As a small local business owner It can hardly have escaped your notice, unless you have been living under a rock, that the need for a website, or an effective online presence of some kind has become an absolute imperative. Basically, you have no choice. If you don’t have a website then you simply don’t exist.
The statistics certainly bear this out. For starters 91% of all Internet users use a search engine such as Google or Yahoo as their first port of call when looking to find information, and even more scarily, over 50% of all purchases are preceded by an internet search. The days of someone flicking through a dusty old copy of the Yellow Pages in order to find themselves a reliable local plumber are long gone.
However, once you have taken the plunge and brought your business into the digital age you will find that your problems are only just beginning. As a small business owner you will be confronted with a bewildering array of technical jargon, with an unending stream of so-called experts doing their utmost to convince you that you simply have to have what they have to offer. Even if you don’t quite understand what on earth they are talking about!
Thankfully it turns out that you don’t really need a hugely over engineered website. As a small business owner all you need is to follow these 3 basic steps and you will find yourself with a perfectly acceptable, and hugely effective online marketing presence.
Website Essential 1: Make It Clear What Your Website Is All About!
It is truly astonishing just how many businesses spend an absolute fortune coming up with an avant garde, highly artistic website that ends up leaving it’s visitors scratching their heads as to what on earth is going on and wondering where they are to go next.
The user has to be able to establish exactly what the content and purpose of your site is in seconds. The average attention span of a person browsing the web has been estimated to be about 7 seconds, and that figure is going down rapidly. If a visitor can not figure what your site is about in that time, he will probably just go somewhere else. Your site must communicate why I should spend my time there, and FAST!
Website Essential 2: Make It Easy To Navigate.
The layout should be clear and concise. Your menu system needs to be self explanatory and the titles of your pages should make it entirely clear what the reader can expect to find there. It is a cardinal sin of website design if your visitor has to spend all their time trying to locate the most basic of details.
The biggest mistake you could possibly make with regards to this point is to omit your contact details. Seriously, there is nothing worse than a website that has no contact details, and believe it or not this is actually far more common than you would think. Think about the user experience at all times and make it as easy as possible for your prospective customers to reach you.
Website Essential 3: Avoid Loud Garish Colour Schemes.
I once visited a website to look for an emergency plumber and ended up needing a couple of paracetomol due to the blinding headache that ensued. Bright red lettering on a vivid purple background should be avoided like the plague. Keep the colour schemes clean, crisp and simple using pastel shades and clear text fonts. Also, never be afraid of leaving some white space on your website. Keep it clean and simple at all times.
Also be careful to avoid falling into the trap of having technology for technology’s sake, just remember, you might be really proud of your hugely expensive flashy new intro with some high end images, graphics and sounds, however, your potential customer is far too busy to sit and wait for it to load and will probably have moved on to one of your competitors by the time your intro is done.
So there you have it, follow these basics and you will find your Local Business Online Marketing going to the next level.