New Website Development: DIY Publishing Platform Versus Agency

If you’ve been watching TV, reading online articles or listening to buzz around the web design world, you’ve probably heard of a new company called SquareSpace. A web publishing platform, SquareSpace touts ease of usability, fresh templates and domain hosting all within an affordable package. The concept isn’t new – there are older DIY platforms that offer similar services such as Wix, Weebly, Google Sites, and (our favorite) WordPress. While budget conscious businesses may find these options appealing over investing in an agency, these platforms aren’t a one-size-fits-all strategy. Here are some key success factors that B2B businesses are missing out on:

Brand Appropriate Website

Many modern-day web publishers have a portfolio full of image rich, contemporary templates. While these templates work for photographers, restaurants, boutique shops and more, it’s not always appropriate for a B2B business. Website design that does not appropriately reflect your company branding sends a disjointed message to your target audience. DIY websites ultimately fail its core function: to educate and attract customers to your products and services.

SEO

Fast forward to the launch day… the platform publishes your website, but no one is able to find it. Site builders come with zero instruction on web appropriate marketing. Working with an agency provides a holistic look at your business’ web rankings, analytics, and overall performance verses your competitors. With this data, an agency can make changes based on knowledge of your industry and inbound marketing best practices.

Content Strategy

A website publisher may provide an option to add blogging or email marketing capabilities, but insights on what to write and how frequently is nonexistent. By employing a full-service agency, you receive a tailored website with an integrated content marketing strategy to keep your website current.

Dynamic Plugins

Some publishers include e-commerce, blogs, web analytics and social media plugins at additional cost for the user. While these plugins may seem helpful at first, many feature limited usability, resulting in you having to re-create your online sales process as a work around. Agencies are able to take your B2B business’ current practices and find the best digital solution.

Technical Support

Although site publishers advertise friendly 24/7-customer service by phone or email, remember the responsibility to repair programming errors falls on you. We understand most B2B businesses don’t have robust IT and web developers on staff, so fixing a website falls on the busy schedules of in-house marketing, sales, HR, even CEOs. Hiring a full-service agency ensures you have a direct line to “website 9-1-1” with someone who is personally invested in your site’s performance.

While these site generating packages are appealing, remember that creating an effective website can work for all budget levels. For a B2B business, investing in a firm with comprehensive capabilities in web development and marketing provides greater long-term returns.

Get Your Best Web Site Design for Small Business

Internet is the most influential media today and if as a small business you want to make your mark then having the right website design really matters. With the right type of web site design for small business you can leave a long lasting impression on your clients & prospects. A carefully planned and designed web site can make a difference for a small business. Based on how well you have designed your web site customers may choose to stay and buy rather than moving on to some other website. Here are a few tips on web site design for small business that will help you get favorable customer response:

Branding: Internet gives small businesses the ability to look much bigger than they actually are, take advantage of it. Develop a strong brand identity online so that you look professional. A strong branding instills faith and confidence in prospects and existing customers. Get a professionally designed logo and use it everywhere be it online or offline. The logo should become synonymous with the brand.

Focus: You are not building the website for you, but for your customer so make sure that your website focuses on what the customers need. Every visitor is an opportunity and to utilize it you have to understand what the customer wants. Do some research and find out about it and utilize them in your site.

Navigation: Poor navigation is one of the many reasons that customers move on. Navigation structure should be easy so that visitors get what they want with minimum clicks. Pages like “Products and Services”, “Portfolio”, “Clients”, “Locations” should be given importance. Make sure that whatever products or services you are offering is properly categorized and displayed.

Colors and Images: The proverbial “Don’t judge a book by its cover” doesn’t work for websites, on the internet people do judge a book by its cover, especially in case of web site design for small business. The right blend of colors and compelling images can work wonders and keep visitors glued to your site.

Content: It is one of the most important things in any web site design for small business. Make sure that you write compelling content using the right density of keywords. Don’t write unnecessarily, people scan web pages so make sure that a visual content hierarchy is maintained. A proper content hierarchy ensures better user experience and helps in easy navigation between the different pages of the website.

Page Load Time: Generally people tend to overlook it but loading time plays a crucial factor in web development. Developers add too many scripts and effects making web pages heavy but the truth is that no one likes to wait.

Call to Action: One of the fundamental errors that small business websites make is the absence of any clear call to action. Customers are always interested in offers, discounts, special promos, free home delivery, festival offers, free subscriptions etc; make sure such offers are highlighted. Use banners and colorful boxes to highlight offers.

Why You Should Update Your Web Design Before You Even Think About SEO

There’s lots of talk these days about ensuring your website is optimized for search engines. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of getting online traffic directed toward your website through web searches and it involves a series of individual pieces of content and settings that catch the attention of search engines like Google and Bing.

The more people who find your website through online searches for words and phrases related to your industry, the more opportunities you will have to connect with clients and grow your client base.

But there’s one critical point to remember before you even consider implementing updated SEO tactics: if you optimize an outdated or confusing website, your potential clients will simply take one quick look at your shabby site and then move onto the next-your competitor.

Today’s web user is savvier than ever. Though web design standards are constantly evolving, the sheer amount of online data and other user interfaces (like our cable or satellite TV navigation menus, our smartphone interaction, and our desktop computer use) has set a standard for look, feel and usability that is now common for today’s consumer.

To invest in SEO without an attractive updated site is like investing in a new driveway for a house that is sagging under the decay of termites. Neighbors might see it from the sidewalk, but will not want to go near it.

Here are five reasons you should consider combining your SEO objectives with a web design update.

Web Design is Critical

A website can rank for every important targeted keyword phrase but if web visitors are being directed to an outdated, unintuitive website, all SEO tactics will be implemented in vain.

Conversion is Lead Generation

Once a visitor finds your website through a search engine and lands on the website, conversion tools (guides and white papers that require form completion to access) will help your website become a client gateway. If there is nothing on your website to capture contact information from potential clients, you are wasting an opportunity for continued engagement.

Web Coding Matters

The back-end website programming code needs to be clean and easily crawlable by search engines before you spend any resources on SEO upgrades. Your website should adhere to the most current web standards by the Worldwide Web Consortium to ensure that your site’s code is SEO-friendly.

Economies of Scale

Employing a larger team of specialists all at once will be less costly than hiring a team of individual freelancers (SEO consultant, copywriter, web developer, web designer, etc.) and managing them on your own.

Holistic Approach

With one team working on a web marketing strategy “under one roof,” the team can work on your website using a proven, cohesive and coordinated strategy. Reputable web design companies consider every aspect of your business’ online needs while building, refreshing, or optimizing a website. Having a clear set of goals before the project begins will help save time on your web development and can make it easier to stay in budget.

If you’re unsure whether or not you should focus on immediate search engine optimization for your website, there are many quality web design companies who can review your site, check your current SEO settings, and determine whether search engine optimization alone is right for you at this time, or if you should consider a fully-integrated complete website design update.