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Thinking about a new business website?

If you’re thinking about investing in a new or redesigned business website, here’s a list to help you with your planning process.

Do you have a current business website?

If you do, you should take a look at what’s working and what doesn’t.

  • How often has your current business website been updated?
  • Do you make changes to the website yourself? Would you like to?
  • Where is your website hosted? How is the hosting company working for you? Do you find their support is available and helpful? (Five Web Hosting Points to Ponder and Hosting server options)
  • Is your current site mobile friendly and responsive?
  • What do you like about your current site? And, what would you like to change?

What kind of website are you thinking of?

Are you thinking of an informational site, portfolio, blog or news site, or a commerce site? Take a look at this article that describes the different types of websites.

Is there a site that you’ve come across that you like?

Get online and take a look at some websites. Maybe, look at your top competitors’ websites. Notice what you like and what you don’t like. Do you prefer a particular layout? Are there some features or functionality that might work well for your business? Make some notes and refer to them when considering your website project.

Are there any particular features or functionality that you will need?

When you’re looking at other websites, it’s easy to get ideas for new or different features. A lot of features are easy to include on websites. If you need some custom coding for special features or functionality, you need to be aware that this can add to the cost of your website project. The best approach is to have list for “must have” features and “nice to have” features. Then, when it comes to planning out your website, be flexible. Chances are you may not be able to get everything you want, exactly as you want it, but you can probably get pretty close.

How many pages do you think your business website will have?

This is important to have figured out because it will give you an idea of the scope of your website. Also, if you’re enlisting the help of a web designer, it will help to have your page number for a website project quote. I have had clients that wanted to limit their website to five pages to save money. However, when it came to building out the site, it grew to more than 20 pages. This of course had a big effect on the scope, cost, and timeline for completion.

Do you have a logo?

If you have a logo, the website should be designed in a way that not only considers the logo, but makes it stand out. Logo elements like color, fonts and style are important for any website design. If you’re working with a web designer, they should ask you about your logo early on during your conversations.

Do you have photos or will you need to use stock photography?

Sometimes, the use of photos isn’t something that’s thought of right away. It needs to be. Some people provide their own photos. Keep in mind that any photos used on a website will need to be optimized so they’re the right size for where they’ll be used.

You may decide that you want to use stock photography. This is fine and can be a good choice for some websites. I would recommend that if you choose to use stock photography, include some of your own photos. For example, include photos of your business location, inside and out.  Stock photography can be great, but keep in mind that other websites may also have the same photos. Whenever possible, use photos that highlight the uniqueness of your business.

What’s the anticipated timeline for completion?

You may want to have a website done in two weeks. If you have all of the page’s content and images for a smaller business website, two weeks may be doable. If you’re looking to create a commerce site with multiple products and a full checkout process, you’ll need more time.

A new website or site redesign can seem a bit daunting but with some thoughtful planning, you can make the job easier for yourself and whoever you decide to ask for help. Also, thinking through your website goals can make your website work harder for you in the long run.

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What type of website will work best for your business?

Thinking about a new business website? Then consider what type of site will best represent or fit your business’ online presence.

Here’s a list of commonly used websites for businesses.

Informational website

An informational site is like an online brochure for your business. This type of site should be updated regularly to provide current and relevant information. Informational sites often have a home page, a page or several pages that outline services, an about or company background page, a contact page for contact information and directions along with online form for inquiries. You may want to also include and a privacy page to let your site visitors know how you handle any information they send you.

Portfolio site

A portfolio often has all of the pages in an informational site along with a portfolio to showcase work. This type of site is often used by creative and service businesses. Some examples are photographers, designers, artists, as well as general contractors, builders or developers.

Blog or news website

A blog or news site frequently contains all of the items in an informational site along with posts or news items. These news items or posts are added periodically over time. A news site often delivers posts or news items chronologically, and will need to keep content organized. This type of site delivers content sorted in a number of different ways. Any website can include a blog or news section. Above all, this can be a great tool for businesses to keep their customers informed.

Commerce or Ecommerce website

A commerce website is basically an online store where you can sell products. Commerce websites also include informational website content, as well as blogs. Each product will need it’s own product page and consequently, these sites can get big. Also, a lot of thought needs to be given to product content, pricing, shipping options, photos, and variations of products.

Think about how you will use the website to help your business. It helps to have the type of website in mind along with how you will use it before you begin a website project. If you have a business that may sell products in the future, you can always start out with an informational site and grow into the commerce site.

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Is your business coming up in search engine results?

Old Forge, NY | Mohawk Valley Web DesignBefore we visit with a small business owner, we do a quick internet search for them. Sometimes their website comes up. Most often, what comes up is something like Yelp or  social media accounts. And sometimes, a business with the same name comes up, but it’s not the business we were looking for.

Businesses need to come up in local search engine results

If you don’t have a website and your business social media account comes up on the first page, that’s good. If you have a website that comes up on the first page when your business name is searched for, that’s so much better–In fact, this is really great.

Why is it better for your business website to come up instead of social media?

Social media accounts are designed with their own branding and marketing goals in mind–not yours. For example, if your Facebook account comes up, it may be your contact, photos, about and hours information, but the site is all about Facebook. If your own business website comes up, it’s your look, your branding, and it reflects everything about your business.

But, I’m a local business; why do I need to come up in search engine results?

When people search for goods or services online, they are looking to buy. If they are looking to buy what you sell, you’ll want to come up in local search engine results.

“Studies have shown that over 70-80% of people will research a company on the web before making a purchase decision, usually by visiting its website. Even having a one page website can establish credibility. It shows that the business is actually real and has taken the time to put out a presentation.” –

If you don’t have a website, you may be losing more customers than you think.

Invest in a web designer that will create a website you can update yourself

Now, if you’re thinking you need to invest in a business website, make sure it’s designed so you can update it yourself. It can be a simple one to three page website. Or, it can be as large as you want. It’s totally up to you.

As I’ve shared with many small business owners, Google wants to deliver relevant search engine results. Relevant results are current and accurate. This means that you need to be able to expand your website as needed and make updates easily.

If you don’t have the time to update your website yourself, get some help. Our small business services include monthly update options that cover everything from adding or updating events, promotions or specials, and search engine optimization. With a proven track record of improving placement in search engine results, we can help your small business, too.