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New Website Guide for London Businesses [Part1]

Over 1 Billion Websites Exist On The Internet

But whether they get results or not is a different matter entirely.

Over 1 billion websites exist on the internet but less than 200 million of these are active. Websites are becoming increasingly easier to set up nowadays with do-it-yourself options such as WIX and cheap website design companies offering websites for next to nothing. Business owners often make the mistake of hiring the cheapest website designer they can find for the job but soon live to regret it after they realise the website does not generate the results they had hoped for. You should know a thing or two about website design and website designers before agreeing to any proposal!
This 4-part ‘New Website Guide for Business Owners & Start-Ups’ is written to direct you through the website design process and offers useful knowledge that will help you save time and money in the long-run. Invest in the best website design package right from the outset and cut out all the risks by building some basic website knowledge of your own.
“A badly designed cheap website does not come with the strategy you need for results.”

A Few Points To Help You Get Started…

Business Goals

What do you want to achieve from your business website?

Plan your website according to your business goals. If your website designer hasn’t asked you what you want to achieve from your website and advised you on how best to achieve it, you should probably reconsider your decision for using his or her web design service. Use your business goals to shape your website plan! Do you want the phone to ring? Is your primary goal to collect data through online forms? Do you want a purchase to be made through your site? Your business goals will define how your website should look and operate. Don’t hesitate to contact our business consultants for a free website consultation.

Business Investment

Don’t look for ‘the cheapest website designer’ if you want a website that works.
Professionals can immediately tell a low budget website by assessing the quality of structure and website design. A website created by a professional designer will have a strategy to ensure you continue to rank high in search results, SEO-rich content, easy navigation and professionally designed graphics to capture and keep your viewer’s attention. A quality website will not lay dormant like many do; it will generate traffic and continue to breathe, even when you are not promoting it. Save time and money in the long-run.

Business Management & Development

Don’t fall behind in your race to the top; online competition is fierce
You website requires efficient management, updating, feeding and nurturing if you want it to generate results for your business. It is not just a one-off investment and developments will need to be made on a regular basis to ensure your site stays active. Find a website designer you can work with as part of a larger, more complex strategy. Hire a professional to manage your website and receive honest monthly progress reports which allow you to further develop your online performance and increase activity such as website traffic and lead generation.

10 Questions to ask your Website Design Company:
To be asked before you make the investment!

1. How long have you been creating Websites for?
It’s advisable to request background knowledge on your website designer. You are making an investment in the person and the website. A good rapport is required to ensure productivity throughout the web design stages and in future developments. The requirements for effective web design are different to what they were five years ago; choose someone savvy who is up-to-date with the speed of the internet.

2. What Software do you use to create Websites?
Website Design Software Packages do vary but not all are reliable in meeting current search engine requirements. The benefits of choosing a widely supported system such as WordPress are many; stability and longevity being the most important. WordPress has an impressively large developer base creating plugins for low cost website solutions and is a cost-effective choice (especially when compared to bespoke website design software such as SAP Hybris). Ask your website builder what software is going to be used to build your site and carry out a little research to make sure you are making the right decision. Feel free to contact our team for guidance where you remain unsure.

3. Do you have a Website Portfolio?
Don’t miss the chance to see for yourself what the end results look like. Ask to see a website portfolio and request links to previous websites by the designer you are dealing with. Check if they load fast, look good, read well and direct you to action. Is the imagery positioned effectively? Is it quality enough for you? Do the websites ‘feel’ professional and are they easy to navigate? These are all things you want from your website. Do your research and reap the benefits for years to come.

4. Do you include the Website Plan / Strategy?
So many website designers miss the importance of a website plan and this often puts businesses in a difficult situation later on down the line. The website plan should map out the structure of the website and all pages should be named according to keywords and phrases used by searchers to find your product or service. The structure of your website is the most important part of the website design process and should be confirmed before any website build commences. A professional website design company will provide you the knowledge and guidance for the most effective website strategy.

5. Do you offer guidance on Branding?
Your brand consists of your company name, logo and slogan – and how they appear together to communicate your company personality. Online shoppers will stumble across your website and your brand is the first thing they will connect with (or not connect with as the case may be). Position your brand high among your leading competitors and make sure your logo is designed to ooze trust and quality. Clear, concise and not too fussy! Ask your website designer for guidance on your branding strategy and how to design the best logo for your business.

6. What do you know about SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)?
If a web design company has not mentioned SEO or Search Engine Optimisation, you should ask yourself why. As the Internet fast develops, SEO is becoming more and more important. SEO keywords are the words used by searchers to find your product or service online and a website designed with ‘SEO in mind’ will generate traffic even when you are not managing it. Find a website design company that will explain the ins and outs of how websites work with search engines such as Google, or speak to a member of our team to find out how SEO directly affects your business.

7. Do you provide the Wording /Copywriting for my website?
Website Copy is a large part of your online performance strategy and should not be pushed aside. Your website requires professional and compelling copy crafted with keywords and key phrases to help you appear in search results. Invest in a strong SEO Copywriter to ensure the words on your website generate results. Do not settle for purposeless words that simply make your site look good; use the right copy to connect with your audience and direct your viewers to action.

8. How do you source Images for Websites? Is this a Legal Process?
You don’t want to be receiving threats from photographers and designers when your website is launched. Avoid this at all costs by using imagery from royalty-free image websites only – images permitted for commercial use. Consult with the website designer to find out where he/she sources images from and carry out some basic research to ensure it is a reputable and trusted provider. We utilise sites such as Adobe Stock and Shutterstock to source images for websites if requested. We don’t mind where the images come from, as long as they are not subject to copyright infringement!

9. What’s the Process?
Find out the process your web designer is about to put you through and decide for yourself whether it sounds efficient. You should know what to expect in advance so you can prepare accordingly. You will be required to provide information, approve layouts, colours, designs and more. Be responsive to save time and help your chosen web design company to meet their deadlines. Website design requires cooperation on both sides!

10. How will you update me on Website Progress once it goes live?
Think of your website as a living, breathing entity (online shop front). People will visit, people will browse, and people will leave (bounce) if it does not ooze professionalism or capture their attention. You may choose to keep a blog on your business website which means you can update your website regularly with new content this gives viewers a reason to return regularly and thus increases your success rate and exposure. ‘Improvements according to feedback’ are the most valuable improvements you can make. Find a website company that will provide you monthly progress reports and updates.

Conclusion: Get in touch with our Website Consultants for an honest and FREE website consultation. Other services by SME Media include social media management, blogging, SEO strategy, lead generation, e-mail marketing and website development plans in Staines and throughout London. Contact SME Services for more information. We always have someone here in our office to answer any questions you have. Call us direct on 0203 418 0001 or send us a message.

About the Author:

Based in Staines-upon-Thames and ideally located for web design Surrey and webdesign London clients, we offer a friendly and personal website design and hosting service to clients. Our bespoke website solutions are now complemented by designs based on the WordPress content management system that allow for easy editing of web pages by you the client. Greater control by the end user of websites is a growing trend and one that we are embracing. This is backed up by our ability to provide IT support to your business