Every business (okay, ALMOST every business) needs a website. A website is a virtual store for your business. Without it, how would consumers know what product & services you offer, where you are located, and most importantly, know you exist?
Today’s guest Q&A is Derrick Barber. He is here to provide us with some guidance on how to promote our business. Derrick is the owner of LOWD Media in London, Ontario www.lowd.ca and provides web design, search engine optimization, logos and branding.
Why should new business owners invest in a web site? Most small businesses need to promote their business on a budget. The key is to focus on inbound marketing and building relationships. Inbound marketing means being available when someone is actively looking for your product or services. If I need my carpets cleaned and I search Google, can I find you? Having a great website that is well optimized for search engines is extremely important for this.
How important is the logo? Can’t we just choose a pretty font in color and call it a logo? Being a logo designer is interesting because it seems business owners look at them in one extreme or another. Many business owners don’t seem to really care too much about their logo or fully understand the value in having a great logo. To the other extreme, some people over think the process to the point it is very difficult for them to settle on one logo they are happy with. The logo is a visual that represents your business, and you will hopefully be showing it off for a long time. You should take the time to create a strong logo that you are proud to show off to others.
Is a website really a necessity? Yes. I could talk about this in great detail but there are two important reasons your business needs a website. The first, as mentioned earlier, is being available when someone is trying to find you. People are tuning out traditional media advertisements. We tend to dislike most kinds of advertising, so we train our brain to ignore them. Having a well optimized website will allow you to be seen when someone is ready to buy, and is trying to find you. The second is credibility. I have heard this quote used a lot lately but it is worth repeating… “People do business with those they know, like and trust.” If someone has received a referral, that is a great way to build some initial trust… but when they go online to learn more about your business and can’t find you, you immediately lose this built trust with most people. They will worry that if you are not serious enough about your business to have a website, how great of a job are you going to do? Even worse, are you a fly-by night business that might just take their money and run?
Where do you suggest putting social media on a website?Won’t people just know I use social media without having to show them? If social media is important and relevant to you, then you should make your social media icons as easy to find as possible. This means placing them near the top of the page, close to your navigation links. I also suggest adding them to your contact page and in many cases, to the signature portion of your sent emails.
Where is the best place to find social media icons? To comply with their terms of service, I suggest you use the icons which are provided by each of the respective social media websites. You can search Google for things such as “Twitter Icons” and notice the search result that comes direct from them. It will usually be titled “Brand Resource Center”, “Brand & Logos”, etc. Even though the social media sites don’t approve you modifying their brand and icons, many people do this anyways. Your graphic/web designer will probably be willing to provide you with something creative and attractive to use on your website.
If I have social media why do I still need a website? Social media is primarily a tool that helps you build relationships and can help establish you as an industry expert. While they are constantly trying to improve their offerings so you can effectively share more details about your business, a website is the only way you can properly explain what you do, and in a format that is completely under your control. The website is exclusively about your business and the message you want to deliver. Social media websites can have an infinite number of things that can distract people from your brand and business. I also think again that credibility is a major factor. If I am interested in a wedding photographer, and I see on her social media profile some great pics… but she doesn’t have a website. I have to wonder how serious, experienced, and trust worthy she really is.
About Derrick Barber Derrick not only creates great websites optimized with search engine optimization, he is also the producer and host of the For Business Series which is a new web based series on starting and growing a small business. The first episode “Why Social Media?” is for businesses who are not using social media properly because they don’t understand the value behind social media and want to learn why they should be using it. www.forbusinessseries.ca, www.forbusinessseries.ca/whysocialmedia.php.