simply too good to be true… and here’s why:
It is a cheap commodity and online ‘do-it-yourself ‘packages cut the mustard
The answer is, they don’t. If you are serious about your business and serious about your online presence, then these kind of cheap, all-in-one packages do not cut the mustard, at all.
You only need to look at the hundreds variables used by search engines to rank websites to understand that there is a common theme. These packages are usually offered over a short period of time. Buying a website domain for 1 or 2 years instantly sees you drop several of these ranking variables. Not owning a website domain, and not optimising it in a professional way sends the wrong kind of message to search engines; it is not giving off a professional, ‘people can trust us vibe’.
Take a look at some of the highest ranking websites and you will note from poking around the sitemap and other ever-so-slightly hidden information that they are all created, designed and hosted by professional web design and hosting companies, specifically for the company – and are NOT off-the-shelf short term packages.
Once you have your website, you have to STILL work with it
And this is an important point that the vast majority of companies miss when it comes to their website. And we understand why.
Any business needs to spend the vast majority of its time doing the things that make it money. This is the stuff that pays you, your employees and allows you to carry on growing. Why would you spend hours faffing with blogs, updating social media and developing your website when you have an order book that is bulging? You have customers waiting…
And this in itself kind of says that your business is doing well. So why do you need to be developing and working on your website?
Times change. Consumer tastes change. What is a great product now will be developed and enhanced by someone else. Unless you keep up, stay in pace or even ahead of the game, then your business will start to fall behind.
Your website needs to be maintained. But, smaller companies may not have the staff power to monitor the website on a 24 hours basis and, for many, this may not be necessary if the website is not processing large volumes of traffic.
High end website designers and developers like Locally can do all this for you, spotting glitches as they happen and instantly repairing them. You, on the other hand, can focus on the things that make you money because consumer orders will be processed via your website.
You CANNOT do EVERYTHING…
… but when businesses are created, we have to. But as soon as the purse strings allow, you need to hand over this responsibility of building, designing and maintaining your robust business website to a professional company.
You are still in the driving seat; it is, after all, your website and your business. You create and enhance your products and services… and then these need adding to your website. You need the content optimising so search engine ‘see’ it, so potential customers see it, they order it… you get the picture!
But they can only find your website in the crowded world of the web if it stands out from the thousands of other online competitors. They will only order from you if they like the look and feel of your website.