Written by: Gerard Doyle, Fractal – The Startup Marketing Agency
About Fractal: To help startups realise their potential and create a more efficient world.
Back in the day, if you wanted a website for your business, it was a whole thing. It wasn’t just an expensive exercise; you need a whole team of experts trained in the dark arts to bring your vision to life. There would be several meetings with a cast of thousands – designers, coders and system administrators to set-up the hosting. Even a simple website would cost a few thousand dollars. However, in recent years that has all changed, now every small business owner can build a beautiful website that converts — even you.
The movement towards website creation empowerment started about a decade ago when the community hacked blogging platform WordPress into the world’s most popular and flexible CMS (Content Management System). Globally there are more than 20 million different WordPress sites and 30 per cent of the top million websites in the world use WordPress. So, if WordPress is good enough for CNN and Sony Music, then it is good enough for you.
What makes WordPress amazing is that you can buy a theme for around $40. A theme is an entire designed ‘look and feel’ for your site. Once you’ve installed a theme, even before you’ve done anything else it looks like you’ve hired a pro and that you’ve almost finished. However, WordPress isn’t the only player in the mix. Because WordPress still requires some technical skill, other even simpler services have stepped up to the plate, such as Squarespace and Wix.
We could go down the rabbit hole of which platform is best and for which reason – but to put it simply if you want to sell on your site choose Squarespace, and if you need a brochure website then choose Wix. The cost of both services is relatively small, roughly $20/month. What both services provide you with are stunning templates that do not require a designer – and all with the click of a mouse. Not only are the templates beautiful, but they’re perfectly optimised for all browsers and devices.
Spend some time picking the theme that best portrays your brand, because most customers will see your website; this is the anchor point for your brand in a digital age. If you choose a pre-made template, then much of the following advice will be ‘baked-in’, but for completeness here are six simple tips for building a website that will convert for you:
1) Make an offer above the fold – short, exclusive and customer-centric
2) Promise to solve a problem. What is in this for me? Squarespace. We build a beautiful website.
3) State precisely what you do – remember it is not apparent to everyone else.
4) Clear calls to action. The entire point of the website is to get this action. Book an appointment now. Place it twice. Top right persistent and again in the middle of the page. Transitional call to action and a direct call to action
5) Images of success – happy people, testimonials. Keep it short.
6) Keep it brief. People don’t read, they scan.
Of and of course your logo, how can we forget that? You know what? It is not that important; honestly, it’s not. The vast majority of new brands massively over think their logo adding all sorts of ‘flourishes’ to make it ‘look good’. Take a look at the top companies in the world; their logos are increasingly dull – almost bland. However, getting help is a good idea here, so check out 99designs.com which run competitions for designs. Alternatively, if you want a different perspective, check out barbeddesign.com.au, the only Design Studio in Australia run out of prison.
So that’s the story, anyone can build, host and run a great looking website today. There is no reason to put off making your website. Indeed, there is also no reason to pay a design agency thousands of dollars, until your small business progresses to a more significant business.
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