By Ashley Michael
So here I am, writing a post about the importance of websites for small businesses, AND I DON’T HAVE MY OWN WEBSITE. Rather than being a big fat phony who feigns expert website knowledge, I’m inviting you to dig in to this and consult the experts with me. It’s time, my friend.
You and me, us entrepreneurs, we need to get ourselves websites if we take our businesses and ourselves seriously at all.
Perhaps you say to yourself, “Oh, I’ve been in business a while so I don’t need a website, and this is my hometown – everything is word-of- mouth, anyway.” Or maybe you’re more like, “Well websites are nice, but way too complicated – I’ll just use Facebook and Instagram to get all the business I need.”
We miss so much without the humble website. They give us credibility. They say, “Hello there, friendly potential customer, and welcome to my place of business. Yes, I am accessible and available and completely legitimate, plus I’m so warm and witty – aren’t you loving this first impression of me?”
If you don’t believe me when I say that websites are essential for our businesses, this article is so clear and helpful, offering nine reasons to build your business a proper website. Do not miss it.
So, back to us: How are we going to increase our customers and profit margins, leaving us with loads of cash to buy a fabulous vacation home in France? We want a chateau that sits out in the countryside right next to a creamery where we purchase delicious fresh cheeses, but is also a quick train ride away from Paris, obviously. Real estate like that doesn’t come cheap.
I’ll tell you how we do it. We are going to research the heck out of this website business, we are going to take the How To Build a Website course at The Biz Foundry, and we are going to rock this strawberry jam. Yes.
We are going to build a website!
If you are at home, put down your phone or tablet or giant dinosaur desktop and get a cup of coffee or glass of wine – the good kind. You might even find that some light munchies will complete the scene. If you’re in your car, quit checking your phone while you’re driving! My goodness. But while you’re out, you might as well stop somewhere and grab your favorite beverage (thus allowing you to sip and peruse the rest of this post without breaking laws and endangering lives).
That’s the first step- so easy! We are going to mentally prepare ourselves to forge ahead with our dreams, so by all means, let’s be in a happy place.
Now, with my mega stack can of BBQ Pringles in hand, I feel ready to do this. Do you? If you do, then scroll on for a little bit of small business website eye candy. Let’s get ourselves inspired. If you don’t, then for crying out loud go top off your cup, or get your own mega stack Pringles can.
Okay, here we go.
First, we get inspired.
I’ve curated a small variety of websites for your viewing pleasure. I have never heard of any of these businesses before my frenzied Google search for beautiful websites took place, so please know that I am not, nor is The Biz Foundry, endorsing these companies or their wares. I just think they look cool.
“A seed company dedicated to deliciousness.” And I believe it when I see how great they make a pot of potatoes appear. Good photos go a long way.
Charleston’s Felix features creative cocktails and small plates; their website draws you in with its whimsical toasting frog, does it not? If you have the know-how, some animated graphics are a great idea.
Wellness products scroll across the screen with a clean, attractive design. Mowellens also has employed a pop-up box to give site visitors an easy way to be in communication with their brand.
Roto is a design firm that has been responsible for producing exhibits in more than 150 museums, zoos, aquariums and the like. They have produced an excellent video to showcase the magic of their production right at the forefront of their home page.
Linesight’s featured video is also excellent, and the content of their site is easy to access; you simply scroll through.
Enso is some sort of publication or magazine. I have to admit, the website is a little less intuitive to me and a bit flashy. But it’s very cool design.
How cute are Bento boxes! This website is done through Wix, the web development platform that the Biz Foundry’s course will be using with How To Build A Website.
I know, I know, some of these are really fancy, aren’t they? Don’t be intimidated by the bells and whistles; take note of what draws you in, and learn from it. The pages come alive with moving graphics and beautiful photography. A few had video at the top of their homepage, which is a direction many sites are moving toward right now.
What features stand out to you and make you want to linger a little longer on the page? Take note of your responses, lock them away in that brilliant brain of yours. If something draws you in and appeals to you, it will probably appeal to others. You can work out a way to fit these characteristics into your own site.
Did you notice how clean and easy to navigate some of these websites seem? That’s a trend here to stay. Simple, clean, scrollable, mobile-friendly – not cluttered with a bunch of buttons and sub-menus. This suits us well, fellow website novices, because let’s be real – who wants to waste a perfectly good afternoon on complicated web design? Furthermore, who wants to understand the technical ins and outs of complicated web design? No, no – not us.
Let's turn our attention to the content we want to feature on our magical new website.
It’s time to put pen to paper, and roughly plan a website.
What makes our businesses special? What gift do we carry which we offer to the world around us? What are the few key things that we need people to understand about our product or service before they leave our site?
We won’t have room for every detail about our businesses on the website, either; we don’t want to clutter them up. We would lose our audiences faster than Superman flies. No, let’s drain our last sips of the delicious beverage which we still hold, eat just ten – no, twelve more Pringles (quickly followed by throwing the can far away before we eat all of the “lunchbox chips” for our kids this week), and then sit down to brainstorm the essentials.
Think about the elements your website needs: Do you need to offer an online storefront? Is a blog feed something that would appeal to your clientele? Write some thoughts about yourself or your company – people seem to always want this sort of information. Customers want to know the back-story, and the heartbeat of your vision. This gives them a way to feel connected with you, which is why they will pick your business over your competition’s.
After we brainstorm, we build this thing like Kevin Costner in a
I am going to spend one week mulling over my ideas for my website, and then I will collect my humble little brainstormed thoughts and bring them to The Biz Foundry on Thursday, April 9th for the first of three sessions covering How To Build A Website. I expect to see you all there as well. The course will go through how to set up a website using Wix (that’s a super simple and apparently awesome website building tool thing), and it’s hands on, which means we will be building our website in real life. REAL LIFE!! We will take this course, and in three weeks,
v i c t o r i o u s
with websites worthy of world takeover.
I hope you are as excited as I am. I’m already planning a follow-up post to this one, which I will write from my fabulous chateau by the French creamery on the outskirts of Paris. Doesn’t that sound so dreamy? Or is it just me who thinks living next door to a bunch of French cows sounds blissful? All I know is that once my website is up and running, I’m going to find out where all the French cows live, and take my time selecting which ones shall be my neighbors. I’ll have you over for a wine and cheese party. You can bring the wine from your vineyard in Tuscany.