Small businesses often want simple, affordable web design packages. That’s fine, we can do that — but then some call professional web design “expensive” and “overcomplicated”. So why do website prices vary so much?
Because web design can mean several very different things.
Business websites serve a wide range of purposes. Some of those purposes are common, others less so. So there are at least three levels of web design to consider.
Affordable Web Design Packages
Common requirements can sometimes be standardised, and processes streamlined, to keep costs down. However, flexibility creates complexity, so in practice, “streamlining processes” always means “restricting choices”.
For some people, and some purposes, that makes little difference — and cash flow is often a bigger concern for small businesses.… Read the rest
Web design is like cooking — it may look easy, but it’s easy to get wrong. No microwave can make you a chef. Similarly, DIY website builders let you make costly mistakes. So Base22 kindly provided this infographic of ten common website design mistakes, and I’ve added a few more points below.
Ten Common Website Design Mistakes
Whilst DIY web design often makes these mistakes, so do inexperienced web designers. That’s why experienced professional web design is a better business investment, even in affordable web design packages.
Poor User Experience
Whilst user experience is also affected by most of the points below, visual design plays a big part too. It’s not just a matter of making things look pretty, either.… Read the rest
The coronavirus outbreak means many people are suddenly remote working for the first time, and quite a few are already struggling psychologically. I’ve been doing it for over fifteen years. So here are my five top tips for working from home:
… Read the rest
- Routines help. Make sure you change them on the weekend, though. Otherwise you’ll soon stop noticing that weekends exist. Build in some flexibility too, if possible. Work with the needs of your household, not against them.
- Stop telling yourself, “It’s only for three weeks” (or whatever the expected duration is in your region). It may be, but it may be longer. This is your new normal. Accept that, or however long it ends up being, it will seem a lot longer. Also, if it turns out to be longer, you’ll be more stressed about that.
Small business SEO is now more vital than ever. Why? Because with more people working from home, offline advertising will struggle to compete with online searches.
Your competitors know this. That’s why Google Trends shows that searches for SEO in the UK recently (March 2020) peaked higher than at any time in the past five years.
Still, small businesses face special problems when it comes to investing in SEO. This leads to three common mistakes.
Mistake #1: DIY SEO
Small budgets make DIY seem tempting. Yet whilst the basics of SEO can seem simple to learn, they take years to master — and they keep changing.
Besides, the simple parts won’t get you far.… Read the rest
So you’ve launched your new website? Congratulations! Or maybe you’ve had one for a while — and are now wondering if it’s really working? Well, building your site was just the beginning. Now you need to focus on website growth.
Not sure where to start with that? Don’t worry, that’s quite common. So here are three vital things that many small businesses overlook.
1. Use Your Website Stats
Any usable business website generates a lot of stats on its visitors. If yours doesn’t, you’re flying blind. It usually takes weeks to collect enough data to start seeing meaningful trends though. So you need to fix this immediately.
Thankfully, most sites are easy to link to Google Analytics, Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools.… Read the rest
You may not expect a professional web designer to say this, but DIY web design does have its place. However, when building business websites, the hidden costs of DIY web design are far higher than most people think.
As a small business owner, it can be tempting to ignore these costs. They will still affect you, though — and can easily cost you more than engaging a professional web designer. So consider them carefully before falling for the hype about DIY web design systems.
When To Consider DIY Web Design
If you don’t aim to make money from your website, any money spent on it is pure cost. So then it’s wise to minimise that cost, and doing so has little impact.
However, the situation for any kind of commercial site is completely different.… Read the rest
Avoid website project planning headaches:
Building a website can be a great investment for almost any business — and vital for most. Yet nothing is as simple as it seems. Every website project can be put at risk by common mistakes.
Knowing these basic web design project pitfalls helps you avoid them. Still, they’re common because they aren’t always obvious. So I thought I’d list the main ones here.
1. Delayed Decisions
It’s easy to put off big decisions, telling ourselves we need to think them over. However, we then rarely get around to doing so.
We forget 70% of new information within a day. So the secret to success is getting started before that happens. Successful people make decisions when the information is fresh in their minds.… Read the rest
Social media is a vital marketing tool for small businesses because entry fees are low, and the potential reach is high. Many articles focus on how social media helps small businesses grow by increasing brand awareness.
That’s all very well, but how can social media drive sales?
Well, social ads are an obvious answer — but thankfully, not the only answer.
Popular Social Media Sales Strategies
In fact, a recent review of key social media marketing stats noted seven popular ways that companies use social media to drive sales:
- 48% of firms said being responsive encourages customers to buy
- 46% find that offering promotions helps to drive sales
- 42% drive sales by providing educational content (aka “content marketing”)
- 35% use exclusive content to encourage purchases
- 28% reported using interesting visuals increased sales
- 27% said it helped to provide “behind the scenes” content
- 26% find being funny can improve sales
All of these tactics also improve customer engagement with your brand and long-term loyalty.… Read the rest
Local SEO helps your site to rank for local keywords, like “dentist Cardiff” or “vet Bristol”. Good local SEO can get you featured in both the organic (unpaid) search results and the “map pack” that appears above them. That’s obviously good for sales. So how can you master local SEO?
Well, it differs from non-local (aka “national”) SEO, because for local searches, search engines need to be confident of your firm’s location. Your online reputation matters a lot more, too. So whilst good on-site SEO and backlinks are still as vital as for normal SEO, citations and reviews are the keys to good local search positioning.
Unfortunately, both citations and reviews have common pitfalls that can easily undermine your rankings.
Citation Consistency for Local SEO
Citations are places that mention your company, even if they don’t provide a link.… Read the rest
All businesses today should recognise the importance of having an effective cybersecurity policy in place. Data breaches seem to be constantly in the news. Whilst those tend to be high-profile cases like TalkTalk and British Airways, small businesses frequently suffer data breaches too. In recent years, Virtual Private Networks (“VPNs”) have become quite common for home use — so can a VPN improve small business cybersecurity?
Well, yes — but let’s cover the basics before examining the business benefits of a VPN.
What is a VPN?
A VPN is a private network (within the public internet) that enhances your online privacy by:
- Giving you a temporary IP address when you go online
- Encrypting data transfers between your computer and other online resources
- Wrapping that data inside other data to keep it even more private (called “tunneling” or “encapsulation”)
An IP address is the numeric address of your computer on the internet.… Read the rest