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Some Do’s & Don’ts for Local Business Website Design

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Posted 8th March 2010 at 01:34 PM by Jagged

Today I have some do's & don'ts for business websites to follow as well as a warning for unsuspecting local business owners.

A website for your business is a very important step to take, one that takes some thought & judgment.....definitely not something to be rushed into or based solely on the "lowest cost". It's usually the lowest price for a reason. Think about it, if something that by all standards runs an average of $2,000 to $3,000 suddenly is offered for $99 or even $199, wouldn't that throw up red flags as to why? Yet many business owners just see the price, nothing else & think they are getting a bargain. It is my hope that this will help you understand why those cheap websites will actually do your business harm.

You want your business brand properly addressed...unique to your business alone. Not some low priced website that is nothing more than a template that has been washed, rinsed & repeated so many times that there are hundreds if not thousands of identical looking websites out there....how is that uniquely "branding your business"? How does that "cookie cutter" image help keep your business above the rest in your customers eyes?

Branding your business is one of the most important marketing attributes a business website can achieve. It's so important to have your customers think of your business first, kind of like "band aide ". That's actually a brand name, but everyone so widely accepts it as the norm that most people worldwide know exactly what you mean & reach for that product first on the store shelves. I know I do......RotoRooter is another...I don't know about you but when I have a plumbing problem, I start humming the RotoRooter jingle....I automatically think plumber when I hear it....
You want your customers to have the same effect when they think of your product or service. If you own a dress shop, you want people to think of your shop as being "the place to buy dresses". If you own a local restaurant, you want your customers to think of your restaurant when they think of steak. You need to paint that image into your customers minds...proper business branding does just that.
Your business website MUST have the ability to do just that also....Do you really think that a low cost, $99-$199 website, built from a cookie cutter stock template where some wanna-be website designer changes the header, maybe the color, a couple images, then call it "custom made" will properly portray your business brand to the world?

I addressed a lot of this in my post, "$99 websites, a headache in the making". It is important enough to mention it all again. I see way to many local business owners being taken by these tactics. All too often they are too gun shy to ask for help or embarrassed to admit they made a mistake. Once they realize that they need help, they lack the trust in ANY web designer....




Business websites need to stay away from:
  • Ad's from those who claim to be web designers on Craigslist, Backpage, eBay or some sign that is stuck to a pole or on the bus stop. Really now....would you trust a lawyer who's number you found pasted to a stop sign? Yet there are many on Craigslist or eBay trying to pass themselves off as legitimate web designers when they know little about it.
  • Any of those online "website builder programs" like Website Tonight, WIX or Weebly. There are many others out there, basically all the same. All limited in owner control, design & SEO features. Many so-called website designers use these "point & paste" site building programs to slap together anything that looks decent, then again passes it off as "custom made". Web design is an on-going education, not something you learn from copy & paste.
  • Any Local SEO firm that states they can get you #1 on Google, or they have a "special technique" that promises you top results. There are no special techniques...there are no promises!! Anyone who uses these lines are bogus & will just take your money....Especially stay away from overseas companies making outrageous SEO claims.
You want your website to engage, inform & reward your customers. Information is what most customers are seeking. They cross reference products, pricing, availability, everything down to customer service. They love to be rewarded for their hard work by finding discounts or coupons. They remember things like that. They share information like that. Building customer loyalty starts with the simple things.

First step is to implement a "customer acquisition & retention program" where both existing & new customers furnish their contact information, such as name, email address, phone, home address, etc. They do this in a number of ways. By providing you with this information, they are giving you permission to contact them with offers, discounts & company information that may be helpful to them. You can place a sign-up form on your website or a check box on your contact form. You can ask for this info at the register. The customers can offer their business cards in "fish bowls" or sign guest books. Either way they are Opting-in to receive information from you. They want to hear from you. This builds your marketable customer database, one that allows you to market your products or services over & over again to your targeted market. This is one cost efficient & powerful marketing tools available today.

You will not find this feature on any of those discount rate websites. They will charge an additional fee for this, one of many additional fee's that will jack that $99 website hundreds, if not thousands of dollars more. So much for a bargain huh?

Your website MUST have trackable results. You need to understand where your customers are coming from, Why they are coming, What they are doing when they get there, How long they stay & How much thy spend. You need to know your ROI, to know what is working or what needs to be changed.

Your website is an extension of your business. It takes your business "beyond the four walls" to the Internet where your customers are. All this information saves you money on your advertising budget. Print ads such as your local Valu-Pak, local Penny Savers or Magazines are much more costly & are almost impossible to track results. Can you track your Yellow Page ad? Of course not! But yet you insist on paying thousands of dollars a year for for yellow page ads .....why? Honestly....when is the last time you used the Yellow Pages for anything other than a door stop?

I have yet to see any of those low cost website offer the tracking features that are needed to properly analyze your websites performance, your customers performance & the reflection that all has on your bottom-line.

Your business website will do little good if it is not found easily by your customers. Facts show that over 82% of people start their search for local business, products or services like yours Online...not the yellow pages. will they find your business there? More glaring of a fact is that over 95% of people who do search online, DO NOT go past page 1 of a local search on Google, Yahoo or Bing....You need to have proper local SEO to make sure that your business website gets seen....

Local SEO is in my words the most mis-understood aspect of owning a business website. Build it & they will come definitely does not apply to the Internet. I guarantee you that local SEO is another feature NOT built-in to those $199 websites...just another additional cost tacked on to raise the price in the end.




If your like me, my business receives mailings or emails from many so-called companies claiming to promise page 1 in search engine results. Here are something's to keep in mind with these.
  • Most if not all are from outside of the USA, let alone from your local area. Do you really think that a company from India, Pakistan or Indonesia knows anything about YOUR local business climate, economical status or your major local competition?
  • These companies pay their employee's pennies on the dollar. The old adage..."you get what you pay for" holds true.....trust me.
  • Customer service with these "outside companies" is always notoriously bad. For the most part the word SCAM reigns true. They get your money upfront, then leave you hanging with little or no service. What recourse will you have to recover money from a 3rd world nation?
It is important to understand why each of these are vital to your websites success. It takes time to properly implement these features. It takes time to properly understand how to utilize them. If a popular business quote "time equals money" holds true......then how much time do you honestly think someone who is charging $99 is truly putting into proper design?

When we quote a price, we spell out specifically what is included in that price. There are no hidden costs....nothing will spring up in the end to haunt you. We consult with you before, during & after the website design process.

TucsonMerchant.com serves the Tucson, Marana, Oro Valley, Casa Grande, Maricopa and Phoenix business areas. We deal strictly with local business.
We offer complete website design services as well as comprehensive local SEO to assure your business website gets out in front of your target market.
We offer an engaging Customer Acquisition & Retention Program that is both cost efficient & effective. Contact us today to get your business back on track.

If your business fell prey to one of these "low cost" websites or some fast talking, overseas wanna-be SEO company....call us...480-478-4543....We Can Help.
Total Comments 1

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  1. New Comment
    ijohnson's Avatar
    Jagged,

    This is a very good article. You've laid out a laundry list of things to look out for and be mindful of when setting up or building your website.

    I agree, wholeheartedly, that you cannot be careful enough of forwarding money to third-world countries to build your website or provide some internet service. If they do not have a stellar track record with solid references, I would not do business with them -- keep it local.

    I'm putting my affiliate marketing venture on the back burner and will be focusing all my attention on offline marketing and consulting.

    I desperately need to get a website up but I've been contemplating over purchasing a premium WordPress theme or just setting up a Squeeze Page for starters. What do you suggest?

    ~ Iris
    permalink
    Posted 19th April 2010 at 06:57 PM by ijohnson ijohnson is offline
 


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