September 16, 2012

How to Create a Small Business Website That Works

Designing a website for a small business can be a very difficult process, especially if you do not have any experience. Most small business owners venture into the process on their own despite a lack of experience due to budget restrictions.

Saving money is a good thing; but it may not be a good idea to cut corners when it comes to website design. There is no need to go overboard and spend more money than necessary either. As with all things in life, the best choice to make depends upon a lot of variables.

A custom designed website will cost quite a bit of money, especially if someone else does all the work for you. However, if you do not know anything about website design and you do not have a lot of computer skills, this may be the best route to take.

For a small business website to be effective it must:

  • Look professionally designed
  • Inspire the confidence of visitors
  • Have a professional shopping cart
  • Offer secure purchasing and accept common payment methods
  • Provide sales and refund policies
  • Have professionally designed sales pages to convert customers

If any one of the features is missing or incorrectly implemented, it will reflect in your sales. This is why we highly recommend hiring a professional unless you are a competent web designer yourself. The web is full of sloppy looking websites that don’t convert. Remember, your customers have choices—it’s your job to make them choose you, and without a good website, your chances of doing so are slim to none.

Hiring a Web Designer

When you hire a professional to design your small business website, you will be able to give input and make suggestions during the process. However, you won’t have the stress of figuring out a way to turn those suggestions into a website.

Another benefit of hiring a professional to create your small business website is that it frees up time for you to concentrate on growing your business. In the long run, hiring someone else to do complex tasks may actually be a wise idea financially. This is especially true regarding website designs, as a bad website can negatively impact your business.

Less Expensive Alternatives

While it can be expensive to hire an experienced professional, there are other options. A web designer may be willing to barter services for business product. You may even be able to find a new web designer who will offer a discount on rates in order to get website design experience. Some small businesses contact their local college to find students willing to design a site in order to get real life experience before graduation. This can be a win-win situation for both your business and for the student. You will get a great website for a reasonable price and the student will have work to put in his portfolio to show prospective future employers.

Whatever route you choose to go, it is very important to shop around and ask for a number of quotes from different website designers. Make sure to ask what services those quotes include. Then, decide how much you can afford to pay in order to have a website created.

If you are still not able to find an affordable website designer, you may wish to look into website design software. This software can help even inexperienced small business owners create a great small business website. Keep in mind that it may take some time to learn the software, not to mention the time it will take to design a website. However, some small business owners feel that the time and effort is worth it.

In the end, you will need to weigh the pros and cons of each situation and decide which route is best for you and for your business.

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