Website design has never been cheaper, which is great for small businesses on a tight budget. But will a website design package costing under a thousand pounds deliver the right results?
Yay! A website for under £1000!
One of the very first things a small business needs to do, from a marketing perspective, is build a website. And a quick search on the internet yields a huge array of website design packages aimed specifically at small businesses, most of which come in under the £1000 mark.
Two things are crystal clear:
(1) There’s plenty of website design or marketing agencies who are ready, willing and able to help you out.
(2) On the face of it, most of these packages look like good value for money.
But will it rank highly in Google?
But the key question you should be asking these agencies isn’t “how many pages can you build me for x amount of pounds or dollars?”. The critical question is this:
“Will this package ensure my website ranks highly in Google for key search terms in my sphere of expertise?”
If the answer is not yes (and it won’t be), then your website will be not much more than a glorified business card. People are unlikely to find you organically, using the main search engines. But if you bump into them in the street, or meet them at an event, or advertise to them in your local newspaper or a trade magazine, then you can give them your website details and they may pay you a visit – much like a business card. For a small business with any sense of ambition, that’s not good enough. You need a website design that will attract traffic organically and, more importantly, that will generate leads.
Safety in numbers
Websites which consist of just a few pages are unlikely to rank highly in Google for a very simple reason. Each individual web page can, and should, be optimised for a different keyword or phrase, such that people using that phrase, to search for information on the internet, might readily come across your website. It stands to reason that the more pages you have, the more traffic you are likely to get. And guess what? Your competitors, most likely, have bigger and better websites than you do.
The bottom line is, Google loves websites which are growing, websites which are frequently updated with fresh content. This is the precise reason that blogging is often cited as the most preferred technique for growing website traffic. It’s not because there’s some kind of pent up demand from people who are eager to hear your views and opinions on various topics. It’s actually because blogging is a highly-efficient, and effective, methodology for building out fresh content. i.e growing your website.
A blog post is, after all, just another web page, so if you can create a blog calendar, with posts scheduled to go live, say, every other week, then within a year you will have added 26 new pages to your website. Google will love that , because it’s another 26 new keyword phrases that people can use to find you.
For this reason, purchasing a website package which includes a fixed number of, between say, 6 or 7 or 8 pages, doesn’t make any sense – regardless of how cheap it is.
It’s all about the content
If I were a small business owner today, that needed a new website created from scratch, this is the brief I would provide to the web designer:
“Please build me a 6-page launchpad website. Please also include a plan to expand the website to 30+ pages within the first year, and a vision or framework for continued expansion beyond that. Please provide a quote for that.”
That would be a smart approach, and it’s the approach which will most likely deliver concrete results, and a guaranteed return on your original investment.
The way to build a website 0f 30 or more pages is to create a content planning framework alongside the launchpad framework. Many a small business owner creates a blog and starts blogging with the very best of intentions, only for the blog to come to a grinding halt after just a few posts. Finding the time is a factor, but the biggest issue is actually thinking of topics to blog about. The way round this is to map out those topics in advance. i.e. to create a plan, including a content calendar, which can be integrated into your overall marketing calendar.
The secret of success? Good planning
Imagine you are planning to write 25 blog posts over the course of a year (or a mix of posts and web pages). That’s one post every 2 weeks (with 2 weeks off at Christmas!). You can break those 25 posts into 5 categories:
- How to Guides – Create 5 step-by-step how-to guides in your area of expertise or market niche.
- Your Questions Answered – answering 5 common questions which customers are asking you about e.g. what is the typical cost of xyz?
- About your company. Expand the “About Us” section of your website. Consider creating the following pages (a) Who we are (b) What we do (c) How to find us (d) What people say about us (i.e. testimonials) (e) Our client portfolio
- Category reviews – What different categories of product do you sell? Write about those categories. Expand the “products” section of your website to include these categories.
- Product reviews – Publish articles about the actual products you sell. Ideally third party reviews but an article on features and benefits can work.
By mapping out your content in this way it makes it a whole lot easier to create a plan for growth, which will see your website grow from an itsy bitsy “me too” launchpad site, to a recognised player in your market niche, fully indexed, and fully loved, by Google.