How important is the design of my website?

Posted on August 24, 2010

 

Pub ManMany business owners look for ways of saving money wherever they can – it’s one of the most important aspects of running a business. The more you can reduce your expenditure, the less turnover you need in order to make a profit… a penny saved and all that. However, there are ways that you can save money that result in long term harm to your profits; scrimping on your website is one such money saving tactic.

Most businesses realise they need a website, even if it’s just to act as an online brochure to be mentioned on your business cards. As with everything you spend money on, you’ll want to get your website for as cheaply as possible – but you could end up throwing money away on a bad website; one that will not earn you a penny, or a single referral. If that is the case, what use is having the website in the first place?

Your website needs to look professional. This should be a ‘given’, but sadly many people who offer to build websites for seemingly bargain prices don’t actually know the first thing about designing a website. This means you could end up with an amateurish website that turns people off, rather than entices them to call you, or to fill in your contact form.

First look at the websites of your competitors, this will give you an idea of the sort of website that you need before you approach a design agency, or even a man you met down the pub who has offered to do it for you. Now, when we say ‘your competitors’, we don’t mean the people you know of who perform the same service as you locally – we mean your competitors online. They may be completely different to the competitors you’re aware of, they may or may not be local and there may be far more of them than you first realised.

How do you do this? Ask yourself what words you would search for if you wanted to find your website… and no, it wouldn’t be your company name. It would be the type of service that you offer, possibly with your location (if your service is regional specific such as a local plumbers or a taxi firm). If this is the case you might search for something like ‘taxis in Chester’ or ‘plumbers in Ellesmere Port’.

This will show you the sorts of websites that rank at the top of Google for these searches; these are your competitors. What are their websites like?

It’s important to use these websites when looking at your own because these websites are relevant, they are within your industry and they are ranking within Google… everything that you want from your own website.

If these websites look professional (and the chances are they do) then you’ll need a professional looking website in order to compete with them. Barry down the pub might not be able to offer you that.

If you pay a pittance for a cheap looking website, you may end up having to pay again to get it done properly further down the line – once you’ve realised that nobody is enquiring about your services.

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