Joe: Welcome to the Being Found Show. We are the local business guide to being found by more buying customers. We are going to answer some questions that business owners keep asking in regards to business websites. Do you need one? What kind of site do you need and where do you start? We will answer these questions and more.
If I don’t have a business website already, where do I start?
This question never really gets answered because there are a million different ways for a business to do this and it is different for everyone. We are going to try and make sense of this for those people who are stumped.
Chauncey: Chances are if you own a business you know other business owners so I would ask them about their experiences with websites and who they work with. That is probably the first kickoff point.
There’s a lot of great local businesses creating websites, and they’re all going to be willing to give you a free estimate. If they don’t give you a free estimate well then, you need to move on.
Word of mouth is a great place to start. If you don’t know other local businesses, I suggest that you join your local chamber of commerce, meet some people and find out about their process.
Joe: You start this process like you start anything else. You move from one step to the next. You meet a website developer, and you say you want a site. I’ve been on both sides of this. I have written very large checks for websites and I’ve been paid very large checks for websites. And there’s a common theme that I’ve seen on both sides of that, and that is that the person asking and paying for the website knows least about what they need or want. They tend not to be educated on what they need or want. Let me give you some advice on how to enter into that discussion.
You want to build a website that:
- Meets your customer’s expectations
- Meets Googles expectations
- Earns revenue
One way to prepare yourself is to look at the top websites that Google is serving up within your industry. Picking a few of those will help you get an idea of what you want and what is working for businesses like yours. The chances are that it is giving customers what they want because Google tends to use customers interactions as one of some of the ranking factors. Take those 4 or 5 sites to your web developer. You now have sites that portray your goals for your site and are effective. These sites work for Google, and these sites work for their customers, and you want your new website to be like them and better.
If you are searching for a website that you love but is tailored for the wrong industry, you are not on the right path. If you are a construction company who loves the way this website that sells guitars is set up and it works for their customers, you are going to get nowhere. You need to have an idea in mind about what you want and what works but also need to be able to portray those ideas to the people building your site.
My last bit of advice is that this website is not all about you. You are not building the Taj Mahal. When the website launches, only half of the job is finished. Do not wait until every little detail is perfect to launch the site because ultimately, you won’t know if your customers or Google even like your site until you launch it.
What to expect once you decide to get a website built
Half of your budget is to get it built, and half your budget is to change it or adjust it. You’re going to have to spend money every month for the rest of your business life on that website. I’m sorry to tell you that it’s the truth. You mow your lawns; you wash your windows, you have your bathrooms clean in your office. You will always need to maintain and revise your website.
Chauncey: I’m constantly getting people coming to me and bringing their competitors site because a lot of them are local businesses and they’re trying to beat their local competitor. My advice is to get someone who is solely a consumer and not apart of your industry to look for websites that pertain to your market. Have them search in regions like Los Angeles or San Diego with large client bases to see what does well and how the consumer views the sites.
Common reasons business owners think they DON’T need a website:
- Our clientele is older and they call on the phone
- People hear about us through word of mouth
- We advertise on TV
- We advertise in the newspaper
- We are on Instagram/Facebook
Here are a few reasons why you need a website:
- People use the internet like they used to use the phone book
- E-commerce spending is increasing every year
- A business website gives your business legitimacy
- People expect businesses to have a website, just as they used to expect businesses to have a physical business address
- Consumers do their research before spending money on a product or service, you want to be the business that helps them in their buying journey
Why do business owners need to expand on what they are currently doing? Why put in the effort?
Joe: TV and newspaper are different advertising channels than a website. So if you only want to advertise on one channel and only reap the rewards of advertising on one channel and not have the growth of the other channels, I guess you can go ahead.
Here’s the thing ultimately it all comes down to; There is about as many Google searches a day as there are people on the Internet. People are constantly using search. The more space on the search results page that you can take up the more likely you are to be found by a customer. So when you have a website, each page of your website is another chance to show up on Google search results.
Now your Facebook page, Instagram, or directory listing may show up already in search. That is all true, but ultimately your website is where you get to put effort into showing up on that Google results page. Every space you fill and every platform you take over to get your products and services out there is another chance to gain more customers. That is ultimately the goal here.
We are coming to the end of this segment. I’m Cloud Wise Joe here with my co-host Chauncey Haworth and we’re here to help you make the internet work for you and not against you.