5 Key Ingredients For A Good Business Website

The online world is competitive and there are millions of websites on the internet. When it comes to buying and selling online, there are good business websites and, well, not so good business websites.

Irrespective of your industry or niche, there are a number of key ingredients that a good business website should contain to help it grab the attention of its audience, draw them deeper into the website and, eventually get them to the checkout page.

1. Lead Capture Box

All good business websites have some type of lead capture box on their homepage that encourages visitors to submit their email address. This is because the vast majority of people who visit your website will not buy from you on their initial visit and many will not even return. So, you need to be able to stay in contact with them after they have left your website. To do this, offer them something of value for free in exchange for their email address. You can then email them whenever you want.

2. Quality Content

It vitally important to generate high quality content that visitors genuinely will want to read. Content is one of the main ingredients of a good business website, regardless of what business you’re in. Make your written content easier to read by using short paragraphs, bullet points, numbered lists and subheadings.

3. Social Sharing Buttons

Social media has become a powerful marketing tool. The success of social media is founded on the fact that we all like to share things. Therefore, as an online business owner, it is essential to generate content that people will want to share. Ensure that it’s simple for your website reader to share your content with the buttons that are clearly seen and easy to use.

4. Simple Navigation

Complicated navigation will turn off your readers. Make it simple for your visitors to navigate around your website and get the information that they are looking for. Always include a ‘Contact Us’ in the main navigation bar and make it easy for your prospects and customers to get in contact with you.

5. Responsive Design

A responsive design allows your website to automatically adapt its layout and format when being viewed a tablet or smart phone. If your website doesn’t have a responsive design, people who visit it via a smartphone or tablet will have issues reading your subject material, browsing around your website and will most likely leave and never return.

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How Much Does A Small Business Website Cost in 2016?

It’s simple – websites nowadays attract potential customers from everywhere around the world, work 24/7 and are the best way to get informed about particular products, services or brands.
Now, there are two common scenarios for businesses nowadays:

a) a business that (still) doesn’t have a website that is willing to make one
b) a business with a bad website that wants to change it – upgrade to a better one
In both scenarios, there is one inevitable question…

What’s The Cost Of A Website In 2016?

In a nutshell, the website quotes have changed over the years. On top of that, the digital world has advanced to a point where not every website is the same and – which leads us to the fact that there are websites that are very expensive (ones with better features and more complex elements) and websites that are extremely cheap (simple ones).

If you are still wondering what are the standards for a great website nowadays, we are sharing a quick website features checklist that even a basic website should have:

• responsiveness (fitting to any screen, whether it’s desktop or mobile)
• easy navigation
• user-friendliness
• color contrast (balanced colors)
• good SEO performance
• stellar security

The Types Of Websites And Their Costs

The cost of a website in 2016 includes one main factor: the potential complexity to develop it. That is why not every website costs the same. After all, every website is different from content to design – and there are certain levels of effort required for each feature.

Therefore, these are some of the most common small business website types you should be looking at if you are considering the first website for your business, or a website revamp to meet the latest standards.

1. A Simple, Informational Business Website

This first type is a website that is purely informational and features content that promotes the business and its products/services. It does NOT include an eCommerce feature (a shop). What it includes is:
o 3-6 pages including a blog, contact page, About Us page etc.
o social media links and feeds
o email newsletter signup
o miscellaneous features (calendar, gallery, slideshow etc.)

COST: $5000-$7000

2. A Mid-Size Informational Business Website

The second type of small business website is one that is once again primarily informational, but has slightly better features and qualities. It includes some upgrades such as:
o 10-20 pages in total including a blog, contact page, About Us page etc.
o email newsletter signup
o social media links and feeds
o minor features such as gallery, slideshow, slide bar, calendar etc.

COST: $7000-$10,000

3. A Custom (eCommerce) Business Website With Advanced Features

Basically, most of the eCommerce websites are built in a custom way. Even if it’s not about having a Shop as the main feature, custom solutions take more time to be developed and therefore, their price is bigger. Some of the extra features that an eCommerce or fully custom website can have include:
o 10-20 pages in total including a blog, contact page, About Us page etc.
o a shop with 100-500 products
o logo, text content, product info and photos
o email newsletter signup
o automated email system
o social media links and feeds
o custom extra features

COST: $10,000-$40,000

Note: This is the general categorization of the most common website types. There are exceptions and solutions that can be developed additionally, such as integrated ERP solutions, customer account dashboards, live customer support, back-office systems, memberships, multi-language features, databases/directories, customized eCommerce features, additional optimization for social media or SEO, marketing services etc.

The question you most probably have after seeing the costs and making your mind, is:

‘So, Why Do I Need A Website In 2016?’

A lot of businesses have scaled just because they embraced the digital space and created a stellar digital presence (a website) that let them penetrate the market in a better way and reach new customers. Being present online means being up to date with all the recent trends – but also means building authority and entering new markets.

Ultimately, the decision to skip on a website is definitely a bad choice and something that could lead to nothing but a bad future for your business. Investing in a fully-functional website, on the other hand, is the best choice you will ever make.

Elegant Web Services, an Internet Marketing, SEO, Web Design and Web Development agency based in Sydney. We create solutions for small businesses that help improve their online presence and grow their business.

We are a team, crystal-clear in communication, honest in our approach and work to provide tangible results. Get in touch now to see how we can help your business.

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Small Business Websites – Why A Small Business Website Does Not Produce Results

When a small business decides to take their business online there are usually several mistakes that they do. This is partially due to lack of experience and often lack of knowledge. There seems to be a trend that small businesses think of their website as an online business card instead of a marketing tool. That is where the majority of them go wrong. So let’s take a look at some of the most common mistakes done when a small business takes their business online.

1. Order of links

So many times you visit a small business website and they proudly flag the “about us” link as their first link. This is called the pride link because they often think that telling people about the company is the most important thing. The links should be in order of importance. Not in the order of the business owners EGO! If you use a website designer and he does consult you on the order of links, chances are you should be using someone else or at least make sure you educate yourself about online marketing because your website designer sure hasn’t!

2. No focus

Most small business websites lack focus. When you enter you are not sure where to go next which makes it hard for the user to understand exactly what he is supposed to do. The website should flow and the user should be able to make sense of the site within a few seconds of opening it up.

3. No sale / No lead setup

Many small businesses do not use their website to increase sales directly or capture leads. It is nothing more than an online brochure or business card. Sometimes the information is more confusing than it is helpful. If you competitors site is easier to navigate and captures either the sale or lead, you just lost a client. A small business websites needs to be even more on top of catching leads than a corporate website because every client lost counts more!

4. No analytics

Most small business websites have no clue what people do when they enter their site. No clue what users are really looking at and where they are losing their potential sale or lead. If customers just walked in and out of their place of work eyebrows would be raised and something would be done. Shouldn’t the same thought process apply to the site? You need to know what is going on with your small business website and what users are doing.

5. No marketing purpose

This is the biggest “Whammy” of them all. Small business websites tend to fail seeing the potential of using the website as a complete marketing tool. The fundamental reason to take a business online would be to do marketing. The lack of marketing vision explains the mistakes from above. If just this single piece was in place when a small business builds their website, many of the other things would be solved because they would educate themselves about what it means to have a marketing tool!

6. No results!

This is no surprise considering everything above. If there is no purpose, no focus, no vision and no marketing thought behind the site then there are probably no results from the site either. What is even worse is that most small business websites do not even measure results or understand how to measure results from their site. Once again it is a lack of understanding more than anything!

So what can a small business do when they are ready to take their business online and setup their small business website? The most important thing is to educate themselves in a few areas. The most important ones being, what you need to consider before building or having someone build your website. How to use the website as a marketing tool and it would be extremely beneficial to you if you at least had some understanding of what SEO is and how it works. What is the difference between a website designer, website developer and an online marketing company? All of them do different things and have a different understanding of how to use the internet; the question is what purpose is your website supposed to serve? For most it should be a marketing tool, because the internet is the most effective marketing tool available!

If you own, operate, manage or you are starting up a small business then we suggest that you take a look at the 10make90: Get your website up right. (Can be found on www.10thatmake90.com [http://www.10thatmake90.com]). It is a great resource for small businesses looking to build a website and take the step online. You can find all the basic information you need to know before taking that step and taking your business online. Make sure that you are utilizing the power of the internet fully as a small business. The rate of businesses that fail is high enough; at least make sure your business is getting all the leads and sales that it can be getting. Don’t make the same mistakes that others are doing, it takes so little effort for you as a small business owner to avoid those common mistakes!

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What Should a Small Business Website Look Like?

What type of website should a small business have?
What should a small business website look like?
What content should a small business website have?

The above are questions that many small businesses will be asking themselves when it comes to developing their own websites. They know they need to be on the web, they know that there is potential value to their business in being on the web, but their not quite sure how or what apart from the need for a website….

This article is aimed at helping small businesses use the web effectively and to get their first website up and running and working for them (or to redevelop an existing site).

We will use a series of steps which can help any small business plan its website and help to create that business an effective website.

Step 1: Define the purpose of the website

Believe it or not, defining the purpose of the website is something that is often overlooked by many small businesses when it comes to planning their website. Primarily this is because most small businesses think they know what they want, but because they haven’t defined it, they often miss the mark.

Simply put, only by defining a purpose of your website can you ever judge whether your website has been successful or not, or what you need to do to make it successful!

For example, you may want your website to deliver any (or all) of the following:

* sell your products or services on-line (an on-line shop)
* promote your business (advertising)
* support your business (many customers expect you to have a website)
* provide information to potential and existing customers (brochure site)
* provide support to existing customers (technical information, questions and answers etc.)

Once you have chosen what you want your website to deliver, you can then start to plan it much more effectively in terms of what you need to include on that website and how it should look and feel.

Step 2: What do you think you need to communicate to achieve your objective (purpose)

Having defined the purpose of the website, we now need to structure some relevant content to “sell” the business.

From a business owners point of view, this could include:

* What we do, what we sell – page(s) explaining the product or service that the business offers
* Our pricing for what we do and what we sell
* Where we are – if it’s a bricks and mortar business, then we need to tell customers where they can find us
* Our unique selling point (USP) – in other words what does the business do better than anyone else, or more simply – why you should do business with us (this could be one factor – “we are the cheapest”, or it could be a combination of factors – “we offer the best service in your community at the best prices”

A key thing to think about here is that the internet is driven by “content”. Google and other search engines index pages according to what they “think” there about based upon the pages content. Therefore, it is critical to get appropriate content on your website, explaining what you do, where you are etc.

Many pundits use the phrase “content is king”, so when your planning your website, think how you can get appropriate and relevant content onto your website that will both be interesting to your customers and search engine friendly. Many business for example have “how to” guides on their websites, the on-line equivalent of a friendly authoritative shop keeper.

Step 3: Get into your customers shoes…

OK, so we have decided what we want our website to achieve and we have decided on some appropriate content that will “sell”. Now for the harder part.

Some businesses will find this intuitive, others won’t. We need to get into the customers shoes and find out what they want to know, what they need to know about the business in order for them to interact with it and (depending on the objectives of the website) become a customer, be that make an order on-line, pick up the phone, or pop into your office / shop.

Key things to consider here are:

* trust – how does a potential customer know that they can trust you?
* professionalism – how does a potential customer know you have expertise in your particular market or that your a professional business
* image – your website will be a shop window to your business – is it dressed to impress?

Typical ways of trying to overcome the above barriers include:

About us pages – you will find many sites with “about us” pages on them, it is a good way of communicating that your business has some substance to it / has been in business / has happy customers and staff. This helps to give your website visitor confidence in your business.

Testimonials – another excellent way of building trust and demonstrating professionalism. If visitors are unsure about your offering, one of the best ways of reassuring them is to show them what others have said and done.

Case studies – a great way of demonstrating expertise and professionalism, this builds on a testimonial in terms of trust building, but depending on the way it’s structured can significantly help in demonstrating your professionalism.

Terms and conditions – no need to make this high profile, but having T&C’s, which include a refund policy for example, can greatly help in the building confidence stakes.

Contact details – whether your business is based at home or anywhere else, having full contact details – address and telephone number – is important. The majority of visitors will probably not contact you (depending on the objectives of your business), but its reassuring for them is they can.

Presentation counts – having a well designed website is critical. Whilst “content is king”, unless it’s highly relevant and appropriate content, visitors won’t read it unless it presented well. Remember, for many industries, presentation will matter more.

Step 4 – review and simplify

After following the above steps, you probably have a huge list of things you want on your website. However, very few people will want to read a huge list of things on a website (unless they are really really interested).

Therefore, you need to review, simplify and review.

For your home page, you want to focus on one thing alone – your proposition to the customer. By all means have other things, but keep the focus simple and concise. Engage your customers in increments, so instead of making a do or die pitch for their business in two paragraphs, try to get them to click onto another page for more detail. In this way you can then focus the page the customer clicks on to that specific service, product or feature without overwhelming them.

You navigation structure – the way your pages link to each other needs to be simple too. There is a reason why the majority of website navigation bars are at the top of the page underneath the header – that’s because people expect them to be there and it’s now intuitive.

Your presentation – don’t try to crowd too many things together. Keep it simple clean and concise. Your customers will thank you for it. Too many times you see web-pages crammed with everything under the sun, from animated graphics to news wires.

Step 5 – peer review

Your an expert at your business, unless that business is communications or web design, don’t expect to be an expert in that too. Ask for peoples advice, your peers, your colleagues, your family. You might not agree with them, but they can provide a different and important viewpoint.

Above all, check out what your competitors are doing, whether there local or not. See which ones you would do business with them (from just looking at their websites) and then ask yourself why!

Concluding remarks

Hopefully this article has given you some food for thought if nothing else. It’s not designed to be a how to guide, or a technical guide, but more a guide on structuring and focusing your content and overcoming some of the barriers you as a business will face in the on-line world.

Further, always keep a foot (or two) in reality, if your business isn’t viable in the real world, don’t necessarily expect it to be viable in the on-line world. Likewise, having a website doesn’t guarantee thousands of visitors, you will be shocked at how few visitors the average business website gets!

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Use Your Small Business Website To Gain Leverage Over The Competition – Unlock What’s Inside

There are many arsenal tools of a Small Business, but by far the greatest is the Business Website. Without a business website for The Small Businessman it can be very difficult to reach your fullest growth potential. There are many benefits locked inside your business website. The key is to find them and unlock your websites potential to be a money making machine for your business. See if these 5 power tools can unlock the potential that’s inside your website.

Tool 1. The Small Business Website Can Be Designed & Structured To Build Business

The structure of a Small Business Website can be designed to bring a focus to what’s important to you company and to bring you more business. Using proper placement of things like opt-in forms, videos, picture images, pop-up pages, landing pages, color palettes, Facebook & Twitter shares & survey forms can not only make you website fun & exciting to see visually, but it can also move and flow traffic to different pages of your website. Website design & structure can lead customers to buying shopping carts, that can boost sales. Large images on a photographer or artist website can help to showcase work better. The right placement of color on your web pages can turn the attention of your customers and highlight sales, a special discount coupon, or a survey form you desire your customer to fill out. What ever strategies you decide to use, make sure as you are designing your website with a little more thought about website design & structure to bring business.

Tool 2. The Small Business Website Is Your Voice

The Small Business Website is the primary tool to share the voice of your company. Your business website should be from your point of view. How or What your company… Thinks? Feels? Wishes? Desires? So how do you accomplish all of this in one website? Through CONTENT! Content Management is your voice. Sometimes on a website it is design with a blogging system that allows you to post content regularly which helps generate a following or leads. For businesses like MLM’s, Direct Sales, or Service Businesses, blogging has a very inexpensive starting cost with a high return value. Share the voice of your business with the world and watch the financial benefits follow.

Tool 3. The Small Business Website Can Be A Leverage Tool

When you have a small business, using your website to leverage or give your business the upper hand over competition is a high priority. There are statistics by Google that show 66% of Small Business do not have a business website. OK… Breathe & Meditate on this for a moment… Ready? What this statistic is saying, is only 44% of people in your industry have a website that is in front of buying customers each day. So if you have a product like Organic Skin Care, or a specialized service for example Immigration Law, then you can see how a business website can almost immediately increase your leveraging power. And remember to use your VOICE… ie CONTENT for more leveraging power.

Tool 4. The Small Business Website Can Establish You As The Expert & Authority

Now that you know only a small percentage of people have a small business website in your industry, it’s easier to recognized how powerful a website can be, and how this can set you as the expert or authority in your industry. Posting articles on your website puts your company’s name in front of your customers or clients. In your article, give your potential customers information that is helpful to them. Provide information that helps them to make a better buying decision on products. All of these things establishes your small business as an authority and you as the expert. Each week by sharing vital nuggets and segments of key reviews, potential customer & prospects look to your business for critical answers.

Tool 5. The Small Business Website Can Be The Ultimate Advertising Billboard

Most small business have little to no advertising dollars. So one of the best and least expensive ways to advertise is through your website. It is the Ultimate Advertising Billboard. Creating Banner Ads, for example, can showcase what your business does, or what you have to offer can be place on your website to increase your sales. Often time websites are built only as an Affiliate Marketing site for just that reason. Also the cost to advertise in the newspaper, or in a magazine can be expensive, and your ad will only run a few time before you have to pay again. With a website, your ads can stay up for as long as you like. When someone is using a search engines, an optimized website can drive traffic right to the Banner Ads with just what your customers wants.

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