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How to Fix a Small Business Website

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I find that many small businesses often have had a starter website built for them, and then after a few years (or more) they want to learn how to fix a small business website.

The reasons for improving the website may include:

  • The small business's products or services have evolved or changed entirely.
  • There is outdated contact information, employee profiles, or photos of past employees as part of the website's design.
  • The term SEO has been used at them by SEO companies, other marketing reps, or seminars as necessary. The small business owner knows this is needed but isn't quite sure what that means exactly.
  • Having a website that displays well on a smart phone or tablet is becoming more important.
  • The website just looks old, outdated or old-fashioned compared to their competitors.

But what is the first step, the right platform and the process of how a small business should approach this new design?

We have a methodology on how to successfully roll out a website improvement without it being stressful.


 

Step 1: Getting Started

Figure out your budget and ideal time line of completion. Is there a conference, product launch or other event that you 'need' your new website design completely by? How critical is this deadline?

Step 2: Set Goals and Objectives

Determine what exactly you want to achieve with the new website launch. Is your site a "credibility site" - a website that supplements your marketing, with your goal being to distinguish yourself from your competitors. Do you plan to attract new business through the site from people who have not heard of you? Or do you plan to sell directly from your site using e-commerce?

Write down the top 3-5 goals and continue to refer back to them during the rest of the process.

Step 3: Assign in-house or hire an expert

There are many 'do it yourself' website platforms that are very well put together that small businesses can take advantage of. If you plan to do it yourself, you will need to set aside the time and make it a priority for either yourself or your team member or it will be ages before your new site gets launched.

If you know you want to hire an expert, you can find the right company for yours by:

  • asking your business colleagues who they recommend.
  • Review other websites you like on the web and see if there is a link to who developed it for them.
  • Ask your Chamber of Commerce for their recommendations to work with a local company.
  • As a best practice, choose 3 companies and ask for a consultation and an estimate.

Step 4: Keep it simple when developing the content and site

While you are working on the visual design and content keep referring back to your initial goals. 

Your site should be simple and to the point, written with your customers in mind, answering the questions new customers and clients ask the most.

Try to use as many photographs, videos and imagery as possible, keeping the written content brief and to the point. 

Remember, you can keep adding more content later, so launching your website with less content is ok. However, do not publish pages with the words "coming soon" or "under construction" on them. It is better to not publish that page and simply add it later when it is ready.

 

Step 5: Launch!

After your site has launched and replaced your current site, be sure to let Google know you have a new sitemap and content. Install Google Analytics and just as i4mportantly Google Webmaster tools. The Webmaster tools application will step you through the process of how to inform Google of your changes.

Check on your site a couple of days after it launched, and check the webmaster tools application for any 404 errors correcting them.

 

This short summary will help get you and your team on track learn how to fix a small business website, but there are many steps in-between. For a more detailed look at how to make your website more effective, download our free eBook "20 Small Business Website 'Must Haves'.

Small Biz Website Must-Haves eBook

Tags: Web Design