The internet is changing the way we live. Today's young people can't imagine a world without the internet and mobile phones. Benjamin Dyer, CEO of Powered Now, examines what it takes for you to have your own website to keep up with the latest trends.
You have decided that your company needs a website, first step done. Now you need to figure out how to go about it, what budget you should spend and which traps you should avoid. Let's take a look.
Key website ingredients
Most potential prospects will look at your website first before speaking to you. What are they looking for?
They want to know if they can handle the job at their home or site. They want to be able to trust you and receive a good job at a fair price. They will also need your contact information and will check reviews or testimonials from previous customers.
These facts are important, but it is also crucial that you build trust. This can be done by listing industry certifications and accreditations, testimonials from customers, and great photos of your work. It is a good idea to show before and after pictures. These key ingredients will create a professional first impression.
The big selection
When it comes to your website, there is one major decision to make. Do you hire a professional or do it yourself? As a professional yourself, you might expect a local web designer to do a better job. There are cowboys everywhere, and you can't beat personal recommendations or looking at past work.
Another way to be online is by creating a free Facebook page. It is the easiest and most cost-effective way. Having social media presence is important for any business, however, there are many people that aren’t active on social media so they might miss important information about your business.
Use a web designer
Your company's vision should be the focus of your website. Not the web designer's. Keep them in check and make sure they are appropriate.
If you have a small website and prepare all the images and information beforehand, it might cost as little as £100. However, high-end sites will likely cost more.
Do it yourself
You can build your website using a variety of services, including Wordpress, Moonfruit, Godaddy, Wix and Wordpress. You will need to spend time learning how to make the most of the software. They were easy for me, but I work in technology.
Wix.com offers pre-canned website designs, such as those for handymen, builders, and construction companies. A site that is ad-free and has your own domain name, e.g. SinclairConstruction.co.uk, and with one email address for your company domain e.g. info@SinclairConstruction.co.uk, would cost around £110 per annum all in.
Your website needs to be mobile friendly. You should make sure your website looks good on both a tablet and a smartphone. These devices are becoming more popular for browsing the internet.
Two golden rules are essential if you want your website to deliver the best results.
First, respond quickly to all queries that you receive from your website. This should be done via email. People are impatient, and if they don’t get a response quickly, they will move on to the next place.
Remember, your website gives you 24/7 online presence. It is available to customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The second is to keep your site up to date. You can share industry news, updates, testimonials from customers, etc. All your content should be relevant and ultimately generate backlinks (which will give your more visibility).
Promoting your website can also be challenging. Matthew Stevenson, of The Landscape Company, has enjoyed a lot success. He said “We get a lot of our business through our website but we have had to work hard at promoting it.”
There are also agencies and search engine optimisation (SEO) experts that can help your website have more visibility.
Websites aren't the only online tool that can help a trade business. Rated People and Checkatrade offer new solutions that can be used by some businesses. My company, Powered Now, offers apps that help small trade businesses manage their paperwork, such as invoicing, quotes, scheduling and online forms and certificates.
Remember, your website is all about marketing. Your website can have a positive impact on your business, but it can also be detrimental to your image. It can be a liability if it isn't compatible with mobile devices, contains outdated material, or has spelling errors that are not correct.