The BizFilings blog covering business tips and trends.
Tips for Small Business Branding: Creating a Winning Website
Published on Feb 10, 2012
Read 'Tips for Small Business Branding: Creating a Winning Website' at 'Time to Start Up,' the small business blog by BizFilings.
In a previous article, we focused on the importance of choosing the right small business name, and how this choice is the first of many branding decisions that will either add to, or take away from, the image and ultimate success of your business.Today, I’d like to take a look at another facet of branding that plays a key role in the success of your small business: your website.
Before we get started, let’s take a look at a component that should be visible on every page of your online presence — your logo …
Rumor has it that a picture is worth a thousand words. If the name of your company is important, just think about how important your company logo or graphic is. When it comes to branding, your logo is at least as important as your company name. Your job is to make sure it’s eye catching and memorable — and that it supports your business name, products and overall philosophy. In other words, it’s not something you want to decide on quickly, and unless you’re an artist you’ll probably need some professional help.
Creating a Website
The question isn’t will your small business have a website, the question is what will it look like?
Every small business will have a different budget, which will in turn determine the caliber of web designer you hire to create your site. But there are some core elements that every successful website needs to have:
It Needs to Look Good
Keep your website’s design clean and uncluttered, and make sure your company name and logo are prominently, yet tastefully, on display. A small budget is no excuse to create a website that’s unfriendly or unattractive. If you want to grow a business, it needs to look nice.
It Needs to be Easy to Navigate
Your website has to have seamless function. Navigation bars and drop-down menus need to be designed with clarity and simplicity in mind, and they need to work well. It’s often tempting to want to create web pages that are very dense. Resist this temptation, or your web pages may be perceived as complex and confusing. On your website, it should be easy to find stuff, easy to pay and easy to find help. Think about the user experience. It will certainly be on the minds of your customers.
The copy (often referred to as content) on each page needs to contain certain components. It needs to speak in a voice that’s clear, and that your customers can relate to. Copy needs to be written in a way that’s engaging and relevant to the reader, and the benefits of your products or services need to be highlighted (and truthful). There’s also a need to have an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategy in place to ensure that the search engines can easily find your website.
According to Jon Wuebben, the author of Content Rich, SEO is, “the practice of using a variety of techniques to improve a site’s ranking on the searcch engines. These things could include editing or adding HTML code and working with site navigation features and employing linking strategies.” SEO also involves the frequency, quality and placement of keywords and keyword phrases. Reading the suggested articles in the next section will shed more light on SEO.
It Needs to be Google Panda Compliant
Have you heard of Google Panda? In a nutshell, Google Panda is an algorithm that filters websites into two groups — sites it likes and sites it doesn’t like. The sites that Panda “likes” are upgraded in Google’s search results, while the ones it doesn’t like get downgraded. It’s critical that you understand the contingencies that Panda has in place. For a detailed analysis, please read the following articles:
These are some of the best practices to keep in mind when creating a winning website. Design, function, content and SEO all play a pivotal role in how your website will rank with the infamous Google Panda.
If this all seems daunting, you are not alone. But if you take it one step at time, you’ll have a website that serves you, and your customers, well.